Love them or hate them, a good sports bra is an essential piece of exercise equipment. To focus on your workout and keep breast pain to a minimum, you need to keep the girls under control. And a good sports bra does just that.
But do you know everything your sports bra should be doing? It isn’t as simple as just strapping it on and going for a run.
I have put together a list of the 9 things your sports bra should do (with a little bonus). Read on and get the most out of your little exercise buddy.
#1: Your Band Should Fit Snugly
The name of the game for sports bras is support. That is their primary purpose, to hold you up! And 80% of the effort comes from the band.
For your band to work effectively it needs to be snug but not too tight. Being able to breathe is also important!
A good fit test is to put your sports bra on and adjust so it feels comfortably snug. Can you slide two fingers under the band between it and your ribcage?
Yes, then your band is nice and snug. No, your band is too tight. Three fingers and your band is too loose.
#2: Your Straps Should Fit Snugly
OK, we now know that 80% of support comes from the band. Guess where the remaining 20% comes from? If you said ‘shoulder straps’ you would be right.
And just like the band, for your straps to work effectively they should fit snugly. Too loose and you’ll bounce all over the place. Too tight and they may dig into your shoulders. Ouch!
Once again, we can apply the two-finger test. Can you comfortably slide two fingers under your straps? No, your straps are too tight. Yes, your straps are just right.
#3: Your Cups Should be Full
Full, but not overflowing. A sports bra needs to support all your breast. Any unsupported area may bounce. Not good!
As such, your cups should be full. With all your breast held. Gaps or wrinkling of the cup indicates they aren’t full, and you need to go down a cup size.
Spilling out the sides or top also leaves you unsupported (and on show!) Go up a cup size to fully enclose all your breast.
#4: Your Straps Should Stay on Your Shoulders
This goes without saying. A sports bra isn’t going to work well if the straps keep slipping down. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common problem for many women.
The possible cause of this can vary. Firstly, are your shoulder straps correctly adjusted (remember above!) Not too loose, not too tight, just right. It is worth checking with each wear as things can move.
Second cause, your cups are too big. Your breasts bouncing in your cups can cause your shoulder straps to move. Check your cup fit (See #3 above)
The final possible cause is body type. All the adjusting in the world may not help if you have narrow or sloping shoulders. If this is you try a convertible straps or racerback style. This will anchor the straps preventing any slippage.
#5: Your Bra Centre Should Lay Flat
This issue primarily affects underwire bras. The bra centre or bra ‘gore’ needs to lie flat against your chest. Not doing so indicates that you are wearing the wrong cup size.
Trying to squeeze into small cups will push the centre gore out from your chest. If your cups are too big then so will the underwire. This may cause your cups to ‘fold’ pushing the centre gore out from your torso.
To solve, check your cup size or even easier, go wirefree!
#6: Your Underwire Should Lay Flat on Your Chest
This continues from the above. All of your underwire should follow the shape of your breasts and sit flat against your torso.
If your cups are too big the underwire can be a different shape to your breasts. This can not only cause your underwire to rise away from your chest but can be uncomfortable.
Cups to small and the underwire often tends to sit on your lower breasts. It simply isn’t big enough to fit under your breasts.
The solution once again is cup size. Find the right cup size and eliminate the problem. If that doesn’t work, try a different style of go wirefree.
#7: Your Underwire Should Not Poke You
Another underwire issue. Rest assured I am not underwire bashing just helping you work through any underwire problems.
Being poked by your underwire is once again often caused by incorrect cup size. Cups to big and your underwire can move around potentially poking or prodding you in the process. Cups to small and well, we already know what can happen here.
Once again get your cup size right and hopefully it is problem solved.
#8: Your New Sports Bra Should Fit on the Loosest Hooks
Good quality modern sports bras can be pricey. As such, you want them to perform for as long as possible. That said, even the best sports bras will stretch over time making them less effective.
To help extend the life of your sports bra band it is best to start on the loosest hook. This will allow you to tighten things up as the band inevitably stretches over time (if only we could do this!) This will allow your band to support you for longer.
#9: Your Sports Bra Shouldn’t Rub
This goes without saying. Rub and chafe are the enemy of active women. And we will do anything to avoid it, cream, tape, anything!
The biggest cause is incorrect fit. Get the fit right and the rub should stop. If it doesn’t try a different style. We are all different and so too are sports bras. Match the sports bra to the body type and problem solved!
If the rub occurs between your breasts, try an encapsulation style. One that separates and ‘cups’ each breast individually.
If band rub is your problem, then look for a soft, seamless band. Styles that wick sweat away also help.
Bonus: Care for Your Sports Bra and it Will Care for You
Life anything, your sports bra will respond well to a bit of TLC. Look after it and it will look after you.
Store it neatly in a drawer. Wash it as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Hand wash or use a wash bag. Use mild detergent and cool water. Dry flat in the shade. Never tumble dry.
It is a long list but an easy one to follow. Consequently, your sports bra will return the love for as long as possible.
Well done for getting this far. There was a lot to take in. But well worth the effort. We now know everything your sports bra should do. And tips for fixing any issues you may have.
It goes without saying, taking the time to find the perfect fitting sports is well worth the effort. You will be rewarded with a comfortable and supportive sports bra that doesn’t rub. Well worth the effort!
If your efforts lead you to a new sports bra then I can help you here too. Check out sportsbrasdirect.com.au. Not only do they have an awesome range of sports bras from which to choose. Their education and advice is second to none!
Yours in support.