Kim Kardashian and Jessica Alba swear by them, but could they actually be damaging your health?
Kim Kardshian has an enviably tiny 26-inch waist, but is this just down to great genes or does she have a secret weapon?
Kim's so-called waist trainer - which looks a little like a cross between a boxing belt and a piece of 19th Century underwear - is the sculpting tool she swears by for keeping that miniature waist in shape.
And she's not the only A-lister who believes in the benefits of cinching it all in. Sisters Khloe and Kylie are constantly posting pictures of their body-sculpting devices on Instagram, and Jessica Alba wore an Almighty Cincher by AMIA to help slim down her tummy after the birth of her second child. "I wore a double corset day and night for three months" she said, "it was sweaty but worth it."
So how do they work? Alba's claim of feeling sweaty is in fact the aim of the game. The Almighty Cincher she used can reportedly help you lose four inches from your midsection if worn for around 10 hours a day. This is less down to the sculpting effect of wearing it and more to the heat created by being trussed up in a corset all day, which helps shed water weight (we can imagine that's pretty uncomfortable in LA temperatures).
Khloe likes to ramp things up a little further by wearing hers while working out, as seen in this shot of her with a waist trainer on over her workout gear.
Though it would seem that the Kardashian krew, like Jessica, wears hers during downtime too: check out this shot of Jessica in her Pre Madonna waist trainer before bed. "Organizing & cleaning up before bed and waist training at the same time! Thank you to the one and only@premadonna87" she captioned the photo.
Want to get in on the action? A Pre Madonna waist trainer like Kim's will set you back around £90. Though before you splash out on one it's worth considering there are also arguments against how effective waist trainers really are. Some experts say all the waist training corset really does is help you sweat out water from your abdomen - which you'll gain back quickly when you drink - rather than lose actual weight, so it's a temporary fix rather than a long-term one.
However, personal training experts celebrity personal trainer Nick Mitchell (of UpFitness.co.uk) is worried about the rise in popularity of waist trainers, and especially that the A-list are encouraging their fans to wear the trainer when exercising.
Nick is most concerned that while there is no scientific evidence to support the benefits of waist training, there is proof that the practice can have negative side effects. Just take a look at the infographic below...
Nick thinks "it is irresponsible for celebrities to promote a product that could be damaging. Waist trainers can cause blood clots, acid reflux and most worryingly they restrict the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain and major organs. On top of all that they encourage a ‘quick fix’ approach to health and aesthetics. Most body ideals are achievable with the right guidance and discipline, but with a waist trainer nothing is accomplished. People are putting their internal organs at risk to achieve an image that is only temporary".
Yikes - has this made you think twice about waist training? If you ask us, it all feels just a little too Fifty Shades for our tastes. We'll probably just stick to some good old fashioned planks and crunches...