A sports bra is a crucial part of your workout gear, and having a good one is as important as the workout itself. You want to ensure you have enough support and that you’re well-covered and comfortable. This will allow you to concentrate and give your all in the workout session. However, workouts differ, with some being low and others high in intensity.
Your high-intensity workouts, like High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), running, and jumping, require a high support bra. Being more vigorous, they increase breast bounce and movement. Some studies have shown that these breast movements can go up to eight inches. (1)
With a high support bra, you get better support around your breast, limiting movement, possible breast pain, and lesser distractions. But how do you choose a sports bra to ensure enough comfort and proper support during high-intensity workouts? Here is a simple guide for you to follow. (2)
- Be familiar with the options
When selecting one for your high-intensity workout, there are three main types of sports bras you should be aware of. These are encapsulation, compression, and a combination of the two types. With encapsulation bras, you have individual cups that mold around each breast separately. They’re a good option if you’re looking for a plus size sports bra.
Encapsulation bras hold bigger breasts better, D size and above, and are suitable for high-intensity workouts. The compression bras press your breasts against the chest to keep them in place and restrict movement. They offer low to medium support, making them ideal for low-intensity workouts. But they also work best for individuals with a smaller bust —between Cup A and C. (3)
Finally, the combination of the two provides the most support for high-intensity workouts and fits different breast sizes.
- Find your perfect fit
Each body is different, so you should go for a sports bra that fits your body type and size. Here are the features you should look out for to find your perfect fit.
- Straps: You don’t want to stop and adjust your straps just when the workout is at its peak. Ensure that your straps feel secure but not too tight to dig deep into your shoulders and skin. Go for wider straps as they offer more support. Sports bras with adjustable straps allow you to customize your fit better.
- Band: This is the part of the sports bra running around your rib cage and is the primary support for your sports bra. Ensure it fits comfortably and snugly. The band shouldn’t move when you lift your hands, and it shouldn’t be too tight either such that it restricts your breathing.
- Cups: Your bra cup should cover your whole breasts with no spillage on the sides or front. Take the next size if you notice a sports bra doesn’t fully cover your breast.
- Underwire: If a sports bra has an underwire, ensure it lies flat against your rib cage without hurting your skin.
- Fabric: Pick a sports bra fabric that will absorb moisture and keep you comfortable throughout your workout. Keep in mind that you’re likely to be breaking a sweat in a high-intensity workout. However, the fabric needs to be sturdy enough for maximum support. Ensure you pick a fabric with the right amount of stretch and compression. It should be easy to clean and take care of.
- Pick your style
Finding the perfect type and fit when choosing a sports bra is crucial, but so are your style and personal preferences. It shouldn’t be all about functionality that you forget to pick something that fits your personality and style. Choose something that you look and feel great in as well. Fortunately, sports bras come in diverse colors, designs, and materials.
Your preference could be the crisscross straps that cross your back and offer excellent support or race back style. You may be inclined to bright colors or dull ones, light or heavy padding. You should be free to choose the style you want.
- Test the fit
While you can source your sports bras online if you have the correct measurements and know exactly what you’re looking for, it’s better to choose one in person. This way, you can try it on and feel how it fits. Test it by moving around, lifting your hands above your head, swinging your arms, or jumping.
Testing is the only way to know where the skin pinches and when there’s spillage. You need to feel how compact and comfortably the bra fits. If there’s any discomfort or you feel like it doesn’t offer the kind of support you need for a high-intensity workout, choose another one.
A good sports bra for high-intensity workouts should fit well, feel comfortable, and offer the most support to restrict breast movement and possible consequences of poor breast support during work out such as pain. However, it should also match your style and personality.
- “Predictors of three-dimensional breast kinematics during bare-breasted running”, Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22705551/
- “How to Choose a Sports Bra”, Source: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/sports-bras
- “Here’s How to Choose the Perfect Sports Bra”, Source: https://www.nike.com/jp/en/a/how-to-choose-sports-bra
- “3 Signs You’re Wearing The Wrong Sports Bra & How To Pick The Right One”, Source: https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/best-sports-bra-fit-comfort