Research shows that 80% of women are wearing the incorrect bra size. This is bad considering that it can profoundly affect your physical health. Many intense physical activities put an enormous strain on your breast tissue and ligaments. All women have a thin cluster of connective tissue that assists in supporting your breasts. Without the correct comfort and stability, the heavy impact exercises you’re performing can lead to your tissue tearing and long term breast damage. And trust me, no woman wants to go through that much physical pain.
Nevertheless, don’t worry. From finding out your cup size to the internal construction of your sports bras, here’s a guide on what you need to know to find the perfect sports bra fit for you!
The Importance Of Having a Well Fitted Sports Bra
When doing any physical movement, your breasts move in a continuous and repetitive figure-eight motion. Sports bras are made to decrease that level and degree of mobility. Breasts don’t have any muscle to sustain them, and the ligaments near your breast are what create their size and shape. These are called the Cooper Ligaments. These ligaments can break down very easily and can cause significant pain and sagging if not taken care of, which is why it’s crucial to have proper support.
If your Cooper Ligaments Stretch out, it can cause irreplaceable damage. However, once you find a protective and assisting bra, you’ll have nothing to worry about and will have the freedom to do any type of physical activity you want.
Finding Your Cup Size
Determining your cup size can be very difficult for many women. If you already know your cup size for your regular everyday bras, then the size should be the same. It’s essential to recognize that sports bras should fit a little more tightly than regular bras, but you should still feel just as secure and comfy.
As women, throughout your lifetime, our bodies go through many hormonal changes, especially after pregnancy. This can heavily fluctuate your cup size. So whenever your shop, I recommend getting re-sized. However, if you want to size yourself, here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Measure your rib cage. Your rib cage determines your band size. After that, take your rib cage measurements and decipher your band size by using a chart.
Step 2: Measure your bust size. Remember to keep the tape measurement all-around your back and round the number, you get to the nearest whole number.
Step 3: After you measure your bust size, subtract your rib cage measurement from it. The difference will determine the cup size. If you’re in the middle of sized, round up to the nearest whole number. Here’s a chart to identify it:
Identify The Level of Support You Need
There are three different levels of support for sports bras to keep in mind-Low, Medium, and High. They are all determined on the types of activity you’re doing, the intensity of the workout, and the level of impact it has on your body. The higher the impact, the more support you need and, the more likely you are to have excessive pain and soreness.
Higher impact means more bouncing, jumping, running, aerobics, and a higher level of difficulty of intense movement. Medium impact means exercises like road cycling, power walking, Zumba, skiing, elliptical training, and more. Low impact means waking, yoga, or swimming. However, I would still recommend women with bigger breasts to still wear high support bras even when performing low impact exercises.
Low Support Bras= Low Impact Activities= Compression bras, lightweight, Slimmer straps and bands
Medium support Bras= Medium Impact Activities= Limits more movements than Low Support, more full bands, and straps can be emasculated or compressed.
High Support Bras = High Impact Activities = Encapsulation and compression bras combined, adjustable straps, most extensive bands, limit breast movement to the max.
One thing to point out is that many companies organize their types of bras by the amount of support it offers, which makes it ten times easier to find the perfect fit.
The Structure And Makeup of Sport Bras
The main job of sports bras is to minimize movement as much as possible. You might be wondering what I meant when I said compressed and encapsulation. Those are different types of sports bras that support and reduce movement in their different ways.
Compression Bras: These bras are engineered to “compress” your breasts up against the chest, holding them to restrict movement. Most of them slip on over your head and usually don’t have adjustable straps for small cup sizes. They typically don’t have much padding or individual cups to separate the sides.
Encapsulation Bras: These have individual cups that encompasses and supports each breast. They give your breasts a more natural look and don’t compress them. These are best to wear when doing low impact activities.
Left= Emcapsulation Bra & Right= Compression Bra
Compression/Encapsulation Bras: Most sports bras incorporate both these types to equip you with both support and a natural shape. This is the best type of sports bra that every woman should invest since it restricts and compresses your breasts while at the same time giving support and shape. Additionally, these bras are great for low to high impact workouts and have adjustable straps and bands, which is incredibly helpful for women with bigger busts.
Different Sports Bra Straps
Tank-Top: These straps are a very similar style to regular everyday bras. Some of them have fully covered their backs. They have adjustable straps, and some can be crisscrossed, which creates more stability and compression. Some are slip-on bras, and others have back closure that requires you to clasp the two sides together.
Racer Back: Has one big strap that’s in the middle of your shoulder blades, which is why you’ll never see adjustable ones. They’re also slip on bras. Racerback straps equip you with exceptional support for medium to high impact exercises. Yet, at the same time, it still permits a full range of motion.
Crisscross: these straps are for bras worn when performing low to medium impact activities. They are adjustable straps that crisscross at your back.
Other Qualities and Properties To Look For
Removable padding: If you have padding in your sports bras, it’s most likely there to mold the shape of your breasts. Padding is also added in to add extra comfort and to prevent your nipples from showing. Padding may not always be implemented within sports bras, but if they are and you don’t like the way it feels, juts remove them.
Back Closure: Sports bras that have black closures with hooks permits for even more adjustments to make you as comfortable as possible. The hooks create more flexibility for it to fit you. Always wear it on the loosest hook to last longer, and as time goes on, you can adjust and make it tighter.
Front closed bras: There are two types of front closed bras. One of them is a clasp front. Clasp fronts are extremely easy to remove and put on; however, they aren’t very adjustable. They’re relatively supportive and don’t leave any bulges. The other one is a zip-front. Zip fronts are very supportive and are great to workout in. They prevent chafing and ensure that everything is secure.
What Fabric Should Sports Bras Be Made Out Of?
Lycra: Lycra provides a tighter fit and is one of the most prominent materials used within sports bras.
Mesh fabric: This fabric may not have the most comfortable feeling on your skin, but it contains breathable properties and is mainly used to make your bra look presentable and pleasant.
Polyester and Nylon: Its one of the worst feelings when you’re left feeling soaked after a workout. These materials are sweat-wicking, breathable, and will remove the moisture from your skin, which will leave you feeling dry and comfortable.
Spandex: If you want your sports bras to have more of a stretch, I would recommend purchasing one that contains spandex. The material itself is very comfortable and allows your body to move to its maximum potential due to its elastic properties.
How to Prevent Chafing
Bra chafing is when the fabric of your bra is repeatedly uncomfortably rubbing against your skin. It’s common in areas like the underarms, under the breasts and nipple area. Chafing can cause rashes, burns, and even bleeding. It usually occurs when you’re persuasively sweating, in hot environments and when doing long workouts. However, there are ways to prevent this.
-Make sure that your sports bra is the perfect fit for you.
-Purchase ones with softer material for your skin.
-Ensure that you’re wearing the correct sports bras based on the level of impact the exercise is.
-Apply anti-chafing cream before working out.
Time To Find The Perfect Fit For You!
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when purchasing the best possible sports bra fit for you. As a woman, it’s important to take care of ourselves as much as we can due to the number of different changes our bodies go through throughout our lifetime. I hope you can use this as a reference in future purchases to accommodate all your needs.