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How to Buy a Sports Bra

by Katie Duzan

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Sports bras

Things You Need:

  • Measuring tape

Sports bras are a very important piece of sportswear. Without a good sports bra, women can experience pain and embarrassment from the movement of their breasts during workouts. Bouncing breasts cause pain and result in a loss of proper form from trying to reduce the breast movement during the workout. When buying a sports bra, there are several things to keep in mind. The best sports bra ensures a more comfortable and positive workout experience.

Buying a Sports Bra:

  1. Analyze the impact. Activities fall into one of three categories: low impact, medium impact or high impact. Examples of low-impact activities include yoga, walking, road biking and weight training. Medium-impact activities are skiing and hiking. Running, aerobics and mountain biking are examples of high-impact activities. Because low-impact activities cause less breast movement, the bras made for these activities provide less support than those made for medium-impact activities. Exercise bras made specifically for high-impact activities provide the most support.

  2. Measure for size. Using a measuring tape, measure around the ribcage directly under the breasts. Pull it so it hugs the ribcage but is not uncomfortable. Add three inches to this number to get the band size. Next, take the measuring tape and measure loosely around the fullest part of the breast to find the bust size, keeping the tape straight across your back. Subtract the bust measurement from the band measurement to find the cup size. Use these numbers to find the correct sports bra size. Bra fitting should be done each time you buy a new athletic bra because your weight and bust size may change over time.

  3. Decide on the best type. Compression bras hold breasts against the chest wall to prevent movement and work best for A cups and B cups. For C and D cups, combined compression and encapsulation bras, which surround the breast and stop movement in any direction, work best. Bras with solely encapsulation cups work for D cups and larger sizes. Full-figure sports bras are also more comfortable for women with larger breasts.

  4. Consider features. Some sports bras are designed for a particular activity, such as running sports bras and jogging bras, so select these for the best support during those exercises. A padded sports bra is recommended for joggers to prevent the nipples from chafing. Wide bands at the bottom of the bra provide more support, while underwire sports bras offer extra support and shaping. A racerback sports bra is more supportive, while a scoop-back bra works well for medium-impact activities. Wider straps distribute breast weight better, unlike thin straps that may dig in to your shoulders if you have larger breasts. Synthetic wicking fabrics don't retain sweat and wetness as much as cotton sports bras.

  5. Look at fashion. After finding the perfect type of sports bra, choose from the colors available for this sportswear. Black sports bras are popular, but sports bras are available in most colors. If you plan to wear the bra without a shirt, opaque colors are best.

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