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The best sports bra for your breasts

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Get the right sports bra fit

If you’re the type of woman who thinks wearing two bras will "make do," then think again! No matter what size you are, there are supportive sports bras out there for you. Here are tips from Fiona Lipshaw of online personal bra shop Brayola.com to find the right sports bra for your breasts.
Woman running in sports bra

Understanding why you need a sports bra

First of all, it feels better to have support for your breasts when exercising,- no matter what your breast size. Another reason wearing a sports bra is important is because it will keep your breasts looking their best. "When you are constantly moving, during any form of exercise, your breast ligaments can slowly break down, causing your breasts to sag over time," explains Lipshaw. "If you wear the correct sports bra, you can help minimize the sagging."

Getting the size right

With all the different types of sports bras available on the market, finding the right sports bra can seem daunting to impossible, especially if you have large breasts. "Women with larger breasts get scared that they are not going to get enough support, so they go down a few sizes," says Lipshaw. If you fall into this category, ask yourself: Is this bra really comfortable? Chances are, you may feel like your breasts are supported but the rest of your upper body is suffering. "If your sports bra is the wrong size, you end up with problems, like chafing, back and shoulder pain, and sore breasts," she adds. It is important to remember that every brand uses slightly different measurements, so you may be one size in one brand and a completely different size in another. The key is finding the right size and the right style.

Choosing the right sports bra style

Sports bras, like other bras, come in many styles. It’s up to you (and your breasts) to know which one is going to provide the most support for your shape. Lipshaw recommends the following sports bras based on need and size.

 Nike High Impact Shape Wire Free Sports Bra

Compression for A-B cup

"The best type of bra for the smaller breasts is one that has a high compression -- one that flattens your breasts to the chest and that you typically pull over your head," Lipshaw explains. "Being smaller-chested, you can find compression sports bras that also come with cups and padding to give a little extra boost and shape."

Recommendation: Nike High Impact Shape Wire-Free Sports Bra
LuLu Lemon Ta Ta Tamer ii

Encapsulation for C-DD cup

If you wear a cup size C to DD, consider wearing an encapsulation sports bra, which eliminates bounce, says Lipshaw. "Encapsulation sports bras separate each breast and puts each -- and supports each -- in individual cups," she adds.

Recommendation: Lululemon Ta Ta Tamer ii
Enell Sports Bra

Compression & encapsulation for larger than DDD cup

"If you have anything bigger than DDD, then you should find a sports bra that offers compression and encapsulation to give you extra support," Lipshaw recommends. "Your breasts get separated and encapsulated while being compressed." She also suggests bras that have thick straps so they help distribute the weight of the breasts to reduce strain and shoulder fatigue.

Recommendation: Enell Sports Bra

Take care of your sports bra

Sports bras aren't cheap and they will not offer optimum support for your breasts during exercise if they are worn out. To extend the life of your sports bra, Lipshaw recommends taking extra care to preserve them. "The majority of sports bras are made up of elastic or spandex; these materials actually break down in heat," she explains. "So hand wash them in warm water and detergent and you will see your sports bra lasting a lot longer."

Wear and replacement

Still wearing that same sports bra you got a few years ago? If you're nodding your head, it's time to go sports bra shopping. "You should look at replacing your sports bra at least every six to nine months, depending on how often you wear it," says Lipshaw. "Also, keep in mind that your breasts change size, especially if you lose weight. So as soon as your bra doesn’t feel supportive, it’s time to change."

More health and fitness tips

Back exercises to support your breasts
5 Ways to spice up your workout
Fitness rules you should break

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