Four Expert Tricks for Finding the Right Sports Bra

Because sports bras are usually hidden beneath tank tops and t-shirts, it’s easy to be tempted to replace them with whatever everyday bra we have on hand, but that would be a huge mistake.

Your sports bra is nothing less than high-performance workout gear. It’s the most important thing in your gym bag along with your shoes. By increasing the intensity of your movements, you increase from two to three times the impact of that movement on your chest, which can be uncomfortable and painful when you don’t have the right support in place. Repetitive movements create friction that with the wrong bra can lead to chafing and sometimes sores. If the material is not made specifically to manage a high quantity of perspiration, your sweat will make it sticky and stiff.

So if you don’t have some already, buying sports bras should be at the top of your priority list. But how do you choose?

1. Choose the style for the support you need

The base-line rule for sports bras is simple: the bigger your chest and the higher in intensity your workout, the more support you need. There are two models: sports bras that compress breasts, and sports bras that separate and support each breast individually.

Bras that compress the chest are ideal for women with smaller breasts because they decrease impact during high-intensity exercise, all the while allowing for more freedom and flexibility. If you want to give your boobs a boost but still provide them with maximal support, padded models are your best bet.

For women with larger breasts, sports bras similar to the everyday models are preferable because they offer more support. If you are doing high-intensity sports and need great support, you can also wear one on top of the other.

2. Look at the back!

There are two types of straps for the back, and despite widespread belief, the difference isn’t just a question of style.

Straps that come together at the top of the back, i.e. the classic sports look, stay in place regardless of how you move, but also cover the middle of the back, the part of the body that sweats the most. If you select this option, be sure to choose a bra made of light or breathable material.

Parallel bra straps are usually adjustable and do not cover the middle of the back, which is a good thing if you think you will be sweating a lot. If you have a larger chest or require more support and you opt for this style, choose wide straps: the larger they are, the greater the support they’ll offer.

3. Find the right fit

There are two types of straps for the back, and despite widespread belief, the difference isn’t just a question of style.

Straps that come together at the top of the back, i.e. the classic sports look, stay in place regardless of how you move, but also cover the middle of the back, the part of the body that sweats the most. If you select this option, be sure to choose a bra made of light or breathable material.

Parallel bra straps are usually adjustable and do not cover the middle of the back, which is a good thing if you think you will be sweating a lot. If you have a larger chest or require more support and you opt for this style, choose wide straps: the larger they are, the greater the support they’ll offer.

4. Test run

It’s easy to be comfortable while looking at yourself in the mirror under changing room lights, but in reality we don’t buy sports bras to stay in one place—you’ll have to test it out to know if it will do the trick.

Try all of the movements you would generally execute while you work out: jump, run in place, move your arms, try out a sun salutation. Simulate your regular exercise routine.

While you exercise, make sure that:

  • Your breasts stay in place and do not try to escape out the side or the front.
  • The band on the bottom does not move, irrespective of how you twist and pivot.
  • You do not feel friction or chafing.
  • No part of the bra cuts, pulls or scratches.

In the end, when you’re choosing your bra, keep in mind that if you’re comfortable overall, you’ve probably got the bra that suits you. If you hesitate, then it’s likely not the best choice.

Tricks and tips: figure out your sports bra size

Measure your chest

1)  Wrap a tape measure around your chest, just below your breasts. Make sure to adjust the tape tightly, and take the measurement down in inches.

2)  Add five inches to your result, and round the figure up to the closest even number: you’ve just found your chest size. Write it down!

3)  To confirm that you’ve found the right size, wrap the tape around your torso just below your underarms. If the figure comes close to your step two result, it checks out.

Finding your cup size

4) Wrap the tape measure around your chest at its most ample point. Make sure the tape is level throughout, and do not squeeze too tightly. Write down the length in inches.

5) Subtract your bra size (point 2 above) from your chest size (point 4). The difference between the two will give you your cup size (see the chart below).

Difference

1"

2"

3"

4"

5"

Cup size

A

B

C

D

DD

Référence :

LaJean Lawson, Ph.D., Champion Sportswear