You all wear a sports bra when you’re exercising, don’t you? Of course you do, because you know that breast movement up and down and side to side during exercise can cause breast pain as well as pain in the back, shoulders and neck. And worse, it could permanently damage the ligaments that help your breasts stay in shape and lead to sagging. And no one wants that.
Even small busted women need to wear a sports bra, and choosing the right one is not just about getting the fit right, although it goes without saying that this is important. It also depends on what activity you will be doing.
Simply put, some sports need more support, and for high impact activities like running, netball or aerobics, it’s best to opt for the highest level of support available. For low impact activities such as yoga, you could try a crop top style.
If you take part in a variety of sports and can’t afford a different bra for each – and let’s face it, who can? – make sure you are properly protected for the highest impact activity or choose a bra that has been designed with different disciplines in mind. Although if you are a frequent exerciser, it’s advisable to have at least two bras to ensure they don’t wear out too quickly.
Do you want wirefree or underwired? This will probably come down to personal preference, and you won’t know until you try a few styles. Compression or encapsulated? Smaller busted women may prefer compression bras which compress the breasts against the chest to stop them bouncing, while fuller busted women should find bras that encapsulate each breast more comfortable.
And then there’s fit. Quite apart from providing much needed support, a sports bra needs to be comfortable. If it’s too tight or too loose it isn’t doing it’s job and you won’t enjoy your workout.
Certain sports such as running, aerobics and martial arts demand high levels of impact support but choosing between Extreme and High can sometimes be down to cup size as much as activity and varying classifications methods among brands. If you are horse riding, mountain bike riding, playing tennis or hockey, you’ll want one of the two. We’ve included some examples below.
From left to right: the Triumph Triaction Extreme sports bra, £24, Anita Active’s High Level Sports Bra, £49, and Shock Absorber’s Ultimate Run Bra, £24.99
From left to right: Freya Active Soft Cup Sports Bra, £29, Panache Sports Bra, £35, and the Royce Impact Free Sports Bra, £30
You’ll want a medium impact sports bra for activities such as dancing, cycling, rowing and skiing, although if you are above an F cup you might want to go high.
From left to right, Adidas Supernova Sports Bra, £28, Shock Absorber Plunge Sports Bra, £23.99, and Sweaty Betty Stamina Sports Bra, £33.
You will need a low impact sports bra for activities such as yoga, pilates and walking, and smaller busted ladies might be able to get away with low impact when road cycling, but above a B cup and you’re better off upping your impact level.
From left to right: Berlei’s Move X Crop Top, £32, Purelime’s Seamless Crop Top, £20, and Nike’s Adapt Indy Short Top, £25.
While many of the above sports bras have wide size ranges, there are some that are particularly suited to the curvier girl. Elomi is specifically designed for the fuller figure, while the front-fastening Enell is a brand that consistently receives rave reviews from bigger busted and plus size women.
Enell, £45, comes in sizes 00-8, equivalent to sizes 32C to 52DD, while Elomi’s Energiser Sports Bra, £31, goes up to a 46 back and a J cup in some back sizes.
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