Do you walk in the door after exercise and the first thing you want to do is take off your sports bra? If this is you, you are not alone. Unfortunately, many women wear the wrong size sports bra every time they work out. No wonder we feel so uncomfortable and unsupported!
Studies show that up to 8 in 10 women wear the wrong bra size. Interestingly, of those 8, 70% wear their bra too small. Why does our pride always try and squeeze us into something to small?
Not only is a poorly sized bra uncomfortable but it can affect your performance. So, what are the signs your sports bra size is wrong? Put your favourite sports bra on, find a mirror and go through my 10 signs.
Sign 1: Your Shoulder Straps Fall Down
Your straps are designed to hold you up so when they slip, they let you down. The most common cause of strap slippage is the straps aren’t tight enough or they have lost their elasticity and stretched. Every time you wear your sports bra check and adjust the straps, so they are comfortably tight. If they are losing their elasticity and continue to slip it’s time to go shopping!
Another cause of loose straps is your cup is too big. If after tightening your straps they still don’t feel right, and your cup isn’t ‘full’ it is an indication the cup is too big. Go down a cup size to help get the perfect fit.
Those with narrow or sloping shoulders may find your straps slip no matter what you do. In this case try a racerback or cross-back style sports bra. This style will anchor the straps to your shoulders stopping slipping.
Sign 2: Your Shoulder Straps Leave Marks
Whilst we are on the topic of straps this is another classic sign your sports bra is the wrong size. It is common for many of us to just keep tightening the straps in our search for more support. A sports bra should be comfortable, not a torture device that cuts off your circulation!
Those of us with a bit more up top and more prone to doing this. We think if we stop things bouncing around it will reduce our shoulder pain. Unfortunately, not. Straps only provide 20% of our sports bras support. With the remaining 80% coming from the band.
The key to reducing shoulder marks is to take the pressure off the straps by ensuring you have a snug fitting band. The more support your band offers the less your straps will need to contribute. Also, consider a style with wide straps to help ‘spread the load’.
Sign 3: Your Band Sits High at the Back
We’ve done straps, so next let’s move onto bands. This one is a common problem for many women. Your bra band should sit horizontal all the way round your torso. Level with the underside of you breasts.
If it doesn’t, then you have a problem. The solution could be as simple as loosening your shoulder straps. If they are too tight, they could be lifting your bra causing the band to ride up at the back. Try losing them a little to see if that fixes the problem.
The more likely issue is that your band size is too big. To compensate for this, it is common to try and tighten the shoulder straps causing your band to ‘ride up’. The fix is simple; simply go down a band size. If the band size is correct it should fit snugly around your chest with the band horizontal to the ground.
Sign 4: Your Band ‘Gaps’ in the Back
The second band sign to be aware of is your bra band should fit snuggly and comfortably across your back. We already know this from Sign 3 right. If it feels too loose or ‘gaps’ in the back, then you are not getting the support you need.
To eliminate the gap and up the support first try tightening your band to a firmer clasp setting. If this doesn’t work simply go down a band size to get a tighter and more supportive fit.
Sign 5: The Band Clasp is at its Tightest
This on its own is not necessarily a problem. If the band fits snugly and still offers support then happy days. If not, then you have a problem.
When a sports bra is new the band should fit snugly on the loosest hook. This will allow you to move up the hooks as the band inevitably stretches with age. Thus, prolonging the life and support of your sports bra.
Eventually you will run out of hooks and it is common to avoid the expense of a new sports bra by wearing it on the tightest hook for as long as possible. This might be good for your hip pocket but isn’t for your breasts. Give them the support they need by getting a replacement.
Sign 6: Your Band ‘Gaps’ Between Breast and Cup
The reason we wear a sports bra is to keep the girls closer to our chin than our knees! This won’t be achieved if our breasts creep out from underneath our cups. A good fitting sports bra will prevent this from happening.
If this is happening to you it could be because of one of two reasons. The first is your band is too loose allowing your girls to escape from underneath your cups. You may notice the problem getting worse when you exercise. All your bouncing around will have your breasts heading South if your band is too loose. Solution; go down a band size.
The second and less common one is your cups are too small. Effectively forcing your breast tissue out. And one of the escape routes is out the bottom. If this is you, consider going up a cup size.
Sign 7: Your Band Causes Back Bulge
A lot of women ask me for a sports bra ‘that covers back fat’. Now, you can buy sports bras that offer more coverage to help keep all the squishy bits covered up. That said, the problem is more often associated with sizing not the bra style.
It is most likely the band is too tight. Thus, squishing out all the soft bits (I have them too!). As mentioned earlier your band needs to be snug but should not be too tight. Too tight and it will cut in causing you excess back bulge.
As a rule of thumb, you should be able to comfortably slide two fingers between the band and your torso. If not, your band is too tight. Either loosen it or if this is not possible, go up a band size.
Sign 8: Your Cup Spilleth Over
I have heard that ‘a little cleavage never hurt anyone’. Maybe so, but not when it is caused by the size of your bra instead of the cut.
If your cups are too small your breasts can ‘spill’ out the top. This extra breast tissue is unsupported and can ‘jiggle’ about when you exercise. Not good for you or your breasts. This can be more of an issue if you have a bit more up top.
The solution is obvious; go up a cup size. All your breast needs support, and a larger cup will hold and support more of your breast tissue. When there is a smooth transition from skin to bra with no ‘bulge’ you’ll know your cup, size is right.
Sign 9: Your Cups Look Funny
When you put your sports bra on the cups should be nicely full and smooth. There shouldn’t be any hollows, wrinkles or bagginess. If there is it isn’t the right fit.
If you are starting to notice this in your be-loved sports bra chances are you’ve over-worn it. Time has taken its toll and it has begun to lose its shape. If this has happened to you consider getting a new breast friend (see what I did there!).
If you notice this is a new bra re-adjust your breasts inside the cup to see if they fill it better. If they don’t, chances are the cup is too big. Go down a cup size to keep your silhouette as smooth as possible.
Sign 10: Your Breasts do not Fill the Bottom of the Cup
The opposite to sign 6 is when your breasts do not ‘fill’ the lower part of your cup. For your band to support your breasts there needs to be something there to support. Supporting empty space will not help your breasts!
Try re-positioning your breasts within the cup. If that doesn’t help and you cannot fill the space, try a sports bra with a smaller cup. Your breasts need to rest against the bottom of your cup to get support.
A Final Thought
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of a good fitting sports bra. Not only will it give your girls the comfort and support they need. It will also give you the confidence to exercise knowing everything will be held in place, nothing is going slip or pop out and that you will hopefully finish your workout pain free. Woo hoo!
If you’ve followed my list and discovered your current sports bra just isn’t up to the task anymore then sportsbrasdirect.com.au is the perfect place to find your new sports bra. There is heaps of advice to help you find the perfect sports bra for you!
Yours in Support.