An ELYSIAN Guide to Sports Bras
An important part of a healthy lifestyle is exercise—but how can you work-out when your bra is uncomfortable, even painful? Whether you enjoy it or it’s a dreaded chore, working-out is hard enough without the misery of poorly performing sports bras. The last thing you want to think about in the middle of your run or barre class is how you wish you had a different bra. The easiest way to avoid this predicament is to find the right athletic bra for your body type and exercise.
First things first: sizing. Most of our sports bra woes can be corrected by choosing the size that best fits us, but research shows that 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra. If you’re not sure of your correct size, department stores or lingerie stores such as Soma offer complimentary sizing. It’s always a good idea to get regularly measured to keep your sizing updated. For sports bra shopping, go with your normal bra size to ensure the garment fits around your ribcage and allows room for all of your breast tissue to fit inside the bra. A quality and properly fitting sports bra won’t chafe your skin. Additionally, if you find that your bra is starting to ride up under your breasts at the band or it has lost its elasticity, that’s a sign you need to go shopping for a new bra.
There are generally two types of sports bras. The encapsulation style separates the breasts with cups (similar to a normal bra) and defines the shape. Compression bras restrict movement by holding the breasts to the chest wall. The compression style is featured in most sports bras.
The more strenuous exercise, the more support you’re going to need to hold your girls in. High intensity workouts like running, dance fitness classes and HIIT workouts will require a high support bra. High support bras – especially encapsulation styles – are also widely recommended for D cups or larger for most activities. However, you want to make sure that your high impact sports bras are still comfortable and allow freedom of movement. Look for bras that can be customized to fit you with wide adjustable straps and hook-and-loop clasps in the back like this SPANX High Impact Sports Bra. This style allows you to choose a bra by your cup size and then further custom fit the bra to your body type. A number of the best sports bras don’t have adjustable straps or clasps. Instead, they rely on compression fabrics such as tricot, spandex, spannette, latex, microfiber, polyester, mesh, nylon. For this type of bra, choose one with a wide bottom band for optimum support.
For low intensity workouts such as yoga or Pilates, you can opt for light support bras that allow you to stretch and breathe easily. This level of support typically features light compression and thin straps in a pullover style. The ALO Lavish Bra is the perfect bra to take you from your morning stretch straight to casual brunch. Another option is a tank top with a built-in shelf-bra. A low support sports bra is recommended for A to B cup sizes.
If you vary your workout between high and low intensity, a good overall solution may be a medium support sports bra. You’ll need to look for a combination of compression and light padding as found in this stunning IVL COLLECTIVE Hydrascuplt Power Bra. Medium intensity workouts include cycling, skiing, and hiking. This style features wider bands and straps. It is also typically found in S-L sizes in the pullover style.
Don’t be afraid to choose what you feel best in. Dare to be bold with a fun design and bright color like this BEACH RIOT Glitter Twist Sports Bra.
By Hope Harvard