©Great Strides 2007 by Shelly Glover
Why Wear A Sports Bra?
Sports Top versus a Regular Bra
Sports bras minimize up and down movement from neck to naval, have sweat-absorbing liners, smooth seams and covered hardware to minimize abrasions. They can feature wide straps to distribute breast weight evenly across the shoulders, neck and upper back. They usually cost between $12-$65.
Finding the Right Bra
Designs include underwire, compression, encapsulation and push up varieties. Some hold heart rate monitors and some hold snacks. They zip, buckle, snap, hook and eye.
3 Factors to Consider
Motion Control Requirements (MCR)The more bounce control the higher the MCR. MCR ratings appear on the bra label and are usually graded as high, medium or low.
Different sports require different degrees of motion control. Leisure walking needs less motion control than vigorous sports. Women running have high MCR needs. Check the list of examples for support suggestions in your running and cross training.
High MCR – running, off-road cycling, horseback riding, basketball, martial arts, dance, soccer and field hockey
Medium MCR – step aerobics, stair climbing, downhill skiing
Low MCR – walking, in-line skating, cycling, weight training
Two methods of motion control are compression and encapsulation. Chest size and personal preference determine your support mode.
Compression models restrict breast motion by holding tissue close to the chest wall – squishing is an apt term -- like wearing an Ace bandage. This works best for cup sizes A & B. These are usually over-the-head styles made with lots of Spandex and can compact breast size by as much as 1.5 inches. They are real chest flatteners.
Encapsulation models often have molded cups to separate breasts giving a more natural profile. They are more chest flatterers than flatteners. Resembling a harness, they give women – a double- breasted profile instead of the uniboob look of compression styles.
Encapsulation models work well for “C” and larger cup sizes. Some women joke these models have "industrial strength" support.
Encapsulating underwire models have wire coated in fabric and sometimes plastic to keep metal from poking runners. Some designs use cording instead of wire and may come in push up models. Trussed-up breasts may or may not be more aerodynamic, but there's nothing wrong with getting trussed up for a run. Especially if it makes you feel fast.
Breast Size - Bra Recommendations
"C" & Larger Cup Options Include:
A B & C Cup Options Include:
compression or encapsulation models
How to fit a Sports Bra
A sports bra isn’t just along for the ride, it has a job to do. It provides necessary coverage, contains all the breast tissue and controls enough motion for comfort. Most bras are constructed to do all these, but they can’t work if the fit isn’t right. Too big in the girth, it rides up in the back and breasts sag in the front. Back fits and it's still sagging? Try a larger cup size. Okay nice tip, but how do you get a good fit without trying on half the merchandise in the store?
Determining band and cup size requires two measurements.
For the girth size place a measuring tape around the chest just under the arms. Stand up straight and breathe normally. If the measurement is an uneven number round up to the next even number. This is the # size of your bra. Resist the temptation to fudge the figure-- keep your ego out of this. These numbers are just between you and your measuring tape.
To determine cup size, measure around your body at the fullest part of the breast. Make sure the tape is straight across the back and not drooping or lax. Subtract the first measurement of under the arms from the bust measurement to determine cup size. If the difference between the rib cage and the bust is
If the Rib Cage Measurement is 31 inches, add one inch to round up to the next even number : 31 inches +1 = 32 inches
If the Bust Measurement is 34 inches, then 34 inches minus 32 inches = 2 inches = B cup
In the Dressing Room
In Between Sizes
If a cup size doesn’t fit well, try going up a width size instead of a cup size. Examples: Instead of 34C to 34 D go to 36 C. If a cup is too big, also try changing the width
If you find everything causes some irritation, buy two different types of running bras and wear them interchangeably, allowing sore spots to heal.