This is the 2nd in the 2 part series on Sports bras.
Read Part 1 here: All About the Lift: Sports Bras Part 1
Most women according Sports magazines and fitness exprets ignore their upper body, focusing more on glutes, abs and legs!
This this theory might also include the amount of time and effort we spend on selecting a good Sports Bra, that is also essentially an upper body companion.
Now when I started becoming a frequent gym goer, like most Indian women, I opted for the Jockey sports bras. These simple no frills and pocket friendly bras came in 2-3 colors and just worked fine. Until one day I looked up into the mirror during a high intensity aerobic session and wasn’t happy with what I saw.
This began research on all kinds of sports bras and the hunt for the perfect one! Here is a low down filled with some of that gyan.
Which Kind of Bra?
Compression or encapsulation?
Compression: Compression bras are old standbys that press the breasts to the body without separation, leading to the dreaded uni-boob shape. These work for smaller cup sizes (A and B) or for low- to moderate-impact workouts.
Encapsulation: These on the other hand, provide cups for each breast, just like your everyday bra. Sports bras with individual cups are better for larger-breasted women than compression-style ones.
Although compression is a classic, encapsulation provides the best support.
Racerback or wide straps?
Racerback: Because they cinch in back, the straps anchor the bra closer to the body, providing more support.
Wide straps: Shoulder straps help distribute weight better than T-backs (key for bigger cups) and are more likely to be adjustable and padded.
Pullover or back clasp?
Pullover: Tank styles typically cover the back more than clasps, but those with all over stretch lack the rigid front straps, adjust-ability, and support to anchor large chests.
Back clasp: Clasps let you tighten the band, from which 70 percent of the bra’s support comes. This is especially vital for larger breasts, which place more demand on the band.
Each of these styles may be perfect for someone but not for someone else. Although the choice depends on individual preferences, here are some things to look out for when choosing a sports bra.
How to Choose the Perfect Sports Bra:
Looking beyond getting the right bra size, here are few tips on finding one that fits well and offers good support.
1. Watch out for free-birds! If ‘the girls’ try to escape the bottom of the bra when you raise your arms, try going down to a smaller band size to snug things up and keep them properly corralled (Where was she when I needed her?).
2. Look out the back! Turn sideways and check the back of the rib band—if it’s pulling up and riding higher than the front of the bra, the band might be too large or the straps too short. Try a smaller band size to keep things anchored and release the straps a little (if they’re adjustable).
3. Cleavage! Look straight down—the center front of an encapsulation or underwire style should sit flat on your chest. If it doesn’t, try going up one cup size.
4. If the cup that runneth over. If your bounty spills over at the sides or top of the bra (double-bubble!),
you’re definitely going to need a bigger cup size.
5. Cup wrinkles are bad! Folds, wrinkles, or other looseness in the cup are your clue to go down a cup size. You’ll get more support and prevent chafing that can happen when your cup is too loose.
Here is a cool looking post of different women and their experience with sports bras they tested.
Don’t ignore your upper body, work out those chest and shoulder muscles! Here are some of my favorite upper body exercises!