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Understanding What Is a Waist Trainer

Waist training is the current trend that has taken the fashion and fitness industries by storm. Most people assume that waist training is simply putting on shapewear but we are going to set the record straight by clearly distinguishing between a waist trainer and shapewear.

What is a waist trainer?

A waist trainer, also known as training corset or training cincher, is generally a corset or waist cincher that is used in the modification of your figure or silhouette. It may be used in achieving a tinier waistline as is the case in waist training or a more extreme form of waist training known as tight lacing or it may be used to rehabilitate a crooked spine as is the case in orthopedic training.

Now that we have answered your question on what is a waist trainer, let us now distinguish between a waist trainer and a waist cincher.

Difference from waist cincher and waist trainer:

Waist cincher

After looking at what is a waist trainer, it is important to understand what a waist cincher is and how it is different from a waist trainer. Basically, a waist cincher is a smaller version of an under-bust corset that starts right beneath your ribs and ends immediately below your navel.

A waist cincher is different from a waist training corset in the sense that it is not designed to use much boning as it is not meant to offer support, rather compression only. In the simplest form, you can think of a waist cincher as a wide belt that is dedicated to compressing your waist with the aim of making it smaller.

Waist trainer

Waist trainers most often come in the form of corsets with some starting right below your bust line and ending right at the top of your hips – under-bust corsets while some start at the top of your bust and end at the top of your hips – over-bust corsets.

A waist trainer usually has some boning, with more or less boning depending on the type of corset, to not only offer support but compression as well.

Now, we cannot look at what is a waist trainer and not look at what is shapewear. You can combine these two for not just a smaller waist, but an overall slimmer look. In general, shapewear offers nearly the same effect as a waist trainer the major difference being that shapewear targets other body parts and not just the waist. This is what gives you a wholesome slimmer look.

With that breakdown on a waist trainer, waist cincher and shapewear, we can now proceed to the different waist trainer styles that are available on the market.

Waist trainer styles

With the definition of what is a waist trainer in mind, another very important factor to consider is the waist trainer style which is defined by the overall silhouette shaping, with the focus on your ribcage. Now, let’s get right into the various waist trainer styles.

The ice cream cone - conical

This corset style transitions from either the top of your bust or under your bust line to your waist in a smooth straight line. From your waist to your hips is another smooth line that flares out to give you beautifully rounded hips.

The conical style is very appealing as it is the mildest looking but ironically, it offers the most uncomfortable rib shape. Unless you have very narrow or compressible ribs, you will find this shape very constricting, unless you are only going for a mild reduction.

The hourglass

What is a waist trainer if not the ultimate tool to the perfect feminine silhouette – the hourglass? Just as the name suggests, this corset style resembles the time keeping device after which it is named. This corset is defined with the ribs and hips as being well rounded and the waist as being much defined.

With this corset style, you can be sure of a larger and more comfortable reduction and it is also considerable easier on your ribs.

The pipestem

As you learn the ropes and come to a better understanding of what is a waist trainer, you are going to come across the pipestem. This is a very extreme corset shape that in most cases is only found in bespoke corsets for very serious waist trainers or tight lacers wo have been waist training for a long time.

In essence, a pipestem has a vertically extended waist that is usually in the 1-2” range. Most brands only produce this on order due to its custom nature.

The cupped rib

This corset style is very similar to an hourglass corset but it takes it a step further by having rounded ribs that have minimal compression in the front and both sides of the ribcage. An hourglass corset usually offers compression at the front of your ribcage. This waist trainer is recommended for people with non-compressing ribs or those with front-protruding ribs. It is very comfortable but still offers good compression for your waist.


When it comes to defining what is a waist trainer, the U-shape is one of the milder and less common silhouettes. Most people consider this corset to be a marker for a cheaper version of the conical shape. This corset transitions with very smooth lines from your ribs to a shallow curve at your waist and another very smooth line down your hips.

This corset style is good for starters as it offers a mild reduction.

Today, so many women are aspiring to have the ultimate "wasp waist trainer". We have seen the biggest celebrities such as the Kardashians, Amber Rose, Snookie, Black Chyna and so many more going for the biggest possible cinch. So, what is a waist trainer? I hope all the above info has answered this vexing question and has also given you great ideas of the styles you can go for. So, for now, you can consider the question of what is a waist trainer answered to precision!