Women’s shapes and sizes vary considerably, but every single one should be wearing a sports bra for exercise. Even the smallest chests require proper support whether you’re working out on the yoga mat or trampolining.
As many studies reveal, if you’re not wearing a decent, well-fitted sports bra, then your boobs, smaller or larger, will most certainly move up and down as well as side to side. And in the long-term this can lead to irreversible damage.
Put more technically, during high-impact exercise, unsupported chests can bounce by as much as 21cm. This causes the breasts’ main support system, the Cooper’s ligaments, to be put under stress, which will lead to them being stretched. Once these ligaments are stretched they never recover and that causes the chest to sag.
Medics at the University of Portsmouth also found that breasts move as much during slow jogging as during sprinting.
So while keeping fit is good for your health, exercising without a good sports bra is bad for your breasts.
Review of three sports bras for different sized ladies
Moving Comfort Juno Sports bra
Jo, a runner, tested the Moving Comfort Juno Sports Bra. She chose this because “it has a racer back for extra security”.
The technical stuff on the Moving Comfort Juno Sports Bra says that it gives “great support and comfort for cup sizes C-DD by encapsulating and compressing your bust to reduce bounce and discomfort during exercise”
- The racerback straps are mesh lined for breathability
- The front straps have hidden adjusters to achieve a perfect fit
- The lined cups wick sweat and eliminate odour to keep you dry and fresh during high impact sports.
Jo put the bra through its paces over many miles of running. She was training for a marathon and an ironman after all! She says: “Being fairly gifted in the breasts department I prefer a racerback bra for running, because it offers extra security. The bra I normally run in has two two-eyed fasteners at the back, one at the chest height and one on the racerback.
“The Moving Comfort bra is a racerback but only fastens at the chest with a three-eye fastener. So, I thought it would be a bit of a struggle to get on but actually it was fine and I like the three-eye fastener instead of two-eye.
“When on, the bra is actually quite attractive. If you are partial to a bit of bare-stomached running it would probably look totally fine without a top over it but this is not my bag!
“When running it felt nice and secure, as well as comfortable and supportive but not in a breathing-obstructed kind of way! There was still a little movement but not really ‘bounce’ so I was very happy with what the bra offered for sports.
“The true test was after the bra removal. My normal bra rubs the front of my chest and the chest clip at the back also rubs. With the Moving Comfort there was no chaffage in evidence and even the stealth chaffage that is so often revealed when you get in the shower was non-existent!
“Overall I was very pleased with the bra and would consider this brand again.”
Pure Lime Compression Bra
Ellen was looking for a sports bra that would be comfortable for yoga – and keep her assets in place in all poses! While you might imagine that there is little requirement for “keeping things in placed” while doing yoga, you would be very wrong.
This is what the technical info says: The Pure Lime Compression Bra is designed to give maximum support and hold for women of all sizes across a wide range of sports.
- Coolmax material, which is breathable and quick drying
- Shaped and padded Shoulder Straps
- Adjustable Straps – for cross back option
- Moulded Cups – for support and separation
- No Irritating Side Seams
- Compression Strap – restricts wobble
- Larger Sizes
Ellen says: “It’s the inversion poses that I find require the most support in my breast area because in those positions your bosoms fall upwards. And wearing a rigid exert-yourself bra with its resultant monoboob is even worse.
“Add to this that yoga requires you to move freely – especially the ribs and back – and have some awareness of buried things such as your sternum, you begin to see the difficulty in fining a good sports bra.
“So the chance to try a sports bra that promises separation, compression, breathability and no irritation seemed like a great thing. And so far so stable and separate. This bra does what is says on the label and really gave great comfort during my regular yoga work outs.”
Stow N Go High Impact Sports Bra
Fiona tested the Stow N Go High Impact Sports Bra from The North Face, which claims to be a “great sports bra for running and other fast moving outdoor adventures”.
In addition, the technical stuff says the bra:
- Can be worn alone or under a t-shirt
- Has a central storage pocket for keeping valuables close to the chest
- VaporWick properties
- UVP of 50+
- Reflective logos.
While Running Jo and Blogger Ellen were looking for full-on support for larger assets, Fiona was hoping to find the same support for my smaller boobs.
She said: “Just because I’m not hugely well-endowed, it doesn’t mean I am not looking for good support while doing sports. In fact, it sometimes feels as though sports bras for smaller ladies are only pretending to do their job.
“I took the Stow N Go High Impact Sports Bra for a whirl while running, Munro bagging and cycling. I was looking for my boobs to stay in place, but without feeling uncomfortably constrained. This it did very well. The bra felt comfortable – it’s my favourite racer back style – and although it was quite tight to get on, once in place it felt supportive but not overly so.
“If I was brave enough, or the weather was warm enough, I’d be happy wearing the bra on its own. The fabric looked and felt thick enough to seem more like a crop top than a bra (some other sports bras don’t leave too much for the imagination of others due to thinner, more see-through material!)
“If you’re looking for a sports bra that lifts and separates, then this isn’t the one. You’d be better choosing an underwire, separate cup style but I am not so keen on that style. I am not too worried about the two boobs v mono boob look while working out, and I much prefer my chest to be kept in place. This would be a good choice sports bra for a range of sports for ladies of the smaller cup variety.”