Boob bounce is so not sexy when it comes to the gym. The up-and-down and side-to-side movement as you’re working out can leave your breasts, isntead of your muscles, sore. Too much movement or bouncing, in fact, can cause “the girls” to become droopy over time.
But finding the right size for a sports bra is not always as straightforward. Different activities require different fits, depending on whether the sport is low-impact (pilates, yoga), or high-impact (running, boxing). In fact, when a mistake many women make when buying a sports bra is that they buy what feels comfortable – which usually translates to the bra being too loose. And this doesn’t offer sufficient support, according to a source who worked at Lululemon.
We list the sports bras that are right for you and your lifestyle.
1. How low can you go?
Figure out if you’ll be using the bra most for low, medium or high-impact activities. This will determine which type of support you need. If your answer is “high impact”, then you need higher compression and greater coverage. It’s not as comfy, but it’s necessary for activities like running where your breasts will move around more.
Try: The Energy bra by lululemon, $78 at lululemon
2. I’m with the band
Question: How tight should the band be? Answer: You should be able to fit two fingers (no more, no less) between your body and the band. Bras with narrow bands – like the one featured here — are often seen on yogis are offer less support than those with wide bands. These are okay for weight training and activities like SUP and swimming.
Try:Power Fit Bra by Jiva, $79 at Focus Active
3. Beware of unwanted underboob
The last thing you want is to flash someone mid-burpee, which is what could happen if your bra is too loose. To test this, lift up your arms. If your bra rises with you and your boobs pop out from under the band, then try sizing down or elongating the straps if they’re adjustable – like the ones on this Under Armour bra.
Try: The Vanish High Sports Bra by Under Armour, $89 at Under Armour
4. Does your cup runneth over?
A sports bra is not supposed to be a push-up bra. If your boobs spill over the top or are struggling to stay in the cups, then move up a size. The same goes for when your armpit flesh is being squeezed out at the side. Tip: try going for a seamless bra to prevent armpit spillage.
Try: The Loren Seamless Support Bra by Splits59, $53.42 at Shopbop
5. Lost in space
If your bra feels as loose as a t-shirt or you have gaps in the bottom of your bra that cause the cups to crinkle, then size down. The goal is to minimize the space that allows your boobs to move around. Reign in the girls with this high support bra by H&M.
Try: The High Support Sports Bra by H&M, $34.95 at H&M
6. The strap trap
Straps play a big part in how comfortable your sports bra will be. Straps that are too short can cause shoulder tension and neck aches which will negatively impact performance. When you first try on the bra, make sure you don’t feel a pulling sensation on the shoulders. The straps shouldn’t be too loose or long, either. The less stretchy the front straps are, the less gravity will be able to impact breasts.
Try: The All Me Wanderlust Bra by adidas, $55 at adidas
7. Itty bitty titty committee
Having a smaller chest means more options in terms of which sports bras you can wear. For low-impact activities, you’ll be able to go super light on the support. Go for one that offers coverage, but gives you loads of mobility so you can bend and stretch in all directions. This means a thinner band and criss-cross straps at the back that hold boobs back, even when you’re upside down.
Try: Women’s Armour® Seamless Streaky Heather by Under Armour, $59 at Under Armour
8. Go big or go home
A bigger bust requires maximum support, regardless of what kind of workout you’re doing. This translates into needing a bra with less stretch to prevent bouncing, wide shoulder straps to hold the weight, and a bra with front closures rather than the typical pullover style. If possible, look for encapsulated sports bras that separate your breasts to prevent chafing and add support.