A subject which for some reason has a taboo in general, I’m not sure whether it’s due to societal ideals or we just embarassed! But in the sport/running world sports bras look super pretty as well as being functionally essential for all us female runners. Being in the wrong sports bra can not only make us run slower and less efficiently, but can also irreversibly damage the skin surrounding our breast tissue! I have been fortunate enough to go on a fair few Sports Bra fitting and education training courses with multiple brands; below I’m simply going to give key essentials to look for when choosing a running bra.
– First some anatomy breasts are made up of three main things which affect bra choice: fatty tissue, mammory glands and the coppers ligaments.
– Some women can have as much as 70% fatty tissue in their breasts! Thats why when some women lose weight, their breast disappear. On the other hand, some women have 70% glands based breast and so weight fluctuation has little effect on breast size!
– Coppers ligaments act to maintain breast structure and are simply connective tissue. Once these ligaments have been stretched through the skin of the breast over 60% they do not retained their elasticity. Therefore, if you’re in a bra not supporting excess movement for your specific activity, you may permanently damage these ligaments. This may cause early sagging of the breast
– Contrary to popular belief, strengthening the pectoral muscle will not improve breast size and your pecs sit under breast tissue. So off anything could make the breast tissue drop slightly more!
– By rule of thumb, the bigger the breast size the higher the support. Anyone above a D/E cup should technically always wear at least a medium support bra no matter the activity.
– There are three main types of bra: compression, encapsulation and combination. Compression is usually the least supportive and are what we know as crop tops/yoga bras (racer back style). Encapsulation separate each breast and control. Combination is a mix of both. I usually would say fit is down to personal preference but if activity is high intensity and your cup size is a C or above, you must look for a bra medium to high support.
– Fact: the stronger and less elastic the band of the bra the more supportive it is. The more stretchy and flexible the materials, the least support the bra has.
– How should they fit? You want to be able to successfully, jump, twist, push and pull without feeling excess movement. You should not be spelling out the top of the bra neither should you have unnecessary bounce when jumping. In terms of the band you want nothing more than an inch of give through the band that should sit snug to the chest. Overall? Feel fully supported.
– Sports bras should be changed as regularly as shoes and ideally hand washed! The material over time will deplete in strength. So even your old sports bras need to be downgraded for less intense activities if you plan on keeping them (like I alwayysss do 😁)
– Lastlyyyyy, do not be afraid to change sizes! All bras fit differently and even though you may be a 32C in one you may be a 34B in another! (Technically these two sides have the same up size but different back size) if you are ever unsure research the bra matrix for help on size curves.
Ultimately, a bra is there to support and preserve your breast healthy as well as your efficiency while performing physical activity. Sadly not all look pretty but they are there to serve a purpose. Below I have left many links to pages who, in my opinion, I feel offer the best sports bra ranges and advice:
Moving Comfort: http://www.brooksrunning.com/en_gb/womens-apparel-movingcomfort/
Victoria’s Secret: http://www.victoriassecret.com/vs-sport
Hope this helps 🙂