How to Find the Right Sports Bra
Hey ladies, have you been neglecting "your girls"? From what I see in my exercise classes, many of you do.
I see boobs bouncing around (ouch!), hanging low, bulging out the top and or sides, and sometimes, looking like they are about to fall out.
Be nice to your girls by wearing a good, supportive and sport-appropriate bra. In return, your girls will thank you and stay perky longer. Follow these six rules to feel comfortable and look your best while you exercise and afterwards.
Rule #1: Leave the wires, the three-inch push-up padding and thin straps in your locker. Opt for proper support, moisture-wicking material to keep you dry, and flat seams (or no seams) to prevent chaffing.
Rule #2: Forget about what the size on the label says, go for how it feels and looks. Be prepared to try on different styles in different sizes (sizing may be different than your regular bra) until you find the right fit. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and a fitting. Your sports bra should:
- feel snug, not suffocating
- have wide straps that sit comfortably over your shoulders without digging in
- offer good coverage
- show no signs of bulging out at the top (double-boob), from the sides or the back
Rule #3: A mesh lining with an elastic band around the bottom that is built into a top does not provide support. Too much strain on your breasts' supportive tissue (the Cooper ligaments) will eventually cause sagging.
Try an encapsulation bra (with two cups like a regular bra) or a compression bra (presses your breasts against your chest). The former will offer the best support and fit, especially for the well-endowed. Steer clear from S-M-L sizing, you may find yourself between sizes and forced to choose between one that is too tight and one that is too loose.
Rule #4: Get a sports specific bra. For high-impact activities like running, buy a high-support bra. For low-impact activities like yoga, you can still wear a high-support bra but you can also wear something a little less constricting. You are always better off with more support. If you only buy one sports bra, make sure it provides enough support for the highest impact activity you do. On that note, let’s move on to my next rule.
Rule #5: Buy more than one sports bra. See rule three for reasons why you may want/need more than one. Also, it’s easier to have at least two so you have one to wear while the other sits in the laundry basket.
Rule #6: Test it before you buy it. In front of a mirror, jump up and down, jog on the spot, circle your arms around, bend over, and mimic the activities you plan on doing with that specific bra. Are your girls bouncing too much or still bouncing after you stop? Do you feel secure and supported or jiggly-wiggly? Is anything pinching, tugging, digging or pulling? Can you breathe normally? Are your breasts so compressed they hurt? Last but not least, try it with your sports T-shirt over top and check for bumps and grooves again.
Stick to these rules and you and your girls will be happy workout buddies! You won’t worry about causing them any pain or harm and they won’t worry about letting you down.
Katya Mohsen is a personal trainer with more than 10 years of experience in fitness and sports training. Catch her practical fitness advice Thursdays on Slice.ca.