Why is it that even the most expensive sports bras out there tend to come with heaps of downfalls? For ladies with a larger cup size, the standard skinny-strapped, flimsy fabric workout bra just won't do. These undergarment atrocities not only leave your breasts in pain and discomfort, but they also lead to long-term damage like stretch marks and sagging. On the other hand, a good-quality, supportive sports bra can help keep everything in great shape while making you feel confident and empowered so you slay every single workout of the day.
If you struggle with the dreaded below-par sports bra, follow our tips on how to buy a sports bra that fits, flatters and emboldens so you feel incredible when you hit the gym.
Know Your Type and Choose Wisely-There are two primary types of sports bras that you need to consider before settling on a style.
- Compression-Compression sports bras are made from special fabric that minimizes the breasts and compresses them down. They're made from a single piece of uniform fabric and do not have defined cups that separate the breasts (in other words, they create a "uniboob"). Compression sports bras are recommended for women with a smaller cup size or those who tend to do mainly low-impact activities.
- Contour/Encapsulation-On the other hand, encapsulated sports bras have built-in, contoured cups that provide additional support and definition for women with larger cup sizes. The built-in cups help keep the breasts from moving around excessively while working out, which can help prevent pain and discomfort during medium- and high-impact exercise.
Pay Close Attention to Straps-Straps are everything in sports bras. They're responsible for keeping your breasts in place while you're sweating, and they're almost exclusively responsible for how snug or loose your bra feels throughout your workout.
- Go adjustable. If you struggle with the dreaded-and distracting!-strap slip or strap pain, make sure to choose a sports bra with adjustable straps and a hook-and-loop closure in the back.
- Go for freedom. A bra with a racerback or crisscross straps can help you boost your athletic performance because it won't restrict your range of motion. Avoid any bras that rise too high near the armpit, as this can cause chafing, pain and irritation that halts your entire workout.
- Go for thick and sturdy. Ladies with larger cup sizes should always avoid anything involving skinny straps. For the best level of support possible, choose a bra with wide, soft and adjustable straps.
- Pick a Style with an Underband-On a sports bra, the underband is the thick, elastic band beneath the cups that helps keep the bra in place. In general, a stronger and thicker underbust will equal a more sturdy, stationary fit. If you have a latex allergy or have ever noticed itching or irritation near the elastic on your bra, socks or leggings, be sure to check the fabric content of your sports bra before buying and don't choose a style that contains potentially itchy latex.
- Wear a Posture Correcting Sports Bra-Who knew that you could actually improve your posture while you work out? And the benefits of this are multifaceted, since better posture may actually mean improved athletic performance when lifting, running or doing yoga! Pick a posture corrector bra with built-in posture correcting bands so you can straighten the back and shoulders without even noticing it at the gym and throughout the day.