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Are You Wearing the Right Sports Bra?

A Guide for Women of All Shapes and Sizes


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TBABY - I have the same problem. I've never found a sports bra really. I may have seen a couple online but the price & the likelihood they would not even fit after ordering & waiting for them to be shipped discouraged me from ordering.

I wear a 42H bra from Cacique; I say "wear" because by measurements I'd actually be about an O cup, which does not exist anywhere I have ever seen including online. The bras I have are the best I could find, in ones I could try on in person.

That said, here's what I do for exercise: I wear a comfortable, non-chafing underwire bra (42H). Over top of it I wear a soft cup/no underwire bra that is a couple of sizes too small, I think 40 F? I can't remember. It's I think one band size and one or two cup sizes smaller than my "correct" bra I wear daily. This basically creates an encapsulation/compression situation out of 2 bras.

TRY STUFF ON to find the right combination for you! Start with a comfy bra that you could wear anyway and doesn't pinch or chafe you. Wear that to the store, and try on some softcup/non underwire bras in a range from 1 band size/1 cup size, 2 band size/1 cup size, 1 band size/2 cup size, and 2 band size/2 cup size too small. In addition to their recommendations to jump up and down and so forth, be sure that the smaller band size is not so small that it's cutting into your skin! When you try them on, take a deep deep breath. If the band cuts or you can't breathe in all the way, it's too small. It should be snug, but you want the pressure on your breasts, not your ribcage. So you might end up with say, your normal band size but 2 cup sizes smaller working best, or something like that.

I hope this helps! It's the only thing I've found to work at all. I still do have some bounce if I literally jump up and down, but I can run and do the elliptical and all that stuff without major pain or bouncing. Report
I don't mean any harm, but I guess women that are a size F, G or higher doesn't need a sports bra to work out in. I am having the hardest time finding a good one that is supportive and will hold the girls in place. I think that was one of the reasons I stopped doing zumba because I didn't have a sports bra to wear to class. I was wearing my regular underwire bra and it was becoming uncomfortable and I was breaking the underwire in them and bras can be pricey to have to replace because of that. Does anyone know of a company that caters to heavy, large busted women that need a sports bra? HELP! Report
I was hating all my sports bras until I found Glamorise bras. They were all too small, the elastic always wore out faster & they were just uncomfortable. Finding one with a fastener on the back & more supportive shoulder straps did the trick. I purchased 3 and always wear them. Super comfy & perfect of all of my cardio. Report
Here's another good method, and probably more frequently used than the first article I posted.

Jaydee16 is right. Adding the 5 inches doesn't make sense, as the measurement around the ribcage is most typically your band size.

For some women, measuring the ribcage over the breasts as opposed to under makes more sense. Either way, the size proportion is the same. Smaller band size + larger cup, or larger band size + smaller cup. (30E vs. 32C, for example). Which one you prefer is entirely up to you, depending on the comfort of the bra and how the manufacturer sizes them. Report
I am SO relieved to see I am not the only one that takes serious issue (and FRUSTRATION) with this method of measuring bra size. This whole add/subtract/multiply/find-the-square-root
-of-the-hypotenuse nonsense NEVER works for me. My rib measurement is 34 inches, my bust measurement is 38. So accordingly, my band size should be 34+3+1= 38. The difference between the band size and bust is then zero. Which means I'm what? A wooden plank?! If there's no difference between the two, why would I need a bra in the first place?? I assure you, I do!

I say, ditch the "add 3 inches, 4 inches, 5 inches, whatever." My actual rib measurement has always been equal to the best-fitting bra band size. My cup measurements have always been on par with what is mentioned in the article. 38-34=4, x, y, denominator . . carry the z . .. yep, 34D. Whaddya know, that's what I'm wearing! Weird! :)

I'm not that picky about my bras, but after I read the article I decided to get one. it was also a little reward for myself for sticking to the 8 week Diabetes Challenge and doing all my workouts. I want to feel encouraged to keep going. So, since I am a bit of a cheapskate, I bought one at Target for $18. I can't afford expensive. I chose a bra described as #3 in the article, compression and encapsulation. It seems luxurious compared to my old one and I look foward to using it. Thanks for the advice SP! Report
I just spent the past few days searching for a new sports bra. Being a 38D-DD, I need on that is very supportive for my step class and running (3 kids in 4 years and lots of nursing lead to some, well, major saggage as is did losing almost 50lbs.) I have a Moving Comfort bra from Dick's that is full coerage. It works well but it is hot. That one has an underwire. I bought a new one last night at dicks, teh Endure by Under Armour. I had to take out a small loan to buy it ($58) but went running this morning and it was really nice. I will give it the true test tomorrow at my step class. This one looks really nice and could easily be worn without a shirt (not for me).
This way of measuring is never right for me I don't add anything to band measurement and get a perfect fit that does not ride up they all have elastic in them so no need to add inches to the band size this is my grand mothers way af measuring for a bra which is very out dated. Report
The Enell bras are expensive but well-made, sturdy, and the only sports bra I've ever owned that held everything in place. I am a top heavy size 16-18W. I bought mine at a local running shop and it was worth every penny. Report
The only thing I would add is that you shouldn't use fabric softener when washing bras (or any clothing) with wicking ability. Fabric softener inhibits the wicking ability. Report
When I started exercising 3 months post-partum while breastfeeding in my regular old comprsssion bras, i was hurting any time i jumped. I had to modify jumping jacks to just move my legs while i had my arms crossed across my milk-laden boobs for support! So i finally spent a little extra money on a Champion encapsulated bra at JC Penneys. Wow, what a difference! I could do normal jumping jacks without pain!

Now that my son is almost 2 and I'm not producing as much milk as I did when he was an infant, I'm comfortable in my old compression bras again. Although some of ghem are probably 10 years old and definitely getting a little big! Might be time to reward myself with some new ones.

I wish someone made one with a pocket for my smartphone since i tuck it into the side of my bra to listen to music while working out. Report
Based on this measurement and chart I should be wearing a 44B. 44 is way to big, and B isn't quite right, even in that size. In most every brand that I have tried I am either a 40C or 40D. Occasionally, DD but that has been pretty rare. Back when I was wearing a 38, then definitively a DD. I don't think this chart is very accurate. Even when I was "professionally fitted" they used a similar method and it really came down to that measurement and calculation wasn't what really fits me. Could it be difference in body shape? Report
I was exercising in my regular bras with a sport tank-top and that was so painful (I developed blisters from the underwire digging into my skin in several places). I bought the Enell sports bra and I can't begin to tell you how wonderful it is. The bra helps support my back and my side-boob/rolls (LOL). It dramatically flattens my chest but that's a good thing - keeps me from flopping around. It's expensive - but considering I work out 5 days a week, it was totally worth it! Sizing is very true to size so be sure to take the right measurements for the best fit! Report
If I am understanding this correctly, it makes no sense. My bust measurement is 47". I measured my ribcage underneath and got 44" After adding 3" as it says to, it equals 47'. I wear a 40 C, but according to your method, I wear under an A cup! Something is not right!
At some point, years ago, I figured out that a regular minimizing bra does the trick for me. Other sports bras, even the ones prescribed for larger breasts, just never worked as hoped. The basic minimizing bra is not super attractive, but it does the job, and at much less cost than the fancy sports bras. No more doubling up for me! :) Report

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