Body & Fitness

What to look for in a good sports bra so you can exercise to your heart’s content

Runners, zumba lovers, boot camp addicts and every active sister out there - here's all you need to know.

If you like to run, or do boot camp, or any other form of exercise then you’ve probably invested in a good pair of sports shoes. You’ve probably got the active wear that wicks away moisture from your body, and a gadget or two to measure your speed, distance and heart rate.

But do you have a decent sports bra that’s been properly fitted? Chances are, like me, you don’t. Many of us just pop along to our local sports shop and try on a few sans help, before buying the one that seems about right.

Yet ill-fitting bras can cause painful rubbing and breast sag. Yep, you read that right. Wearing an ill-fitting bra while exercising will cause your breasts to become saggier.

Here, we talk to Triumph bra fitting specialist Paula Svoboda, who has fitted more than 50,000 women, about getting correctly fitted and what to look for in a good sports bra.

Should a sports bra rub when you exercise in it?

A sports bra should definitely not rub while exercising. If a sports bra feels uncomfortable during physical activity, you are wearing the wrong size.

For a perfect fit, the back of the bra should be sitting level with the front, with the wiring flat against your body and the underwire fitting around the entire contour of the breast. The straps hold the bra in place and shouldn’t be rubbing or digging in at the shoulder. Your breast should be fully contained, so if you are not filling the cup, or if there’s excess flesh spilling over the top and sides of the cup, you are also wearing the wrong size.

Look for good coverage at the side and top of the breast, and fabric should be tight over the bust.

How common is it for women to be wearing ill-fitting sports bras and what’s the damage?

There are thousands of women out there wearing ill-fitting bras. In fact, research shows approximately 78 per cent of women across the globe are wearing an incorrect size.

If you are wearing the wrong-sized regular bra, you are probably wearing the wrong sports bra.

Ill-fitting sports bras are not only uncomfortable, they can lead to back, shoulder, breast or neck pain and cause irreversible breast sag.

The stress of movement on the breast is what causes breasts to stretch and sag over time, irrespective of your size. Even if you are an A cup, it is as important to wear a correctly supportive bra as if you are an E.

Where can you go to be fitted correctly?

Unfortunately, getting correctly fitted is not available at many sports outlets, but it’s important to note that sportsbras are sold far and wide beyond traditional sportswear stores. A lot of time goes in to training staff working in lingerie departments so they can provide you with expert advice and the best fitting service possible. Department stores like Smith and Caughey’s have professional Triumph fitters on site every day.

Are the crop top-style bras you pull over your head suitable for vigorous exercise?

A sports bra must be fit for purpose, tailored to your cup and band size to provide the ultimate support and comfort. You do not want the wire moving about or sitting on breast tissue as you run! That’s why all styles in the Triaction by Triumph range, including the wire-free crop styles, are cup-sized.

Often crop top wire-free styles that you pull over your head are not cup-sized, so you need to ensure the under-band is firm and tight, more so than an everyday bra, as this provides the majority of the support.Triumph has its own Triaction range of sports bras. Our new Magic Motion range comes in sizes from a B to an E.

What should you look for in a good sports bra?

Effective sports bras that have been professionally tested and certified to minimise bounce are crucial to reducing breast discomfort during all types of exercise.

If you have a larger bust, then finding a supportive bra is even more important. Underwire sports bras are ideal and will provide extra lift, shape and support to the breast while exercising. Go for styles with thicker straps and a wider band with more hooks.

If you are likely to work up a sweat, you will also want to make sure your bra is made from anti-bacterial and moisture management fabrics to help you stay dry while exercising.

Triumph’s Triaction range of sports bras have been developed for multi-sport activities and tested at United Kingdom’s University of Portsmouth, a world-renowned Research Group in Breast Health. The range gives women the freedom to train how they like – running, boxing, weight training or cycling – without the worry and distraction of bounce and there are a number of fits available to support your bust.

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