Tips for choosing a sports bra that fits

Next to sweaty machines, dirty change rooms and grunting men, the number one complaint women have about exercising is undergarments that get in the way of a good workout.

Last week, I asked my Facebook community to share their biggest exercise undergarment pet peeves:

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 1.43.34 PM

Their five main exercise undergarment concerns?

  • Comfort; they want their workout bras to be comfortable enough to wear all day, without constricting underwires or straps and bands that ‘dig in’ (as someone who teaches a class, then runs off to train clients, grocery shop and pick up kids from school, all without showering or changing clothes, I completely agree with this).
  • Compression; compressive enough to keep ‘the girls’ from bouncing during cardio and the glutes looking tight (long after the dead lift muscle pump has worn off), all while remaining comfortable and without generating ‘uni-boob’.
  • Coverage; bras need to be high enough both in front, to avoid ‘show and tell’ during bent-over exercises and spinning class (as a former spin instructor, I can attest to the ‘eye full’ that well-endowed, front row participants proffer during hovers and forward-leaning drills) and under the arms (nobody likes ‘side boobage’). Cups need to be thick enough to hide cold-temperature induced ‘head lights’.
  • Creep-resistant; workout underwear needs to stay put. ‘Whale-tail’ and ‘creeping crotch’ get in the way of a good workout (note that regardless of the undergarments you choose to sport, there may still be the odd ‘creep’ that finds you irresistible 😉 ).
  • Cost; although we all know that ‘you get what you pay for’, spending a ton of money on an article of clothing that nobody ever sees (outside of the locker room, that is) is tough for many. Finding a well-fitting, reasonably-priced workout bra with a long lifespan is akin to winning the lottery.
  • Cute; just because they’re covered up doesn’t mean women don’t want to feel pretty and confident and sexy in their sports bras and thongs!

Choosing a sports bra that fits

The relative importance of the above five issues depended, in part, on the respondent’s ‘endowedness’. No surprise, bigger-breasted women cared most about compression and coverage, while those of us with a ‘little less to cover’ wanted things to be cute and comfortable.

Given the variability in women’s individuals needs and the wide range of exercise bras and panties available, I thought I’d share a list of tips for choosing a sports bra that fits both your body and workout type.

Tips for choosing a sports bra that fits:

Small cup sizes and/or low impact workouts: Compression bras can work well for women with A or B cups, in particular when participating in low impact exercise activities, including yoga, weight training and indoor cycling. The higher the impact, the more likely you’ll need to switch to a full-encapsulation model (each breast rests in a separate ‘cup’). Strap thickness is primarily based on comfort. The less the straps have to support and the lower the impact, the thinner they can be.

Medium cup sizes and/or moderate impact workouts: Women with C cups may need to choose bras with individual cups, regardless of the intensity of their workout. Most women in this size range make two mistakes when it comes to purchasing a sports bra; they choose a cup size that’s too small and a band that’s too loose. Together, these contribute to excessive bounce and ‘spillage’. For a better fit, try going up a cup size and down an inch or two in the band. If you can pull the band out more than an inch from your chest, it’s still too big.

Large cup sizes and/or high intensity workouts: If you’re a D or larger and plan on performing squat jumps and burpees without giving your fellow gym-goers a show (or knocking yourself out…), full-encapsulation plus size bras are your friends. Choose a wider strap to help distribute the weight of ‘your girls’ and a model that has a clasp in back. Clasps allow you to tighten the strap, giving you an individualized fit and better control.

 

SaveSave

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Comments

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my handful bras, but it took me years and too sheer and poor fitting to get there and find them.
    CARLA recently posted…My four step process to becoming a lark.My Profile