Updated: Apr 22, 2021
Did you know... with each bounce, breasts move not only up and down but also side to side and in and out, tracing a butterfly pattern. Unsupported, the average A cup travels about an 3cm and a half in each direction, and a D cup bounces 3 to 7 cms!!.
A good sports bra can cut that movement in half—by 53 to 59 percent for A’s and D’s, respectively—which is key to sparing the support structures in your breast. Because breasts are made of soft tissue—alas, not muscle—what holds them up is the surrounding skin and the internal Cooper's ligaments, a web of springy coils that are built to rebound until jumping, genetics, and gravity catch up with them. The bad news is that unsupported breasts lead to premature sagging. When exposed to stress (i.e. bouncing during exercises) these ligaments stretch, and unfortunately the damage cannot be undone!.
Wearing a properly fitted sports bra can go a long way to avoiding that sag! Also a properly fitted sports bra will give your breasts all the support, cushioning and comfort they need - helping to eliminate any back, neck or shoulder pain. Many women believe (incorrectly) that because they have small breasts or they’re only casual exercisers that they don’t need to be proper fitting sports bra. The truth is that 86% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. That means that 86% of women are wearing sports bras that don’t support them properly !!!
It doesn't matter how expensive or well-engineered a sports bra is.
If it doesn’t fit properly, it won’t work properly.
How to Choose a Perfect Sports Bra
The right sports bra can make all the difference in your workout
Compression versus encapsulation?
Compression: Cropped stretchy pull on bra styles work for smaller cup sizes (A and B) or for low impact workouts. They offer very little support and not suitable at all for Bounce. Low-impact bras are good for things like yoga class or lounging around.
Encapsulation: Sports bras with individual cups are better for larger-breasted women than compression-style ones. They can offer up to 75% reduction in movement and have support.
Combo: combo of compression and encapsulation, are best for larger cup sizes to protect from movement in all directions.
Racerback or wide straps?
Racerback: Because they cinch in back, the straps anchor the bra closer to the body, providing more support.
Wide straps: Shoulder straps help distribute weight better than T-backs (key for bigger cups) and are more likely to be adjustable and padded.
For extra support, look for bras with an underwire and built-in cups
Pullover or back clasp?
Pullover: Tank styles typically cover the back more than clasps, but those with pull over stretch lack the rigid front straps, adjustability, and support to anchor large chests.
Back clasp: Clasps let you tighten the band, from which 70 percent of the bra's support comes. This is especially vital for larger breasts, which place more demand on the band.
Front-zip: Zippered sports bras are much easier to get on and take off.
How should a sports bra fit?
Support comes from three points on a sports bra: the straps, the cups, and the band, including the side panels.
Straps: Hold the top of one strap and the centre of the corresponding cup, then pull. Whether they're adjustable or not, the less stretchy the front straps, the more motion control they'll provide. Once on you should have a two finger gaps between the strap and your shoulder – if not loosen or tighten the strap.
Cups: Repeat a similar stretch test by tugging the top and bottom of each cup; the less give, the more motion control. Then put on the bra. Whether it's a compression or an encapsulation style, the cup should hold the whole breast—no spillage. If it doesn't, choose the next larger cup size. Lean forward and make sure you fill the cup. Do the Scoop – scoop each breast up and adjust into the cup
Band and side panels: Slide a finger under the band between your breasts; you should not be able to pull it more than an inch from your chest. (For an adjustable band style, set the clasp on the first eyelet; if you have to use the last eyelet to get a snug fit, you're better off with a smaller band.) Next, reach your arms overhead; if the band creeps up, it's too big.
Don’t waste your money on bras that only come in small, medium or large. They only compress breast tissue into one heavier mass, making proper support impossible. A good quality, supportive sports bras will only be available in cup sizes. That’s because they are designed to separate the breasts - encapsulating and supporting each one independently - ensuring that any ‘bounce’ is effectively managed. Proper sports bra support should feel like your breasts are being held, not squashed, against the body.
So what's my size?
This is a two-step process: (note this is in inches)
1. Band Size: measure rib cage directly under the breast - the tape measure should be level around the body - take a snug measurement. Round down to even number.
2. Over Bust Measurement: measure around the fullest part of the breast - again keeping the tape measure level - the tape measure should not compress the breast.
3. To Calculate Cup Size: Subtract the band size from the overbust measurement. If the difference is 1” = A cup, 2” = B cup, 3”= C cup, 4” = D cup, 5” = DD cup, etc. Ex: Overbust measurement is 36” minus band size of 34” = 2”. 2” = B Cup. Your bra size is a 34B.
Don't be alarmed if your sports bra size is bigger or different to your normal bra size
Make your Sports Bra last
Wash the bra in cold water with mild detergent. Avoid fabric softener and bleach.
Dry it flat or line dry it. For the dryer, use the cold tumble cycle only: Heat breaks down spandex.
Replace the bra if the ends of the spandex fibers start showing or the fabric no longer snaps back into shape. Your bra should never celebrate a birthday….a sports bra needs to be replaced every six to 12 months."
We expect more of our sports bras than our regular bras-stretching them further than a normal bra (exercise expands our range of motion) and covering them in sweat, which has corrosive properties that cause the fabric and elastic to break down quicker, even with proper care and cleaning. To maximize the life of your sports bras, have at least three in your rotation. This will give you multiple options and extend the life of each. If you're an active woman who hits the gym three times a week, stick to the six-to-12 month rule and keep an eye out for key signs that your bra is past its prime: a stretched band or straps, faded tags, spots that cause your skin to chafe, or a less-than-fresh scent even after being laundered.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your breasts are. If there is one bra you should invest in it’s a good-quality, properly fitted sports bra. You deserve a sports bra that works just as hard as you do? · So make sure to invest in supportive, well-constructed sports bras right at the outset. Beat the bounce for good.
REMEMBER – IF IT DOESN’T FIT WELL – IT WON’T WORK WELL