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Sports Bra Guide

Sports Bra Buying Guide
Last Updated on July 25, 2020 by Ashwini G

A good fitted sports bra is a must-have for every woman who works out. In fact, it is not just a workout accessory but also has positive effects on your performance. Wearing one every time you hit the gym or go for a run can protect your breasts and help you make the most of your exercises. Thinking of buying a sports bra for the gym? Now, the main challenge is to find the best one from the plenty of options available in the market, but how do you know which one is right? We have carried out comprehensive research on everything you need to know before buying a gym bra to help you make an informed decision. To make your search simple, we have covered:

  • The reasons to wear a sports bra
  • Different types available for varied purposes,
  • Anatomy of a correctly fitted bra
  • Steps to find the right size
  • A detailed buyer’s guide
  • And answered the frequently asked questions.

What Are the Benefits of Wearing A Sports Bra?

Before you delve into the fancy stuff, it is important to know sports bra benefits while exercising or even going for a run.

Maintains Support

They are crucial for maintaining the shape of the breasts. Not choosing to wear a supportive bra during the workout for long can lead to tearing of Cooper’s ligaments around the breasts, which results in saggy breasts. A right sports bra can provide enough support and prevent drooping of breasts permanently.

Stop Discomfort While Exercising

Apart from the health hazards that gym bras can prevent, it can also help you workout confidently. Exercising or running involves a lot of movements, which lead the breasts to move up and down, which can be both painful and also uncomfortable. Wearing the right bra can hold everything in place and also help you stay in your comfort zone.

Reduce Breast Pain

One of the most important reasons for buying a sports bra for the gym is that it can help reduce breast pain. Intensive breast movements while working out can be very painful. Wearing the right bra can prevent your breasts from being squashed by minimizing its movements.

Maintains Body Temperature

Gone are those days when gym wear was entirely made of cotton. Today, sports bras are made of a variety of fabrics to give you the best. The one’s available today are made of stretchable absorbent fabric that reduces the irritation caused by sweat at the same time maintaining airflow to keep you cool.

Storage Pockets

Have you ever forgot your home/car keys in the gym? Most of us have at least once in our lives. Brands design them keeping every aspect in mind, and they have come up with bras having pockets for you to store your keys, and an MP3 player too. Your sports bra will securely hold your keys, and you no more have to worry about losing it again.

Minimize Shoulder and Back Pain

Women with large breasts often complain of shoulder and back pain during a workout. Wearing the right bra for exercises will take the strain away from your back and shoulders, keeping them pain-free. Now that you are aware of the significance of wearing a gym bra during exercising or running let’s have a look at the different styles available.

Different Types of Sports Bras for Workout

With plenty of styles available in the market, you might be confused about which one to choose. We have listed the workout bra uses with its types to help you make the right decision.

  • Racerback – Are you worrying about straps falling off during workouts? We have a solution to this. Go for the racerback style, which will cling to your body perfectly. Ideal for – Running and rowing
  • Encapsulated – This type is designed in a way to provide support to each breast separately. Thus, helping to maintain breast shape. Ideal for – Low-intensity workouts
  • Padded – All those looking for a little extra, this type is for them. Sports bra padded gives your breasts a fuller look and the required support. Ideal for – All kinds of workouts
  • Front Fastening – Want a gym bra that is easy to wear and remove? The front fastening workout bra is for you. There are two types of front fastening available – Zip or hook. Ideal for – Post-surgery low-intensity workout
  • Compression – If you are looking for a gym bra with max level support and minimum movement, compression is the ideal choice. It compresses the breasts close to the body, minimizing movements and giving you full support. Ideal for – High-intensity workouts and running
  • Under-Wired – This type gives extra shaping to the breasts, along with essential support. Ensure the right fit for the required comfort. Ideal for – All kinds of workouts
  • Non-Wired – Non-wired gym bra is another type that provides great shape and essential support. Ideal for – Low-intensity workouts
  • High Impact – As the name says, this type is the one that provides maximum support while performing high impact exercises. Ideal for – high-intensity workouts
  • Low Impact – If you have just started working out and involved in squats and yoga, this style is perfect for you. Ideal for – Low-intensity workouts

Anatomy of A Perfectly Fitted Gym Bra


The band is the primary source that provides maximum support to the breasts during exercises. A good fit bra should be snug around your ribs, but make sure it’s not too tight. How do you check if it is too tight or just perfect? Tuck two fingers between the band and your body, and if you feel comfortable, it’s the right fit. Prefer a wide band over narrow ones for maximum support.

Shoulder Straps

They reduce breast movement during workouts or runs. A perfectly fitted strap will not fall off your shoulder or dig into it. How do you check the right fit? Just like how you did with the band, fit two fingers between the strap and your shoulder, if you feel comfortable, its the right size. Many gym bras come with adjustable straps for you to have control over the strap fitting.


Most workout bras are pulled over the head; many come with front and back closure. These kinds are easier to put on and off. Apart from the simple wearability, they even give you the control to adjust the fit.

Tip – In a back closure bra, when new, always hook to the furthest hook so that with time when the fabric stretches, you can use the closest hook for a perfect fit.

‘Wick Away Moisture’ Fabric

Who likes to bathe in sweat while working out. Choose a workout bra made of wicking fabrics that move away moisture from your skin and ensure maximum airflow.

Steps to Measure the Right Workout Bra Size

How do I know what size gym bra to get? Is this question running in your mind from the time you decided to buy one for your exercising routine? We are here to help you!

There is no universal guide to a perfectly fitted bra, as each body is different. We have a fit guide that can help you find the right basic size.

Note: You may require additional fine-tuning with the steps mentioned below to find your right size gym bra.

Step 1: Measure Your Rib Cage

Measure the area around your rib cage. Make sure the tape is not too tight that you are not able to even breathe properly. Round off to the nearest inch.

Step 2: Band Size

The band size depends on the measurements of your rib cage. Consider the chart below for band size:

[ninja_tables id=”1019″]

Step 3: Bust Size

Measure the fullest part of your bust. Make sure the tape is straight across the bust. Round off the measurement to the nearest inch.

Step 4: Cup Size

The gym bra cup size is determined by ‘bust measurement minus rib cage measurement.’ Round off to the nearest inch. The difference between the two is your cup size. Consider the table below for details:

[ninja_tables id=”1021″]

Sports Bra Buyer’s Guide

Apart from the right fit, there are various aspects that you need to keep in mind while buying a gym bra. Finding the right one can be overwhelming. Read through the buyer’s guide to make your purchase simpler.


Buying the right size bra is very important to get all the benefits attached to wearing one. The size of a gym bra and the regular bra is the same, but before you head out to buy one, consider the fit guide mentioned above to be certain.

Kind of Workout

The support that a gym bra provides depends on the kind of exercises you are planning to buy it for. For example, if you perform high-intensity exercises, then getting a bra that will give adequate support to the breasts during such activities will be favorable. If you get a high impact bra that is designed to give extra support to your breasts for low-intensity workouts, then you be uncomfortable wearing it.

Front/Back Closure

No doubt, the pull over the head gym bras take a few seconds to wear, but the back and front fastening bras also do not take much time. So then why should one go with the front or back closure? The different levels of closure at the back or front provide extra support, so ditch the pullovers and go with the clasp ones.


Always look for a bra that has panels because more panels ensure more support. A gym bra having no panels can look stylish, but the level of support it may provide will not be as good as the ones with several panels, so choose wisely!


This feature certainly boils down to personal preference. There are many styles of gym bras available in the market, like racerback, high impact, compression, front fastening, padded, etc. The style of bra that you choose will depend on your likes, but also keep in mind the type and level of workout you will carry out. For instance, if your workout involves a lot of hand lifting, then choosing a racerback bra is preferred.

In the same way, if your regular bra is an underwired, then sticking to an underwired gym bra makes sense. The same is the case with sports bra padded or non-padded. For that extra comfort during the initial days of your workout, always choose the style you are familiar with.

Jump Test

As simple as it sounds. Put on the bra, jump up and down in front of the mirror. Turn to your side and notice what’s happening with your breasts. If you notice even a slight bulge, it’s time to choose another.


A good design bra can motivate you. Only because you are buying a gym bra doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the design. There are varieties of colors and prints available online. No doubt, the fit, and comfort matter the most, but a good looking bra will lift your spirits.

Sports Bra Buying Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is it OK to wear a sports bra all the time?

Yes definitely! They are not just limited to workouts! Make sure the gym bra is dry, and you are comfortable wearing it. Bras that are wire-free and soft are generally recommended if you want to wear it throughout the day.

Q. Is it OK to Sleep in A Sports Bra?

Dr. Seth Rankin, the private founder of the London Doctors Clinic, has explained this very well. Breast sagging is an unavoidable fact and can be due to various other reasons like breastfeeding, genetics, weight loss or gain, smoking, etc. and thus proving the effect of wearing bras to sleep with all these factors can be very difficult to measure.

He says that wearing a bra to sleep is inessential because while you lay down on the bed, gravity pushes the breasts towards your chest, which goes opposite the sagging theory in which gravity pulls down the breasts towards your toes.

Q. What Happens if you Don’t Wear a Gym Bra?

Wearing a bra gives the required support to your breasts while working out or even walking. Not wearing one can lead to discomfort, breast pain, and also hunching. Studies say that not wearing a bra over a period of time can lead to sagging breasts.

Q. Is it OK to Run without A Bra?

A big no-no! Running makes your breasts move up and down constantly, and not wearing a bra while running can cause severe breast pain. Not just this, it can make the breast ligaments lose its strength, leading to saggy breasts.

Now that you know how important it is to wear a sports bra for your workout, ensure to invest in a good one following the tips mentioned above to reap the health benefits that it provides.

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