How To Choose The Right Sports Bra - The Ultimate Guide

Confidence comes in all sizes and shape, it’s up to you to find your winning fit. Every woman wants to achieve her dream but failed because of the embarrassment factor comes from the breast bounce while doing any sports activity. The right sports bra will help you achieve your goals by providing the right support level you need. Here is the ultimate guide to pick the best sports bra.

Category: Lifestyle     Written By: Madiha Jamal

How To Choose The Right Sports Bra - The Ultimate Guide

Sports bras are the saviors for every sportswoman, but about 40% of women don`t exercise in a sports bra, and more than 70% are wearing the wrong one. What should you watch for when picking the sports bra? Style or material? There might be something you are missing.

Picking the right sports bra is vital for women of any shape, size, and activity level. Many women athletes wear a sports bra for support and comfort, but they are likely wearing the wrong size which results in breast pain and soft tissue damage. 

A sports bra may not look as perky and adorable as your lacy wonders, but it helps improve your workout, prevent lasting tissue damage and keeps your shape well into old age and reduce breast pain.

For your hot summer runs, the sweaty sessions in the gym, or while attending a yoga class; you need the right Sports Bra that provides comfort and makes you look cool and feminine at the same time. 

If it is your first attempt into the world of sports bra, or looking for the guide to choose the right sports bra; then you are at the right place. 

Here is the checklist to choosing the right sports bra for all the blessed women out there.

What is a sports bra?

Sports Bra is a painless garment in your wardrobe that helps avoid discomfort while exercising, running and doing any other sports activity. It is an integral part of workout wear and the best piece of kit for athlete.

Why it is essential to wear a Sports bra during activities?

Research conducted at the University of Portsmouth in Breast Health by Professor Joanna and group. In this research they have tested thousands of women across all bra sizes and discovered that; 

Breasts move, in all directions while running. And during exercise, the excessive amount of movement put a strain on them and caused them to stretch. This constant stretch can lose their shape with time, and nothing can naturally restore them. 

Too much movement can cause “the girls” to become droopy over time. 

The right sports bra can restrict these movements, and protects the breast from the adverse impacts of this movement. A sports bra will provide adequate support that is necessary to lead an active lifestyle without unnecessary discomfort. 

What are the consequences of not wearing a sports bra?

Doing sport without an adequate support can have detrimental aftereffects to a woman`s health and general wellbeing. 

Here are the five primary consequences.

  • Without appropriate support, you may experience breast pain while doing exercise.
  • Inadequate breast support can lead to back pain, and tissue damage that can cause stretch marks and sag over time.
  • The damage caused during physical activity can be permanent.
  • The motion of the torso drives Breasts` movement. Exercising without appropriate support can maximize the torso motion and cause the breasts to move even faster.
  • Excessive breast movement can put some women off exercise and also compromise sports activities just for the embarrassment factor.

How to find the right sports bra?

You must be thinking that the sports bra you are wearing is perfectly acceptable for sports activities. You could be wrong. Because today, the majority of women are wearing compression sports bras, which provides support by pressing down against the chest wall, but that`s in fact, the worst way to get support.

Picking a sports bra that genuinely supportive and fit on your body is not always easy. The right fit can vary according to different activity levels, whether the sport is low-impact, or high-impact. Usually what most women have mistaken while buying a sports bra is that they look for the comfort, color, and style and ignore what fits perfectly to their silhouettes. 

Breasts move in multiple directions when running; you need to select the one that provides optimal support rather than just choosing the larger size. The right support is the key.

How To Find The Right Sports Bra

Choose according to the types of Constriction

Sports Bra Types

There are three primary types of constriction in sports bras that helps reduce breasts’ motion and provide the perfect support.

1.    Compression Sports bras

These bras are typically worn by pulling them over your head and do not have cups built into the design. They constrict the breasts against the chest wall (to a specific degree) to confine the movement. Compression sports bras are suitable for women with smaller breasts and tend to work best for low- to medium-impact activities.

2.    Encapsulation Sports bras

They are the one you wear everyday usually with fasteners on the front or back. They are designed with individual cups to provide support, surround each breast separately and give a more natural shape. These sports bras and are ideal for women with larger breasts because there is no compression in them. And perfect for moderate to low-impact activities. 

3.    Compression + encapsulation Sports bras

These bras will give you the best of both the worlds as they are the combination of the above two types. They encapsulate each breast individually while compressing the breast tissues against the chest. They are supportive and comfortable for women of any size and the perfect choice for high-impact activities.

Watch out the Sports Bra Features

Sports Bra Features

Many women choose a smaller cup and a larger band size that provides discomfort during activities. Look for the sports bra features while finding the right fit. 

These are some features that you will find in a good Sports bra. 

  • Band

The band is the primary source of support and sets the foundation of a sports bra. It should be comfy around your rib cage and make sure it is not too tight. Wide bands provide more support than narrow bands. You can check the ideal fit of the band by putting two fingers between your body and the band.

  • Adjustable shoulder straps

The shoulder straps provide minimal stretch and reduce up-and-down movement while making you feel secure. Wide straps disperse the weight better and deliver greater comfort than narrow ones. Adjustable straps often come in encapsulation style sports bras and offer the most customizable fit. You can tighten them while doing high-intensity workouts and loosen them when you do yoga.

  • Back closure 

Some sports bras have a back closure with hooks and are easier to get on and off. The back closure allows you to adjust the fit further. You can use the furthest hook while fitting a new sports bra and use the closer hook easily when the bra inevitably stretches out. 

  • Underwire

Some sports bras have underwire to support each breast individually and help minimize the movement. You need to be careful with it while wearing your sports bra. Make sure that the underwire should lay flat against your rib cage, below the breast tissue, and should not squeeze or shove.  

  • Cups

Cups provide the support for each breast just like the underwire bra. They lift the breasts, get them centered, gives more torso length and creates a sense of balance. Cups provide the support for each breast just like the underwire bra and are available in three types as molded, removable and contoured. It`s imperative that your bra has cup sizing from small, medium to large compression style.  

  • Crisscross straps

The crisscross straps in back provide perfect support and are often adjustable so you can fine-tune the fit. If you want to wear a sporty tank top, you can nicely hide the crisscross straps underneath and make your fashion statement even while sweating. 

  • Racerback 

Racerback comes with shoulder straps that go together between your shoulder blades while creating a Y-shape. Racerback bras are typically not so adjustable, but they can provide excellent support for medium- to high-impact activities. It’s important to size the bra correctly. 

  • Moisture-wicking fabrics

While working out, you sweat a lot which traps the moisture under your breast and can cause rashes. Remember that your bra should be made from moisture-wicking fabric and avoid incubating that moisture and keep you comfortable. In that way, you can excel in your activities.

What sports bra do you need according to your activity level?

Sports Bra According To Activity Level

With a good sports bra, you can reduce bounce by up to 74%. And that reduction in bounce can boost your confidence during sports activities. Sports bras are designed in a way to provide three levels of support as low, medium and high. If you are more into different activities and workout, it`s wise to equip you with different styles of sports bras according to your activity level.

High impact activities: These include aerobics, Boxing, Tennis, Running, boot camp, martial arts, bodyweight training.

What you need: Go for the higher compression and greater coverage sports bras. Racerback straps and padded or molded cups are ideal for these kinds of activities. 

Medium impact activities: These include climbing, biking, the gym circuit, cycling, spinning, weight lifting, and hiking.

What you need: Look for the medium impact sports bras that help confine the movement. Bras with broad straps, padding and sturdy fabric with a light stretch can be ideal.

Light impact activities: These include yoga, Barre, Pilates, Walking, and paddling. 

What you need: Watch for low impact sports bras with comfortable, stretchy fabric, padded with straps. Choose the width of the straps according to your preference.

How to find the correct size of sports bra?

When shopping a sports bra for a workout, the primary thing you should consider is its size. Proper sizing is the basis of a bra`s overall comfort. Too big size will not provide adequate support and too small can restrain breathing. 

No woman wants to have bouncy boobs while running or trouble breathing during a workout. Watch out the red flags and sizing chart while purchasing your sports bra.

Signs for an ideal fitting of Sports bras

Find The Right Fit For Sports Bra

  • The bottom band should be snug and supportive. But make sure you should be able to take a deep breath when you fastened the bra on the middle hook.
  • Smooth cups without any wrinkles.
  • The straps should be firm and secure, but not dropping off of your shoulders.

How do you measure yourself for a sports bra?

Sports bra fitting is not rocket science, but this size guide can help you find your basic size. Stand in front of a mirror to measure yourself in a non-padded bra and use a measuring tape to get your measurements. Follow the Sports bra size chart and note down your results.

Step 1:

Rib Cage Measurement For Sports Bra

Snug the measuring tape around your rib cage (not so tight that it interferes with normal breathing) right under your breasts. Read the rib cage measurement, round down to the nearest inch, and write on a paper.

Step 2:

Find your similar band size from the size chart based on your rib cage measurement.

Band size chart

Rib Cage measurement
Band Size
25”- 27”
27”- 29”
29”- 31”
31”- 33”
33”- 35”
35”- 37”
37”- 39”
39”- 41”

Step 3:

Measuring The Bust Size For Sports Bra

Measure your bust size by holding the tape around the fullest part of the breast. Make sure that the tape stays straight across your back. Read the measurements, round up to the nearest inch, and note down on paper.

Step 4:

Find your cup size by subtracting your rib cage measurement from your bust measurement. The result you get will be your suggested cup size. Round up to the nearest inches if you are between sizes. Find your cup size from the chart below.

Cup size chart

(Bust Size –Ribcage Size)Cup Size

Where to buy the perfect sports bra?

After knowing exactly which sports bra you need, based on the support, band size and cup size, it’s time to buy a new sports bra for your next activity. 

A good sports bra can be expensive, but you must buy only the best, and that is worth every penny regarding wear, tear, and comfort. But, Where to buy the one? And which brand offers the best sports bras to shop online? Well! There are many local department stores where you can find your size. If in case, you can`t get to an expert fitter, try a website like Yvette Sports

The site has a good selection of sports bras according to impact levels, size charts to choose the right fit, and features. You will also find Yvette Sports Coupon online to avail exclusive discount deals on your shopping.

How do you know when it is time to replace your sports bra?

For most athlete women, buying a high-quality sports bra is a well-made investment. And it is essential to take care of it and get to know when it’s time to retire and buy the new one. 

The useful life of your sports bra depends on many factors, here are some common signs

  • When the fabric is no longer in its original shape.
  • You will not get the support from your sports bra like you once had.
  • The material starts pilling under the arms.
  • The elastic is stretched out, and the bra is rolling up.
  • You have gained or lost some weight.

How long a Sports bra Last?

The average life span of a sports bra is between 6 and 12 months depending on the frequency of wear and the care you give to your garment. The life span of a sports bra also depends on the laundering. 

How to properly take care of your sports bra?

After you have found the bra you love, it’s essential to take care of your investment. You will need extreme care when it comes to laundering your Sports Bra. Avoid the spin cycle. Experts suggest hand washing your sports bra with a mild detergent after every wear. 

Use high-quality detergents that help eliminate odors and retain the wicking properties of your sports apparel. Never place them in the dryer since the heat can break down the elasticity and thus reduce its lifespan. 

The Final Verdict

It is a bit time consuming to find the right sports bra. But, once you find the one you love, you will be amazed to know how a sports bra Spice up your workout and sports activities. A sports bra can help accentuate your assets while not leaving the comfort behind even in your most sweaty sessions. From strappy back to a plunging neckline from Under Armor, Sports bras are the fun staple that every active woman should need in her life to feel her best every day.

Run extra miles with confidence and cross that winning line!

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