How to Choose the Right Sports Bra for Bodyweight Training
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought it was the perfect time to talk about boobs! Yes, I decided not to tip-toe around this issue and just be very open. Ladies, not only is it important to do regular self-examinations on your breasts but, it’s also important that you choose the right sports bra to support “the girls” during your workout. Treat them with respect, if you will.
So, how did this topic come about? Well, as a woman with fairly small boobs, who is also really into fitness and high intensity bodyweight training, I wear a sports bra a lot. In fact, I wear a sports bra more than I wear a regular bra. I wear one because I know I am “supposed to” and mainly because I like the way it feels better than a regular bra. Even though I have a smaller pair, I know how painful it is to work out and train hard, jumping all over the place doing plyometrics and other bodyweight training without wearing a sports bra – um, no thanks!
So, I consulted sports bra expert Amy Neighbors, founder of Brick Betty Performance Apparel for Women, to really figure out what we women should be looking for when shopping for sports bras. One thing I did know was that boobs are not made of muscle tissue, they are made of skin and fat, which is why they don’t hold themselves up over the years. “Breasts move in three different directions and a sports bra is meant to prevent that movement as much as possible,” Neighbors pointed out. Some of us might be thinking, wow only three? “Skin stretches, especially skin that is not very supported, and once that skin stretches it does not go back,” she continued.
Personally, when I shop for sports bras, I always look for the color I like the most and the one with the most criss-crosses in the back. This isn’t for any reason other than that I like the way they look from a fashion perspective. However, after speaking with Neighbors, I did find out that I was doing something right. “A bra’s support comes from the band and the back, not the cups as most people think. I recommend a racerback or criss-cross bra to distribute the weight better,” Neighbors suggested. “Remember a 3-hook back closure allows for up to 1.5’’ in adjustment. You are never going to get a great fit and the right support if you cannot adjust the band to fit your body shape and size.”
When it comes to fitness apparel, I treat it better than I do my regular clothes because most of my pieces are pretty expensive and I want them to last a long time. I always lay them out to dry instead of putting them in the drier. I remember living in a studio apartment in college and laying out all my sports bras to dry over my headboard – well, I was doing something right there. “Performance fabric is very susceptible to heat and sports bras are no different,” said Neighbors. “The notions on a bra’s elastic strapping, metal rings and slides, cups, can and do break down when they are heated.” Neighbors pointed out an important consideration: “You get what you pay for.” You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a sports bra, but you also don’t want to be buying the cheapest one you can find. You don’t need a wide variety, just a couple with really great support and comfort.
To finish it off, Amy Neighbors reminded me that bras need to be purchased based on need. If you are looking for a sports bra to support you during those high intensity workouts that you’ll find on the Runtastic Fitness Channel, you need to keep these 3 things in mind:
1. an adjustable back closure
2. adjustable straps
3. cups that give a good shape and provide privacy
For more information about Amy Neighbors and Brick Betty Performance Apparel for Women, go to www.brickbetty.com!