Fitness Articles

Are You Wearing the Right Sports Bra?

A Guide for Women of All Shapes and Sizes

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Below are the steps to take your own measurements.
  1. Use a tailor’s tape or cloth measuring tape when taking your measurements.
     
  2. Stand up straight, preferably in front of a mirror.
     
  3. Wear a normal (non-padded) bra, not a sports bra, when taking your measurements.
     
  4. Find your bust measurement. Wearing a non-padded bra, measure the fullest part of your chest by loosely wrapping the tape measure around your chest, making sure the tape is straight in the back and front. Once you get a number, round to the nearest whole number to get your bust measurement. 
     
  5. Find your band measurement. Measure your ribcage just under your breasts, making sure the tape is snug (not tight) and not lower in the back than in the front. 

    Your Measurement (in inches) 27" 28-30" 31-33" 34-36" 37-38"
    Band Size 30 32 34 36 38

    Past a meaurement of 38 inches, the band size will be the closest even number to your measurement.
     
  6. Find your cup size. Subtract your band measurement (step 5) from your bust measurement (step 4). Use the chart below to determine which letter is your cup size. (However, the chart becomes less accurate once you get past a 4-inch difference.)

     
    Bust – Band difference Cup Size
    1/2" AA
    1" A
    2" B
    3" C
    4" D
    5" DD or E
    6" F
    7" G

     
  7. Put your band size with your cup size and you have your bra size. (But remember, this is just a starting point to help you narrow down which options to actually try on.) Continued ›
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About The Author

Nancy Howard Nancy Howard
Nancy is an avid runner and health enthusiast. A retired pediatric nurse, she received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Texas Woman's University and is also a certified running coach and ACE-certified personal trainer.

Member Comments

  • I have found that Victoria's Secret has THE BEST sports bra. Wide bra straps, hidden underwire, some zip up the front (which I think is the best option for the busty ladies, like myself), and of course they're nicely colored. Look for sales! When we bought mine, they were buy one get one half off. They might be pricey but they are SO worth it. Any VS bra I have purchased lasts years! And the best part...we spent at least $75 so we got the free tote, lol. I love the free totes. - 7/14/2015 8:03:40 AM
  • With all of the technology we have today, you would think someone could make a bra that really fits and offers FULL coverage, I hate boob muffins!!!
    I just want a bra that covers ALL of me and keeps my breasts from falling out of my bra when I work out.
    Come on America, lets do this!!! - 6/23/2015 8:21:03 PM
  • I have tried many times over many years to measure myself using this method and i order a bra and it never NEVER fits.
    I finally broke down and ordered the Enell sports bra and it is the only bra I wear now.
    and No I DONT work for them, I am not paid to tell this.
    I dont buy or wear any other kind of bra
    I keep two for every day wear and two for workout.
    get different colors to keep track of them.
    They are expensive, but you can find sites where you can get 5 dollars off per bra if you order two.
    I long for the day when I can buy a bra off the shelf or measure myself and order a bra according to the measurements and have it fit.
    I have been trying for a decade to get br surgery and my ins wont pay.
    I live in pain every single day of my life.
    Yet, they wont pay, they say its cosmetic.
    I struggle, but the enell bra does offer me some support and relief. - 6/23/2015 7:22:34 PM
  • RBYRD5
    This doesn't help. All the sports bras I see are Small, Medium, Large, etc. Nobody measures sports bras in the same manner as a regular one. - 6/16/2015 7:24:31 PM
  • All of these bras are crazy expensive! Doesn't duct tape work just as well? - 6/8/2015 4:13:36 PM
  • I absolutely do not agree with this method, or something is missing. My bust measurement is 35 the band width is 32, but I can barely clasp most 35's. And the difference between my bust and band is 3", but I am not a C cup. I often have to go up to a 36 for comfort and then have to get an A cup. If I can find a 35 that fits right I usually get a B cup. Also a lot of sports bras are S, M, L, XL so not #s - 5/20/2015 8:43:13 AM
  • LINGERIELOVE
    For plus size ladies, the Ulla Dessous Kate Sports bra is a bit pricey but well worth it. You can get it with wire or without and depending on the one you choose, it goes up to a size n!
    You can order it online at bbasic lingerie (http://www.bbasi
    clingerie.com
    /bras/sports-bra) - 11/18/2014 10:50:16 AM
  • JAIJACOB
    I always prefer to use sports bra while doing yoga and exercise ..Along with that I prefer to use along with t-shirts so that it gives more comfort - 3/25/2014 4:50:12 AM
  • STARRDAWNS01
    The best sports bra for those D or over is sport by cacique. They have underwires and lightly padded wider straps that are easily adjusted. I wear mine for tennis and aerobic type activities and have no bounce, no digging in, and no neck or shoulder pain even when wearing for a whole day. After I wore mine for the first time, I came home, threw out every other sports bra I owned and bought two more. - 3/12/2014 5:51:16 PM
  • DAILONE
    Maybe you are not familiar with the sports bra, not to mention the way to choice. When you need a sports bra, you may confused by so many kinds of styles in the market. http://www.amazon
    .com/Yvette-C
    losure-Bra-Hi
    gh-Racerback-
    Compression/dp/B00EID1M1G - 12/12/2013 4:42:48 AM
  • My friend owns an underwear shop and I have mine measured every time because each make can be massively different. Even different styles from the same brand can mean you need a different size. It doesn't cost to have one fitted and you can always find the right make and size and then buy it cheaper online when you know that a professional has fit it. To be perfectly honest, now that I have all my bras fitted by an expert I would never just buy because the difference, not just during exercise but for the rest of the time is unbelieveable. Those little pains in your legs, hips, neck etc can all be attributed to poor posture because of incorrect bra fitting. I'm a uk 34 H and I can do any exercise with only 1 properly fitted bra. All these different methods of self measurement do not take into account manufactures difference that someone trained can identify by knowledge. - 8/11/2013 2:08:56 PM
  • Your chart stops short:
    Over the bust / band measurement difference and cup size
    Difference (inches) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
    Cupsize U.S. AA A B C D DD/E DDD/F DDDD/G H I J K L M N - - -
    Cupsize UK/Austr. AA A B C D DD E F FF G GG H HH J JJ K KK L

    Some brands size by adding 4 to your band measurement, some by adding 0. UK manufacturers are increasingly available in the US and offer busty girls relief from wearing 38/40 DD's when we should really be in much smaller back sizes and much larger cup sizes.
    - 7/30/2013 11:08:38 AM
  • MSMANZANA
    I'm sorry to say this, but your method of measuring is a bit outdated. Why should a woman with a 27" circumference wear a 30" bra? It is 3" larger than her and can't offer any support. 80-90% of your bust's weight should be supported by the bra band and only the tiny rest by the straps. You also have to take into account that a bra band stretches several inches. - 7/23/2013 1:45:57 PM
  • i have been buying and wearing the enell sports bras for years, i wear them to work out and for everyday wear, which works out ok, because i found a site that allows you a discount if you purchase two at once.
    they dont go by cup size, but are measured by number, each number represents a size grid of 3 to 4 sizes in one, the enell fits snugly and doesnt allow alot of movement, but, is still good for working out as it offers alot of support and comfort.
    i love them, they are a little costly, but is the only bra i can order online and always feel secure that i will receive the right size and fit. - 7/8/2013 6:42:07 PM
  • When at my largest (44h) I to wore my regular cacique full coverage to work out, of course I wasn't doing high impact! I then added one of those cheap compression bras over to prevent movement as I got more active. Glamorize has some good ones for small band/large cup without the uniboob i found them later. Currently I am loving my tata tamer! A good bra that holds the ladies still is worth a little extra. - 7/4/2013 11:48:01 AM

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