Updated: Aug 31, 2021
Apparently, when you exercise your boobs move up to 14cm (research by Shock Absorber Bras). They not only move up and down but side to side and back and forth too! A well-fitting sports bra can reduce this movement by half, helping the support structures in your breasts.
Unfortunately, breasts are made of soft tissue, not muscle. What holds them up is the surrounding skin and the Cooper's ligaments, a web of springy coils built to rebound. Jumping about, our genes and gravity eventually get the better of them and any permanent stretching causes the dreaded droop.
Choosing the right sports bra is essential for women with any chest size or shape and for any activity level. It’s important to match the level of sports bra support with the type of activity you’re doing - low, medium or high impact.
What makes up a sports bra?
The support in a sports bra comes from the band and the shoulder straps. The band should be snug around your ribcage but not too tight. A wide band is often more supportive than a narrow one. The shoulder straps should feel secure and not stretch much, dig into your shoulders or slip off when you exercise. Wider straps disperse the weight and are more comfortable.
Underwired or not?
An underwired sports bra supports each breast individually and minimises movement. The wire should lay flat against your rib cage, below the breast tissue, not poking or pinching. The cup should fully contain your breasts. If there are wrinkles in the fabric, the cup size is too large and if bits of your boobs are pushed out of the cup, it’s too small or perhaps the wrong shape cup for you.
Pull-on or back hooks?
Sports bras with a back clasp are easier to get on and off and allow you to adjust the fit. With a new sports bra, use the furthest hook so that you can tighten it as it stretches. Pull-on styles usually cover the back more than clasps, but they lack adjustability and don’t support larger chests as well.
Getting the right fit
When you’re trying on a new sports bra, give it a good road test. It should fit slightly tighter than your normal bra, but you should be able to breathe comfortably. Check that the straps, hooks and seams don’t chafe, especially around the armholes. Test the bra's support by jumping about or running on the spot. If there’s too much movement up and down or side to side, try a different size or style.
After years of trying different makes, I like the Shock Absorber Ultimate Run bra best. Find the right class to test out your well-supported chest at www.gemmapearcefitness.co.uk