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Don’t slip up, PUSH UP - Choosing the right sports bra
Sophie Kalinauckas, Yoga professional
The perfect match
Finding the perfect match for your fitness bra can be quite difficult. Bras can rub, dig and bounce causing pain and discomfort. Investing in the right women’s sports bra is so important as it is necessary to protect yourself as you exercise. You want to be able to hop, skip, run and still have all your bits in place and pain-free. Breasts are made from soft tissue, they are not like muscle, as you run and stride your breasts move in all directions and if unsupported they can bounce up to two or three inches in each direction. I can hear you girls all saying ‘ouch’ to that. This is why it is important for exercising to consider a variety of factors to find the right sports bra fit, on the way to get you fighting fit. You want to choose a sports bra which is supportive, sweat resistant and at the same time flattering.
Sports you need them the most
From low-impact to high-impact physical activity a sports bra is always essential. Regardless, of your sport or size all women should have a sports bra as a part of her fitness wear. In particular, sports such as walking, yoga, skiing, spinning, cycling and aerobics require a sports bra. For activities like running, the best type of running sports bra is the high impact sports and running bra such as what Moving Comfort or Casall offer. Sports bras restrict breast movement, keeping you comfortable and supported. If you are undergoing a sport like walking you can opt for a medium impact sports bra, with adjustable straps. There is always the option of a tank top with a built in support bra like or a sports bra designed for low impact activities such as the Glorious Sports bra from Casall or a medium impact support bra with adjustable straps. You can choose from specially designed bras which provide much more support and comfort than a normal bra. Sports bras reduce tension in your arms and shoulders and allow you breathe without restriction, which can often be problems with regular bras. For yoga and pilates you can opt for the low impact sports bra which still offers better support than your regular every day bra.
Finding your size
The last thing you want is to feel is uncomfortable or unsupported while you work-out. So the first thing you need to consider is your size. As we know, one size does not fit all.
It is guessed that 3 out of 4 women actually wear the wrong sized bra. This is a worrying estimate. This is why it is vital to make sure you don’t settle for the basics but invest in a sports bra which will fit you best. Instead of just pulling any old thing off the rack, consider your size before buying. Compression bras compress your breasts against your chest to reduce movement. These are best for A and B cups such as the Phoebe compression bra, or the Serena bra. Compression/Encapsulations bras such as Urban X over or Jubralee compression bra are more appropriate for C and D cups, they consists of a balance between compression against the chest but also support/encapsulate each boob separately. Encapsulations bras or natural shaping sports bras are best for bigger cups sizes such as DD cups. These bras surround and hold up each boob separately and have very little compression.
I would recommend having a go at measuring yourself first. This way you can have idea of what to look for. The first thing you should measure is your band size; the band is the bottom and foundation of the bra. Using a tape measure pull it around your rib cage underneath your boobs and then add 5cm to the size, rounding it up. You then need to measure your full bust and round this up to the nearest cm. Measure around the fullest part of your breasts, ensuring the tape is straight at the front and back. Next, take your band size away from your bust size to get an idea of your overall cup size. Your band size with your cup size gives you your overall bra size.
There are lots of different styles of sports bras to choose from which offer varying levels of support. Once you have determined your size you can then look into the assortment of designs and supports that are available. Popular choices are the shock absorber sports bra like the Maia from Moving Comfort which can extensively reduce breast movement and the seamless sports bra which may brands such as Onzie and Casall offer which limits irritation with the eradication of a seam. Other options include a Racerback sports bra or a panache sports bra. Perhaps you might be looking for something more sophisticated which can be uniquely designed for you personally. If so, the moving comfort bra style Juno Sports bra is the option for you. These bras specifically fit your body shape and your specific size. They are designed through your own personal requirements. There is also, of course a range in maternity styles with all top brands including Casall and Moving Comfort.
The main support in a sports bra is determined by the cups, straps and band. When trying on bras you should check for a few things to determine how supported you are. Firstly, put your finger under the band, beneath your boobs. The band should not be able to move very far from your body. You can also try lifting your arms over your head and checking the band does not move up. Next, get one of the straps and hold the middle of the corresponding cup, the strap should not be too stretchy. You want your straps to feel controlled and not too tight but strong enough to support you in motion. Finally, pull at the top and bottom of each cup to measure how much give there is. Again, the less movement of the bra the better, as this implies movement control. You must make sure your boobs don’t ever spill out over the bra. It is vital that your sports bra holds your whole boob. Keep your boobs snug as bugs in your sports bra.
Padded/unpadded and Straps
Padded sports bras with padded cups can also help with support as well as give an extra size boost but generally it is to your preference whether to go for padded or unpadded. Push up sports bras also give an extra level of support for all sizes. For women with larger boobs it is better to choose bras with individual cups, with less compression. Girls with A or B cups can go for bras with more compression if their work-outs are not too intense and girls with larger cup sizes should choose bras with less compression. It is particularly useful to go for a bra which comes with adjustable straps such as the Fiona Sports bra.
Straps should be wide and fit snug around your skin. Straps hold the cups of the bra and help to reduce up and down movements. You can opt for criss-cross straps which prevent your bra from digging into your skin. There are also bras with racer-back straps such as the Vixen Racerback bra , with wide straps, pullover and back clasps. You might even want to go for a strapless sports bra or a zip up sports bra.
The right material for your bra can reduce bouncing whilst simultaneously allowing ventilation to keep you cool. Stretchy nylon-blend fabric induces sweat and dries quickly to avoid chafing. Soft polyester and blends are other suitable/fitting materials. Wicking fabrics such as DryLayer or Polymide are your best bet, as they eradicate sweat from your skin and then allow it to evaporate on its own from the material. Generally speaking, your sports bra’s durability should last for up to a year. To keep your bra lasting longer hand wash and hang it out to dry instead of using the washing machine and tumble dryer. However, one top tip if you do use machines is to hook the bra as it goes in.
Things to remember
When trying on sports bras there are few things to bear in mind. The bra should fit tighter than your normal bra but not too tight to restrict your breathing. Make sure to fasten the bra on the middle hook. Straps should not be very stretchy but at the same time not dig into your shoulders. The material of your bra should be smooth across your cup, look out for wrinkles or excess fabric bunches as this might mean your bra is too big for you. And last of all try jogging up and down on the spot to see how it feels.