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Whenever you hit the gym or go for a 5k run, you will see women wearing some type of sports bra and you wonder, are sports bras really that important when you workout? How do they protect the breast during workouts?
To fully understand how sports bras work, we must understand the structure of the breast first. The breast is made up of mostly soft tissues and is supported by flexible connective tissues called Cooper's ligaments. The Cooper’s ligaments are the one responsible for maintaining the structure and shape of the breast. These ligaments are very flexible but over time it can stretch out which causes the breast to sag over time.
When the breasts are not properly supported, especially during high impact physical activities, the soft tissues and the Cooper’s ligaments will stretch out and will be damaged which can be painful and also cause premature breast sagging. The sports bra’s job is to prevent this from happening.
What is a sports bra?
The sports bra is a type of bra that is specially structured and designed to support your bust during physical activities such as running or weight lifting.
Why is it important to wear a sports bra?
If you want to prevent post-workout breast pain or premature sagging then you should consider wearing a sports bra. The sports bra is structured to support and keep your breast in place during workouts and other physical activities.
Sports bra protects the breast by cradling and keeping your breast in place against your chest area which prevents the breasts from moving especially during activities which require minimal to excessive movements.
How to choose the perfect sports bra for you?
Just like any other bra style, the sports bra comes in many variations in designs and functionality.
Different Sports bra base on impact level
Low Impact - This type of sports bra is designed to be worn for physical activities that requires minimum movements such as Yoga or walking. Low impact bras may come with or without individual cups.
Medium Impact - This type of sports bra is designed to support and keep your breast in place when it comes to activities that require moderate movements such as Zumba or cycling. Medium impact provides better support and hold compared to low impact bras.
High Impact - This type of sports bra is designed to provide the highest level of support and keep the breast in place and keep the breast movement to the bare minimum. This type of sports bra is perfect for high impact activities such as cross fit training, running and any sports that involve a lot of excessive movements.
Different Sports bra base on functionality
Compression Bra - is a bra that compresses and holds your breasts in place. This type of bra treats your breast as one unit and doesn’t have any built-in cups for extra lift or support. This type of bra is suitable for low to medium impact activities. This is not recommended for women with larger breasts because it may cause a uni-boob and spillage due to volume. Compression sports bras are usually wireless.
Encapsulation Bra - is a bra that is designed with individual cups which helps support the breast during high impact activities.
Compression-Encapsulation Bra - this bra is the perfect combination of a compression and encapsulation bra. The individual cups hold the breast separately while the compressors cradle your bust in place. This type of bra is suitable for all breast sizes especially women with larger breast size. This bra usually has underwire for better support and structure.
Different Sports bra base on design
Criss-Cross Back - just as the name describes, the straps are designed to criss-cross or overlap each other which provides a firmer support.
Racerback - the racerback design is one of the most popular designs among sports bras. The shoulder traps are joined together forming a Y-shape between the shoulder blades. Racerback bras are suitable for activities with high impact movements.
Pullover - a comfortable tank-top style bra with elastic lining below the breasts. This type of bra is usually wireless for extra comfort. Highly suitable for low impact activities.
Clasp bra - this bra style has adjustable straps and hooks in either the back or front of the bra. This style of sports bra usually comes with padded cups and may come with or without underwire.
Zip-ups - is designed to have a frontal zipper lock to secure the breasts during workouts. This is suitable for medium to high impact activities. This is also recommended for women with average size bust.
What to consider when choosing the right sports bra?
Just like any other bra, the fit and size of the bra are the number one things to consider. Compression and support is great and all but if the bra doesn’t fit or the size is not right then you will not experience the full potential of the sports bra.
Here is a small checklist when choosing sports bras
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