How to find your perfect sports bra
Don’t underestimate the power of sports bras. They support our breasts, prevent sagging and ultimately turn a good workout into a great one. Without the perfect support, the average A cup moves about an inch and a half and a D cup bounces two to three inches in all directions: breasts move up and down, side to side and even in and out.
Rather than tough muscle, breasts are soft tissue. The surrounding skin and Cooper’s ligaments support the bulk of the breast structure and, thanks to age, gravity, genetics and jumping (without a top-fitting sports bra), it’s these ligaments that can sag.
The best way to support your assets? Do your research and buy a sports bra that fits. Here’s five things to look out for to help maximise your lift and your fitness regime at the same time.
- Assess your straps. Your bra straps should be flat against your skin but not overly snug. Take two fingers and place them under the strap - if they fit comfortably you’ve got a match. There’s also a choice of racerback straps, which cross over and pull the breast support closer to the body, or wide straps. The latter is best for bigger cup sizes as they help distribute weight most effectively and can be adjusted.
- Find your support. You’ll probably try on either a compression-style sports bra or an encapsulation one. Compression bras are shelved and are usually worn for smaller breasts or low-impact workouts like yoga. For bigger breasts, encapsulation bras are your friends - with individual cups to support each breast. However, these are still beneficial for all breast sizes - you might even be able to find one that mixes both styles.
- Size up your cups. Cups can go two ways - your breasts can either spill over the sides of your cup or you’ll find folds and wrinkles around the cups themselves. If you end up with a double-breast effect around the cup, you’re going to need a bigger size. If you find a looseness in the cup area, you’ll end up with irritated skin - go down a cup size.
- Feel the band. Make sure you can slide your finger between your skin and the band comfortably to avoid chafing and discomfort - you shouldn’t be able to pull it more than an inch from your chest. If you feel like you need a slightly wider band, you can move the clasp to another eyelet. If the band is feeling a tad loose and you need to move to the last eyelet for a snug fit, you’re better off buying one with a smaller band.
- Put it to the test. You’re going to be moving in all sorts of directions in this bra, so you need to see what it’s like when the action is ramped up - even if it is in the changing room. First, put your arms above your head. Does the band creep up? If so, it’s too large. Next, jog on the spot; making sure that everything feels good, straps aren’t digging into your skin and there’s minimal bounce.