To all the ladies out there, whether you are flexing your well-defined biceps, flowing through your Vinyasa, or running a marathon, there’s one piece of gear that’s crucial to your comfort – the right sports bra. When it comes to buying a new sports bra, women often grab the first option on the rack and head for the exit. In fact, studies suggest that 80% of women wear the wrong bra size. The average breast weighs around 250 to 300 grams and wearing a misfit sports bra can result in a range of problems from discomfort to digging straps, tense shoulders, chafing materials, and even restricted breathing. It also exerts strain on the breasts’ supportive tissue which can ultimately result in sagging. The right sports bra cuts the strain and reduces the breast movement, in turn, reducing these issues by providing vital support. Thus, choosing the right sports bra for your size, shape, and activity is crucial to your workouts/ training.Many women find it difficult to know where to start when it comes to shopping for the right sports bra. Luckily, we have got you covered. From finding the proper fitting to learning the essential industry terms, here is your complete guide to finding the right sports bra for your workout adventures.
How Should Your Sports Bra Fit?
Finding a sports bra that fits right and offers the right level of comfort is a difficult task. Before we move on to the topic of finding the right sports bra, let’s discuss the issue of bra sizing. While there’s a bit of education surrounding bra sizing these days, chances are many of us still fail to find the right-size sports bra regularly. The Correct Bra Size: Believe it or not, your bra size keeps changing throughout your life. Hormone changes, weight changes, and age can all impact the size of your breast. However, you don't have to run to a professional every time. All you need is a tape measure to figure out your bra size before hurrying to the shop.
- Rib Cage Measurement: Simply wrap the tape measure around your ribs below the bottom of your bra. Make sure that the tape is close to your body and encircles the entire circumference of your body.
- Bust Measurement: Now, use the tape measure to measure the fullest part of your breast – the circumference of your back and your breasts.
This entire process will only take you a few minutes. Once you are sure the measure is accurate, use the size chart below to find your overall bra size:
Now that you’re comfortable with your bra size, it’s time you know how your sports bra should feel when you wear it. Unlike other garments, your sports bra should sit a bit closer to your skin and prevent your breasts from moving too much when you work out. A sports bra should fit tighter than a regular bra but shouldn’t restrict breathing.Band – shouldn't move at all. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to pull the band one inch from your chest. It shouldn’t be either too tight or too loose
Cups – should cover your entire breast. Tug at the top and bottom of each cup. The less it gives way, the more motion control it offers. Also, there should be no wrinkles, and your breasts shouldn’t spill out of the bra. There should just be enough space between the cup and your breast for breathing
Strap – a little flexible. If the fit is right, you should be able to slide two fingers between the strap and your shoulder (Two Finger Rule)
Selecting the Right Bra for Various Activities
Apart from finding the right fit, the correct sports bra for you will also depend on the type of activity you plan to do. If you indulge in all sports/ exercises equally, you will have to get a bra for each so you can swap and change. Nevertheless, if you stick to only one type of activity, you can find a sports bra that does it. You should also remember that the impact level you need will also depend on your bust size. If you have a bigger bust, you will have to opt for a high support sports bra as low and medium impact won't offer enough support.Here is what you should know about the different impact levels and when you will need them:
Caring for Your Sports Bras
Scratching your head? If you've got a burning problem revolving around sports bra washing, don't look any further. Everything you should know when washing your sports bra to make it last longer, is given right on the label of your sports bra as washing instructions. Make sure you stick to it and remember to use a mild detergent and avoid softener and bleach.
Time to Buy a New Bra
Like your other gear and attire, your sports bra has a shelf life too! After some time your sports bra will stretch out and not hold you in as it did when you first purchased it. When you need to replace a sports bra will depend on its quality, how often you exercise, and how you care for your bra. Nevertheless, it would be best if you replace your sports bras at least once a year.Some tell-tale signs you should replace your bra:
- Your breasts are moving, and the bra is not as supportive as it was when you first bought it.
- The band or straps become rough against your skin and result in chafing (creating rashes on the skin) that didn’t happen when the bra was new.
- A foul smell persists even after washing.
Now that you have learned how to find the right sports bra, it's time you go ahead and buy a sports bra. Remember to measure yourself before heading to the shop. Being a garment that provides you with ultimate comfort and support, getting the baseline requirement right will ensure that you find the right sports bra. So, wear your new gear and up your training game!
-Swathy, Shilpa, Varsha