No matter what exercises you enjoy, having a sports bra that fits correctly can make all the difference in the world in terms of your form, confidence, and endurance. The problem? Most women don't wear the correct bra size out in the world, much less in the gym. If you find it hard to enjoy working out because of the aches and pains you feel in your shoulders, back, and chest, your sports bra might be the problem. It's time to educate ourselves on how to know if a sports bra is too big or too small so that we can enjoy exercising again.
Step 1: Know How Much Support You Need
Generally, sports bras are sold in three different levels of support: low, medium, and high. The support level that you need depends on the activities that you do. Low impact exercises aren't going to require much vigorous movement, but the high impact exercises are the ones that cause your breasts to bounce around. Here are some examples of the low, medium, and high impact exercises for reference:Low impact exercises:
Medium impact exercises:
riding a bicycle,
High impact exercises:
Since most people don't dedicate themselves to just one form of fitness, it'd be good to stock up on a few bras with different levels of support. That way, you can wear one bra when you go running and another for your yoga class.Step 2: How to Measure Yourself
First, use inches to measure around your rib cage, just below your breasts. Go ahead and write down that measurement; it'll tell you your band size, which is the number you see on bra size tags. For example, if you saw a bra that was a 36A, you'd know that the band size was 36 inches around the rib cage.
Here's a helpful table for determining your band size from your ribcage measurement:
25-27 inches = 30
27-29 inches = 32
29-31 inches =
31-33 inches = 36
33-35 inches = 38
35-37 inches = 40
37-39 inches = 42
39-41 inches = 44
Now that you know your band size, you need to determine your cup size. To do that, measure around the fullest part of your breast. Got that number? Good! Now subtract the number I told you to write down earlier from the number you just measured. For example, if your rib cage was 36 inches and the fullest part of your breast measured 42 inches, you would subtract 36 from 42: 42 inches - 36 inches = 6 inches.
Once you have that number, check out the table below to find your cup size:
3 = AA
4 = A
5 = B
6 = C
7 = D
8 = DD
9 = E
Step 3: Trial and Error
The above steps should help you find your perfect bra size, but the best way to find a great bra is to go try some on. Your bra should feel snug but not tight. The fabric on the cups should be smooth, and any underwire from your bra should lie flat against your ribcage. Raise your arms above your head. Does the band ride up? That means your bra is either too big or that the straps need to be adjusted. Before buying a bra, test it out a little: jump around, swing your arms--see how it feels to move in it. If everything seems right, you've got a winner, and if not, it's okay to keep searching! Not every bra is created equally. Try out different brands until you find the one that's perfect for you.
We hope these tips and tricks will be helpful when it's time for you to go sports bra shopping. Don't be one of the women who choose the wrong bra size: give yourself the support you need by measuring yourself for the right size today!