A good fit is everything when learning how to choose the perfect sports bra. An ill-fitting sports bra can cause discomfort and injury. What's more, a sports bra that doesn't fit properly can make a person feel like they have to hold back during a workout because they don't have the support they need.
Many women are unknowingly wearing sports bras that don't fit simply because they don't know what a proper fit feels like. This is especially common when they settle for cheap, poorly made sports bras that aren't actually designed for athletic intensity. There are some clear signs that a fit is on point for anyone wondering how to tell if a sports bra fits. Take a look!
The Dangers of Wearing the Wrong Sports Bra
In addition to being uncomfortable, wearing the wrong sports bra can create serious health problems. In fact, many women never make the connection between frustrating health problems and bras that don't fit properly. Here's a look at some of the unknown side effects of wearing the wrong sports bra:
- Breast pain.
- Breast skin damage like stretching and stretch marks that bring skin beyond its recovery point!
- Neck, back and shoulder pain.
- Bad posture.
- Deep grooves in the shoulders caused by strap tension.
- Headaches caused by compression of vessels, muscles and nerves.
- Reluctance to exercise stemming from discomfort and insecurity.
- General dissatisfaction with one's own body.
Unfortunately, sports bras can create long-term damage that can't be reversed simply by switching to a better bra if the problem isn't addressed in time. That's because the sensitive ligaments and tissue inside breasts can be damaged by pinching, compression, tension and lack of support. This tissue may not "bounce back" once it has reached a point of no return as far as sagging and markings.
How to Tell If a Sports Bra Fits: Five Signs a Bra Was Made for Your Body
Sign #1: Breasts Are Fully Contained in the Cups
When a sports bra fits properly, breasts are completely centered. That means that there isn't any major separation or lopsidedness. The cups should also fully contain the breasts without any gaps or wrinkles in the fabric. If there is loose fabric that is allowing breasts to "part" or sag, this is a sign that the bra is too large. By contrast, a bra that allows breasts to spill out over the front or sides is too small. It's really important for breasts to be held firmly in the center when searching for a good fit.
Sign #2: No Shifting, Protruding or Moving
A sports bra has to pass the road test. This means that it provides enough support to actually keep breasts in place during movement. This test can be done without actually leaving the house with a "test bra" by simply running in place or jumping up and down. If breasts feel secure during movement, this is a sign that a bra fits.
Sign #3: It's Easy to Take Deep Breaths
Many people suffer from sports bras that are too tight because they desperately want to keep their breasts secure. Unable to find bras that offer support in the right size, they size down. This can create painful compression.
What's more, this can actually be dangerous because it's very hard to take deep breaths during workouts while wearing a bra that's too tight. An overly tight sports bra also puts unnecessary strain on the neck and shoulders because the straps will drag the neck down to cause a "stooping" posture during workouts. A bra that fits properly won't create any tension, pressure or compression.
Sign #4: Two Fingers Fit Under the Band
The band on a sports bra reveals a lot about the fit! When a bra fits appropriately, it should be possible to fit two fingers between the skin and the band that wraps around the rib cage. Fitting more than two fingers is a sign that the bra is too loose to provide proper support. Not being able to fit two fingers means that a bra is overly snug in a way that's going to create painful restriction and compression.
Sign #5: The Band Stays in Place When Arms Are Raised
There's another "quick fit" test that can be done in the mirror before committing to a bra. When the hands are raised over the head, the band that wraps around the rib cage should not move. If the breasts peek out from below the band, this is a telltale sign that a bra is too large. It is possible that the bra simply needs to be hooked tighter if it's designed with a hook.
What Are the Signs a Sports Bra Doesn't Fit?
The biggest sign that a sports bra doesn't fit is constant awareness of the bra. When a bra fits properly, it essentially "melts into the body" without being noticed. While the support is there, it's not something that the person wearing the bra is really conscious of because the fit is so smooth and natural.
A bra may seem very noticeable because it's too tight. Any sensations of pressure or digging are telltale signs that a bra is too tight.
A bra may also create a constant sense of "awareness" because it's too loose. That means that the person wearing the bra is constantly feeling shifting, sliding and bouncing sensations that make them feel exposed. A bra that has to be adjusted once it's on does not provide a good fit.
Here are the big signs that a bra doesn't fit right:
- Breast pain.
- Back, neck or shoulder pain.
- Straps that slide down.
- A band that allows the breasts to slip out from the bottom, top or sides.
- A band that rides up.
- Pressure or chafing.
Ultimately, a good sports bra provides invisible support without the need to ever think twice about it! In addition to feeling good, a sports bra should create a flattering, natural shape that holds everything in place without distorting a woman's figure.
A good sports bra makes it easy to stay centered during workouts by keeping everything centered! There's freedom to move without fear of pinching, looseness or unflattering angles when the fit is right. Settling for anything less than the perfect fit is a dangerous game that can harm the breasts.