Compression or encapsulation? Racerback or wide straps? Pullover of clasp? These are just a few of the options you have when it comes to choosing a sports bra.

There is a lot to consider, and good quality sports bras are not inexpensive, so you want to ensure that the bra you end up choosing is one that is going to offer you comfort and support while you run, practice yoga, or go to the gym.

With so many features to consider, and your own unique body type to take into account, shopping for a sports bra can be a daunting task. How do you choose the bra with the best fit, the most support and the greatest comfort? Sure you can try the bra on in the store, but trying a sports bra on for a few minutes is a lot different to the wear and tear you’re going to put yourself through when you’re wearing the thing. So how do you know which sports bra is right for you? 

Here are some tips.

Tips for Choosing the Best Spots Bra:

Learn the Jargon: The first thing you want to do, before you even head out to the shops to try on a few sports bras, is understand the jargon related to the features of a sports bra.

Compression: This is a shelf bra style which is good for smaller breasted women, or for light to moderate impact activities.

Encapsulation: This type of bra has individual cups and offers more support for women with larger breasts.

Pull-over: This is a sports bra that you put on by pulling it down over your head. It is the most common type of sports bra and the one you are likely the most familiar with.

Back-clasp: This type of bra offers the same support as a pull-over bra, but it allows you to adjust the tightness of the band which is where as much as 70% of the support in a bra comes from. This type of sports bra is recommended for women with larger breasts as it gives you the ability to control how much support you get.

Front-clasp: This type of bra is similar to the back-clasp, but is typically not adjustable and does up on the front rather than the back. This type of sports bra is especially helpful for women with any sort of shoulder or upper body injury.

Racerback: This refers to the type of straps that the sports bra has. The racerback comes up in a sort of ‘t’ between your shoulder blades and holds the bra tighter to your body offering more support. This style is great for women partaking in high impact activities, or larger breasted women.

Wide straps: This bra has straps that come over your shoulders and are great because they distribute weight evenly which is good for your back while you exercise. 

What are You Going to Wear it for: The type of sports bra that you buy should depend upon the activities you are going to carry out in it. For lower impact activities such yoga, or pilates, for example, you can choose a sports bra that is softer, more comfortable, but offers less support.

For higher impact activities, such as running or playing a sport, you will be most comfortable if you choose a sports bra that offers more support. Encapsulation bras with adjustable bands and a racerback will offer greater support so that you will experience less bounce and discomfort during high impact sports or activities.

Consider Your Size: Not all sports bras are created equal. Some offer the right amount of support for smaller-chested women, while other are specifically designed for women with larger breasts. Unfortunately, most of the stylish and frilly sports bras out there don’t offer a lot of support and are ideal for women with an A or B cup, while the sports bras that are all business are typically more effective for women with a C cup or larger.

Perform a Stretch Test: There are three main elements to a sports bra that will affect its comfort and the support it provides: straps, cups and the band and side panels. When trying a sports bra on in a store, perform a stretch test on all three of these elements. Here’s what you’re looking for:

Straps: Hold the sports bra by the top of one strap and pinch the centre of the corresponding cup. Gently pull your hands away from each other. This will give you a good indication of how much support this bra will offer. The more give the bra has, the more your breasts are going to move around while you’re wearing it.

Cups: Repeat a similar stretch test with the cups as you did with the straps, but this time hold the top and bottom of the cup. Again, the stretchier the cup, the more movement the bra will allow.

Band and side panels: repeat the above stretch test with the band by placing your hands on either side of the band and gently tugging. Again, the less give, the more support the bra will offer.

Make Sure it Fits: Now it’s time to try on some sports bras. To ensure a comfortable fit, you want to make sure that the straps are either adjustable, or long enough so that you can pull the bra down enough to fully cover our chest and have it sit comfortably. If the sports bra rides up in the back, it’s a good idea to choose a large bra, or one with adjustable straps.

A cup that fits will sit snugly against your breast. Whether you are choosing a compression bra or encapsulation bra, there should not be any sagging in the fabric of the bra’s cups. The fabric over your breasts should be taut, if it isn’t, you’ll need to go a size smaller. The sports bra should also cover your entire breast. To be effective in offering support, there should not be any spillage. Your breast should not be visible at the top of the bra or the bottom. If it is, you will need to go with a large cup size.

For the band, you can test the fit by inserting one finger under the band at the front of your chest. You should not be able to pull the band more than 3cm from your chest. If you can, you will need to choose an adjustable bra, or one with a smaller band. You will also want to try raising both of your arms in the air to see if he band creeps up. If it does, you will need a bra with a smaller band.

Finding the right sports bra for you doesn’t have to be a challenge. At blestbras.com.au, you’ll find a wide selection of high performance, and great fitting sports bras. We specialise in the hard-to-find, large cup sizes and carry 6-26 in C-L cup sizes. You’ll find the right bra for you at Blest Bras.

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