How To Support Your Sports Bra

At the risk of sounding weirder than usual, I need to confess that sometimes I stare at other women’s breasts. Ok, let me explain. After standing on the sidelines last fall for my town’s first marathon, I was dumbstruck. Not by the sweat dripping down people’s faces or the look of determination in their eyes, but by the amount of women running by with horrible bras on. There were so many times I wanted to run out, shake a random women and say, “Do you have any idea what you are doing to those breasts of yours?”


I’ve rounded up some easy tips on what to look for in a sports bra, when to replace them, and how to maintain them.

Why Wear One?

The main ligament that helps keep the perky look to breasts is the Cooper’s ligament. As that ligament sags (from age and constant bobbing up and down) the breasts become flattened. There is a real injury called Joggers Breast. The continuous movement of the up and down and side to side can injure the breasts, and for bigger-breasted women it can also affect the shoulder and neck muscles.

I like to say, “Prevention is simple…droop is forever!”

Compression v Encapsulation

Two Types of Sport Bras:
Compression does just that, compresses the breasts by pushing the breasts against the chest wall. These bras usually go over the head and are best for A cup size. The side effect of a larger-busted woman wearing a compression bra is the “uni-boob” look and it can be difficult to get in and out of (especially after a long run and when you are super sweaty!). I actually dislocated my shoulder trying to get out of my bra and know of women who have had to cut themselves out of compression bras.

Encapsulation puts the breasts into separate cups, similar to a regular bra, but with much better support in the straps and band. This type of bra usually has a clasp in the back and is better suited for women with breasts larger than a B cup size.

How to pick one:

The first thing to remember is your sports bra size is not the same as your everyday bra size! For example, I am a C cup in my day-to-day bra, but a D size in my sports bras.

  • Make sure the band fits over your breast- can you take a deep breath?.
  • The whole breast should fit inside the bra- cleavage is great for a fancy night on the town, but not for a workout
  • The straps should be comfortable- they should not be falling off or digging into your shoulders
  • Try it on like you would your running shoes- run around in it and jump up and down
  • Your breasts should feel secure- not bouncing up and down or side to side

Keep it clean:

The rules are simple, wash your bra every 1 to 3 wears. If you are unsure whether to wash it or not, rule of thumb is to wash it. You will feel better in a clean fresh smelling bra and your workout buddies will appreciate it too!

  • Wash it in warm water, not hot water
  • Use non-chlorine detergent
  • NEVER put it in the dryer
  • Stay away from lotions and sunscreens- they can affect the material
  • Rotate usage
  • Use The Rule of Three: One to wear, One in wash, One hanging to dry

Time to replace:

I am in the habit of replacing my bras when I buy new sneakers. I’m already in the store buying my sneakers, why not spend the extra money to protect my breasts.

Time to replace

Here are some signs that it’s time to ditch the ones you have:

  • The straps are stretched out
  • You can’t read the tag
  • The cups are stretched out
  • The band has lost it’s elasticity
  • You have lost more than 10 pounds
  • You notice extra movement or your neck and shoulders are bothering you

We know the importance of investing in a good pair of running sneakers- now let’s get in the habit of investing in a great running bra.

Let’s get more ladies talking about how we can keep our breasts healthy and happy! These are my tips, what are yours? Share them on my Facebook!


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