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Your Guide to Finding the Perfect Sports Bra

If it doesn’t fit like Cinderella’s glass slipper, keep shopping.

To look fabulous in your little black dress or that spicy new bikini, you first need to feel fabulous in your sports bra. You’ll want a well-fitted sports bra for better comfort and appearance, but more importantly, you’ll thank yourself a few years down the line when the ladies are still perky. Here’s why.

When you wear a sports bra that doesn’t fit right or isn’t intended for the level of impact of your exercise, your body is left susceptible to soreness, pain, and sagging. If you have larger breasts, you may experience shoulder and back strain. The more permanent side effect that most women may not know about lies in the Cooper’s ligaments. These ligaments maintain the size and shape of your breasts. Once they’ve been stretched out, they can’t go back; hence, irreversible sagging.

Your breasts can move up to 14 cm during a workout, and a good sports bra can limit that movement up to 83 percent! Whatever cup size you are or whatever your choice of exercise is, there’s a right sports bra for you. Here’s how to determine yours.

Identify the impact level of your workout.

Are you a yogi? A marathon runner? A crossfit queen? Whatever your workout for the day is, the first step in taking care of our breasts during fitness is to determine the workout’s level of impact. Understand how to differentiate between low-impact activities (like yoga), medium-impact activities (like hiking) and high-impact activities (like running). From there, you can decide which kind of sports bra is most appropriate.

Types of sports bras:
  1. Encapsulation: This is essentially what your everyday bra does. Encapsulation bras have two cups to support and encapsulate each breast individually.
  2. Compression: These bras compress the breasts against the chest to limit movement. There are no separate cups.
  3. Encapsulation & Compression: Exactly what it sounds like. A sports bra that offers both encapsulation and compression offers the most support and will be the most effective for high-impact activities.
What to look for:

As we all know, there is so much more to a sports bra than compression or encapsulation. Here are some other details to pay attention to when selecting a sports bra:

  • The support of a sports bra actually comes primarily from the band. It should fit snugly, but not dig in. Follow the golden rule: if you can fit two fingers in between the band and your body, it fits!
  • Shoulder straps also play a key role. As you probably would have guessed, wider straps are better for higher impact activities. This is because wider straps are able to disperse the weight of the breasts more evenly, therefore providing more support and comfort. Tip: Look for sports bras with adjustable straps! No two sets of breasts are the same. Customizability is always preferable.
  • For all my hot yoga girls out there, we all know how annoying it is when your mat becomes a slip n’ slide, and your sports bra shouldn’t be doing that either. Look for wicking fabric, which helps draw moisture away and also regulates your body temperature during hot summer days.

Don’t settle, ladies. Your perfect fit is out there!

Alicia Zhang

Originally from Los Angeles, Alicia lived in Shanghai for 11 years before moving back to the states to attend the University of Miami, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and minors in art and philosophy. Currently residing in New York City, Alicia applies her knowledge of strategic communication and design in her career. She enjoys painting, rugby, exploring, and more often than not, you’ll find her petting someone’s dog.

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