For the past 30 times when I decided to start to work-out (and didn’t succeed), it was pretty much the same scenario: I would go buy new training shoes and gym outfits but always end up wearing them on my lazy Saturdays, or never! But this time I feel deep in my heart that it’s the one, THE one! Why am I confident you would ask? Well I KNOW it’s going to be different, because I got myself the most perfect, “high support” sports bra! Maybe for you it’s not a big deal, but for me it is! I went home so excited about it, that the first thing I did was look for my jumping rope to test drive that baby!
It might sound funny, but it’s a really important issue, that should be taken very seriously (especially if you’re on the generously chested side) because a bad choice, besides than being uncomfortable, can cause back or neck injuries, whereas when you’re well supported, you’re unstoppable! (At least that’s what I felt).
A poor-fitting sports bra can ruin your entire workout experience: If it’s too tight, it can prevent proper breathing, and too loose it won't provide the right amount of support to reduce breast movement. So what to look for in a sports bra, and how to find the ONE? Here are some useful tips that would help you choose:
First, you need to find your bra size:
Sports bra fitting is not an exact science, so start by finding your basic size, then make the necessary fine-tuning using adjustable straps and back closures. The straps shouldn't be too tight or dig into your shoulders. Look for straps with minimal stretch to reduce up-and-down breast movement. Adjustable straps provide a customizable fit.
The band is the foundation of the bra, it should fit flat against your ribcage, tighter than a lingerie bra. Take a deep breath to make sure it fits comfortably, and look for a wide band with strong elastic to provide necessary support. As for the cups, you need to make sure they provide a full coverage, your breasts shouldn’t be pouring out of the top.
Second: Encapsulation or compression? The choice depends on your cup size and type of exercise
Encapsulation bras have two cups like a normal bra, but with extra support. Compression bras, on the other hand, press your breasts against your chest, and are usually pulled on over your head.
Smaller-chested women may feel most comfortable wearing a compression sports bra. However, a properly structured encapsulation bra is more likely to give good support than a compression bra.
For larger cup sizes, encapsulating sports bras are definitely recommended; although some bras offer a combination of both encapsulation and compression.
Low-impact sports bras, used for stretching or walking, are often cut like a crop-top and are made of thinner material. High-impact bras (for running) generally use less stretchy material, include supportive seams and overlays and are sometimes even underwired.
Of course trial and error is the best way to discover which brand, model and size fits your breasts best. Most brands suggest a selection of bras that, based on your body shape and level of activity, will suit you best.
And finally: the test!
Before buying, jump, swing your arms, and move around: if the bra slips, jiggles or doesn’t hold them tight, or if it does but constricts your breathing, just put it back. And make sure it fits on the first hook; as it loses elasticity over time, so you'll need to tighten it.
Finding the right sports bra can be a bit of a time-consuming process, but if you go on your bra quest equipped with the above advice, you'll be well on your way to bra nirvana. Not only will you feel more comfortable during your workouts, but you'll look fabulous too, because a perfect-fitting sports bra makes all the difference.