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Sports Bra Fitting Guide

Finding the right sports bra can be challenging in bigger cup sizes. It’s important to find the most suitable one for your body shape. Some bra manufacturers have endless marketing dollars to convey how effective their sports bras are, but in our experience, just like any bra, a sports bra can work very differently with different bodies…you be the judge.

Why do I need to wear a sports bra?

Wearing a sports bra is beneficial, regardless of what age you are. As women age, their breast shape, as well as their breast size change. Posture can sometimes become an issue, too. Therefore, it is crucial to be re-fitted when you are going to purchase a sports bra.

Sports bras can be extremely helpful in reducing breast bouncing while running or doing other types of active sports. Bouncing during jogging, for example, can actually damage the ligaments inside the breasts. Slight movement of breasts is helpful, because it aids the lymph flow. There is no muscle in the breast and if your breasts are not supported with a good sports bra during exercise they will bounce, stretching the tendons, causing breast sag. This is irreversible.

Even for a low-impact activity such as walking or yoga, it is important that you are supported, and also comfortable to give you the ability to move freely.

It’s important to find the most suitable sports bra for your body shape. There is an assortment of wired, wirefree, encapsulation and compression sports bras, often with enticing features such as crossbacks and ipod holders, however nothing is more important than the actual comfort and support.

What to expect from a Sports Bra?

A good sports bra will minimise the bounce, however you can't expect it to completely stop the bounce. To do this, your sports bra would need to be so tight it completely compresses your bust against your chest wall, which would result in restricted breathing. However you should feel comfortable and supported. As with many products you get what you pay for; however if you are participating in low-impact activities, you can achieve a good result for lower cost as the bra does not need to be as structured. If you are a D cup or above and participate in high impact activities, then you will benefit from wearing a high quality, well-structured sports bra.

Now for the Nitty Gritty.....Breast sag

While sports bras do give breasts support, they do not ultimately prevent breasts from sagging. Gravity will eventually take its effect, we change because of the proportion of fat and tissue in our breasts, and no bra changes that. Sports bras provide support for the breasts while we are wearing them and can prevent further sagging (yay!)

It helps when women accept how normal it is to change shape because when we get so brainwashed by the media images of young perky breasts, we no longer know what is normal. In reality it is perfectly NORMAL for adult breasts to be hanging in a lower, relaxed position.

Can the right sports bra prevent pain?

We all know the sheer relief of taking off a bra that is too tight, or whose straps are digging into shoulders, but the biggest pain relief can come from changing poor posture. A woman who is overly conscious of her bust size or shape will often hunch to make the bust less obvious, this can result in shoulder tendonitis, aching neck and headache. Get the breasts up where they belong, roll your shoulders back and down, hold your head high and you'll have less pain.

Wearing the right sports bra can also prevent chafing and indents.

Which Sports Bra Style is best for me?

We have chosen not to offer a low-impact sports bra simply because if you have a larger bust, you need all the support you can get. Brava offers a great collection of sports bras for all high impact sports.

Encapsulation - This sports bra design is usually a full coverage bra and separates your bust. It's usually more comfortable as each breast is encapsulated inside it's own cup rather than being compressed. Studies have shown that an encapsulation sports bra is more suited to larger-breasted women because they are more comfortable and are better at reducing breast movement.

Compression - This sports bra style keeps breast motion to a minimum by pressing the breasts firmly to the chest. Many women prefer the compression sports bra as it minimizes their projection.

When to Buy a New Sports Bra?

If you wear your sports bra 3-4 times per week you will need to replace it within 6-12 months. Your sports bra needs to be washed after each wear as sweat, body heat and body oils break down the elasticity. You need to replace your sports bra when you notice that your breasts start having a wider range of motion or it has a noticeable looser fit.

How to get the right fit?

Our sports bra fitting guide and video is on its way but in the meantime the below tips from Moving Comfort will help you to find your correct sports bra size as if we were there with you.

Too Small - Scoop your breasts in the cups so they are centred and level. They should be completely held within the cups. Breast tissue that comes out the top or side indicates the cup is too small.

Too Big - The fabric in the cups should be smooth. Wrinkles or puckers indicate the cup is too big and you will need to go down one cup.

Too loose - The band should fit more snug than a standard bra and lay horizontal across your back without riding up. If it rides up, the band may be too loose. To check band fit, make sure you can comfortably take a deep breath with the bra fastened on the loosest adjustment.

You may need a larger cup - The underwire should sit on your ribcage below the breast tissue, it shouldn’t poke or pinch. The centre panel should lay flat against your breastbone. If it doesn’t, you may need a larger cup.

Brava's top tips

  • With each sports bra you try do the bounce test by jumping up and down, swing your arms and move around. If a bra pokes, constricts your breathing, or bulges, it’s not right for you.
  • It should fit on the first hook; as it loses elasticity over time, you'll need room to tighten it.
  • Although a sports bra alone should provide enough support, research shows that a crop top over the top can add another 15% more support.
  • The most supportive sports bras are usually full in the cup and not pretty, but in the long term they will reduce breast sag. With a sports bra choose support, not the look.
  • Don't buy it if it's uncomfortable, because the comfort level will remain the same when you get home.

See our bra fitter blog for all sports bra reviews and articles here:

We have equal success with the Freya Active sports bras. Freya are one of our best-selling sports bras. Don't be afraid to try a wire-free sports bra, as these are engineered to provide you with ultimate support without underwires. It really just depends on how you feel when you try each style on and do the 'bounce test'.

The Shock Absorber Active D+ Classic Sports Bra offers a similar level of support to the wirefree Freya Active sports bra. The Active Multi Crop is more suited to size 10-14 backs, with a compression style support. Women tend to like the Active Multi Crop bra because it provides a rounded shape and a great sporty look.

Oprah made this sports bra famous on her marathon. We have great success with Enell on most women, but if you have small shoulders this may not be for you as the shoulder straps do not adjust.

A great sports bra for the fuller figure. The Elomi Energize sports bra goes to a J cup and we offer it to a 22 back. It has very good coverage and support for all activities.

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You can view all of our Brava Bra Fitting Guides HereThanks for coming by Brava Lingerie!

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