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How to Choose a Sports Bra: A Beginner Guide

Choosing the right athletic bra can help improve your workout. Wearing different bras depending on the type of activity, varying compression, coverage, and types of straps is essential to ensure comfort during a walkout. With such a wide variety of silhouettes, materials and fits, it can be difficult to find a model you are confident in. Here’s what you need to know to find the perfect silhouette for you.

Why It’s Important to Wear an Athletic Bra

During exercise, your breasts make up and down movements, which puts stress on the Cooper ligaments, the connective tissue that attaches the breast tissue to the pectoral muscles. A good sports bra reduces the intensity and amplitude of these movements, reducing painful sensations and thus eliminating one of the major obstacles women face during exercise.

The right type, shape and thickness of straps will allow you to move more freely and provide significantly more support than everyday bras. The right material will wick away sweat, helping your body to cool down and keep you feeling fresh longer.

Choosing a Sports Bra With the Right Fit

Three indicators that determine what size bra to choose:

  • Breast Girth.
  • Girth under the breasts.
  • Cup size.

How to Measure Breast Girth

Using a soft ribbon, wrap it around your breasts, positioning it under your armpits and horizontally to the floor. The tape should be positioned so that the beginning of the reading on it is in the center of your chest, and so that it wraps around the widest part of it.

How to Measure Under-breast Circumference

Use a soft tape, without pressing it tightly against your body, and wrap it around your chest, just under your breasts, and under your bones if you are wearing a bra.

How to Prevent Skin Irritation From Sports Bras

Have you ever had to give up a dance class or avoid a running workout because your breasts are moving too much and getting skin irritation? We have, too. Irritation is caused by friction between body parts or between clothing and skin, which is exacerbated by moisture. A few tips on how to avoid chafing and skin irritation with athletic bras:

  • Check if you are wearing the right size.
  • Choose a bra with a padded waistband.
  • Check that the waistband fits snugly against your body and is not twisted.
  • Make sure that the bones are located on the rib cage and not on the chest itself.
  • Use a balm against chafing.
  • Wear high-support bras for high impact workouts and less stiff ones for static workouts.

If you’ve been working out in your favorite bra for a long time, and over time it’s worn out and starting to cause skin irritation, it means it’s time to invest in replacing it.

How to Choose the Right Degree of Support

The right sports bra should reduce breast fluctuation, but at the same time not hinder movement. The degree of support you need depends on the intensity of your workout and the size of your chest. The more jumps and active movements, the higher the load. Larger breasts almost always need more support.

Bra With Light Support

For low-impact workouts: walking, yoga, Pilates, weight training.

These bras are suitable for Mind & Body classes where you don’t have to actively run and jump, for AA to C cup sizes.

Medium-supported Bras

For medium-intensity workouts: crossfit, hiking, golf, strength training, cycling.

Medium fit bra offers greater compression and a reduced range of motion. Suitable for medium-intensity activity for nearly all chest sizes.

High Support Bra

For high-impact workouts: skiing, snowboarding, running, mountain biking, kickboxing, high-intensity interval training, horseback riding. Professional athletes, whose names you can find among 22Bet betting options, pick such bras.

These models are suitable for high-intensity, high-impact workouts. Most often these are encapsulated models – with cups that fixate each breast separately – and with a high level of compression that provides a good level of support for all breast sizes.

Types of Sports Bras

Different models provide support in different ways.

Encapsulated Bras

Bra with cups that fix each breast separately, emphasizing its shape and silhouette. The design of such a bra is similar to everyday models. Provide light to medium support. Without compression, best suited for low-impact workouts.

Compression Bras

Tight-fitting bras secure the breasts by pressing the mammary glands against the chest and reducing the amplitude of their movements during exercise. This prevents skin irritation and sprains. These models have no built-in cups or clasps, can be put on and taken off over the head, and provide medium to high levels of support. 

Combination Bras

Most athletic bra models combine compression and cups, supporting each breast separately and limiting its wobble. This design provides a high level of support and is great for all types of activities, especially high-impact workouts.

Types of Straps

Bra straps come in three basic types – with different levels of support and fixation. The wider they are, the greater the level of support, but the main role is still played by the belt, so it’s important to choose the most comfortable model for you.


Tops with adjustable straps, located at the top, as in everyday models. Such a design provides maximum support and raises the bust. Girls with D cup size and larger often prefer these models to silhouettes with wider straps in order to minimize pressure and discomfort.

Crossed Straps

Straps that go across the back and cross in the middle, forming an X shape. This gives less support – there is a waistband for that – but does not constrain movement. In most cases, the straps are adjustable, which will help you find the right fit. These models reduce strain on the shoulders, back and neck, especially during high-impact workouts.

Types of Fasteners

Most bras are either put on/off over the head or fastened with zippers or special clasps.

Over the Head

Fixed belt, fixed or adjustable straps. These bras are taken off and put on over the head, most often they are compression models.

Clips and Hook-and-loop Fasteners

Most bras have clasp clasps or hook-and-loop closures, in most cases they are located on the back, usually with different adjustment options, this is ideal for when the waistband begins to stretch over time.

Zippers in the Front

Bras with zippers in the front provide a good level of support, are easy to put on and the easiest to take off after an intense walkout.

Additional Features

Moisture Wicking Materials

These fabrics absorb sweat, wick it away from the skin during workouts, and dry faster. This helps keep you feeling fresh and allows your body to better regulate its temperature, making your workouts more comfortable. Water-repellent coatings are also used for many bras.

Bra With Cup Inserts

Special padded inserts that don’t shift, provide extra support, lift the breasts and prevent nipples from showing through the bra during the workout. It’s best to choose these models made of moisture-wicking materials.

Minimal Seams

Seamless bras and models with smooth, flat and elastic seams will best protect your skin from irritation.

Whether you’re walking, running or hiking, it’s important to find the right model for you. To extend the life of your athletic bras and help them retain their color and shape, you need to ensure they are properly cared for. Follow the recommendations on the label, wash them in cold water and preferably air-dry them.

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