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How to Find the Perfect Sports Bra

An ill-fitted sports bra can make exercise difficult, uncomfortable, or even painful. To make exercise the enjoyable (perhaps!) and beneficial activity that it is meant to be, it is important to find a sports bra that fits well. Here are some valuable tips on how to find the perfect sports bra to give you the support that you need for working out and athletic activities.

Sports Bra

Tip 1: Learn What the Perfect Sports Bra Is

The perfect sports bra will fit you precisely and give you support, comfort, and free range of motion for your arms and body while limiting the movement of your breasts. It will not let your breasts bounce or sag but will keep them supported in a comfortable position during your physical activities.

Tip 2: Get Sized By a Professional

As research has shown that most women do not know their correct bra size, you should begin by getting yourself professionally measured in person. A professional can advise you on specific styles, sizing, and other things to help you find the perfect sports bra for your needs. A well-fitted sports bra is especially important for women with large breasts, as their breasts are more likely to bounce and sag while exercising.

There is a caveat to this, however. It has been my experience over the years that far too many so-called professional bra fitters are such in name only – their level of expertise is questionable, and the recommendations they make are far off the mark and not appropriate.

Tip 3: Look Only at Appropriately Sized Sports Bras

Some women have a larger bust size than is commonly found in department stores and so they settle for a smaller bra size than what they actually need. Others will buy a bra that is labeled simply as “medium” or “large,” both of which are poor representations of accurate breast sizes. Look only at appropriately sized bras when shopping. This may require you to look online or go to specialty stores.

Tip 4: Remember That You Get What You Pay for

It is well worth it to spend a little more money for a high-quality sports bra. Sports bras must support the soft breast tissue through high-motion activities, and many are not up to the task. Bras that are designed to be hardier and sturdier for adequate support may be pricey, but they are made to last.

Tip 5: Determine Your Style and Needs

Sports bras come in a variety of styles to accommodate different preferences, body types, and athletic needs. Women who have smaller cup sizes or engage in light or moderate workouts may be fine with a shelf bra, but women who have larger breasts or prefer higher-impact workouts should look for sports bras with individual cups.

Racerback straps pull the bra closer to the body for more support but can feel overly constricting if you have a larger chest. Wide shoulder straps help provide greater support for larger cup sizes. Pullover sports bras allow for free movement but are once again lacking in the support needed for high-impact activities or larger chests. A sports bra with a back clasp allows you to tighten the band for the perfect support during your activity.

Your activity preferences and the size of your breasts will largely determine the kind of sports bra that will be perfect for you.

Tip 6: Check the Band, Straps, and Cups

Before purchasing, test out the sports bra that you are considering in the dressing room. To the extent that you can, jog in place, stretch, do a few yoga moves or move as though you are playing basketball or tennis. The perfect sports bra will prove itself during this test.

Additionally, check the band, straps, and cups. Most of the support in a sports bra comes from the band. If you can slide your finger under the band right between your breasts and pull it more than an inch from your chest wall, it is too big. The band is also too big if it slides when you move your arms up and down.

To test the straps, grasp the center of the right cup and the top of the right strap, then pull. Less stretchy straps will provide greater motion control. To check the cups, tug the cups on all sizes before putting the bra on to ensure that there is minimal give. While wearing the bra, be sure each cup holds the whole breast with no spilling over and no gaps.

Tip 7: Assess Your Figure

Finally, assess your figure. Some dissatisfaction with bra shopping stems from dissatisfaction with your current bust size. If your breasts are small and you feel like every bra makes you look flat, you may want to consider breast augmentation. If your breasts are overly large and you feel like sports bra shopping and exercise are both painful and difficult, you may want to consider breast reduction. If you are interested in either of these procedures, Dr. Turkeltaub can help you determine what will be best for your needs.

For more information, schedule your personal consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Steven H. Turkeltaub. Call (480) 451–3000 or fill out our online contact form to book your appointment today.