How To Pick The Perfect Sports Bra
Personal trainer Devinder Bains from Fit Squad DXB tells you EVERYTHING you need to know about picking the right sports bra for your workout.
As a woman, there’s one very important hurdle you have to overcome before you can get stuck into your new fitness regime, before you can even step foot in the gym: finding the perfect sports bra. And it’s not a simple task, different types of training mean the need for different styles and different styles mean different sizes. The wrong sports bra doesn’t just look bad it can make your workout very painful.
It’s important to try your sports bra before purchase because it’s possible you’ll need a smaller or bigger size than your regular bra, whereas a tighter sports bra will help with support you need to make sure it doesn’t feel uncomfortable in any way. Pick a store like Sun & Sand Sports that cover a variety of brands and use the changing rooms to try each style and size to make sure it’s comfortable: double check the straps aren’t digging in, it doesn’t take an hour to get in and out of and most importantly it’s not too big. Even try a few star jumps or running on the spot to ensure there’s not too much bounce and then try a forward fold or a downward dog pose to make sure the breasts don’t fall out of place. If you’re not a fan of public changing rooms then order from somewhere like Namshi.com (which has a free delivery and free exchange policy) so you can test in the comfort of your own home. If you train regularly then you should think about changing your sports bra around every six months as they do start to stretch with wear and washing.
Need a little more help getting started? Worry not, we’ve put quite a few sports bras to the test and here’s the best ones for your chosen workout…
Which bra? Nike Pro Rival (High Support)
The details: Running is one of the most high impact exercises for the body so your sports bra needs to be able to stand a lot of movement. This bra was great for providing support, the moulded wire-free cups kept everything in place and reduced bounce and the elasticated chest band added further support and comfort during our 5K run.
What else is it good for? HIIT workouts
The details: This fashionable and lightweight sports bra is perfect for your asanas and it’s funky design will help you stand out in your yoga class. The seamless design and lack of cups or padding really helped with the flow of movement during our class and the high neck, racer back and heavy elasticated chest band helped add support to keep everything in place.
What else is it good for? Pilates or it’s pretty enough to wear to brunch
Which bra? Under Armour Eclipse Heather Sports Bra
The details: A boxing workout uses the whole body and can incorporate high impact exercises like skipping and footwork drills. This bra is advertised as mid to high impact but we found it extra supportive. We love the open back clasp and adjustable crisscross straps which make the bra so easy to get in and out of (no pulling over the head involved here) and they don’t restrict mobility in any way when throwing punches. The fabric is super-soft and breathable, the cups add extra structure and support.
What else is it good for? Running and larger sizes as it goes up to a 38DD
Which bra? lululemon Enlite Bra
The details: This super-high impact bra took two years to develop and if we’re honest – it’s pretty damn good. We put it through it’s paces with an hour long HIIT session that included everything from burpees to treadmill sprints and there was barely a wobble. This bras soft, seamless design (including stitch-free hook-and-eye closure) make this one of the most comfortable bras we tested.
What else is it good for? Small and large sizes alike as it goes from cups A through to E
Which bra? Under Armour Eclipse High Zip Sports Bra
The details: We loved this bra, it’s so easy to put on with the zip running up the front and it offers incredible support. The padded cups, soft adjustable criss-cross straps and a soft elastic base make it super comfortable too. We put it through it’s paces with a CrossFit WOD and it withstood every test of strength and cardio that was thrown at it.
What else is it good for? HIIT and high impact sports like tennis
Sport: Spin (indoor cycling)
Which bra? Adidas Pharrell NYC Bra
The details: If looking cool is as important as burning calories when it comes to your spin class then this is the bra for you. We wore this cute number from loveable pop legend Pharrell to our indoor cycling class at Motion and the stretchable and soft nylon fabric with breathable lining kept us looking and feeling cool as we got our sweat on. We loved it so much we even gave it a wash and wore it on a night out.
What else is it good for? Strength training and yoga
Sport: Multi-sport for larger sizes
Which bra? Nike Motion Adapt (High Support)
The details: This bra is comfortable, gorgeous to look at, multifunctional in it’s use: perfect for running, CrossFit and yoga, and goes up to size XL which is the equivalent of a UK size 20-22. We tried out the large size (suitable for UK sizes 16 to 18) on a 30 minute HIIT session followed by a 30-minute strength training session and it felt brilliantly supportive and comfortable throughout.
What else is it good for? It’s a great all rounder, try it for cycling, tennis and bootcamps too
Sport: Calisthenics / bodyweight training
Which bra? Adidas by Stella McCartney Committed Bra
The details: For a discipline like calisthenics which requires gymnastics-like movements you need a bra that will allow plenty of movement whether you’re doing a pull-up or upside down in a handstand. The stretchable fabric, adjustable straps and size options on the hook-eye closure made sure that our mobility wasn’t restricted in any way.
What else is it good for? Bootcamps, running and HIIT
Sport: Strength Training
Which bra? Under Armour Women's Armour Crossback Sports Bra with Compression
The details: This was the surprise success story of all the bras we tested. Cheap and cheerful we weren’t expecting the world from this mid-impact bra but it aced the strength training we put it through (it was legs and shoulders day) and was so comfortable during the warm up jog we tested it out on a 3K run too and it passed with flying colours (probably not ideal if you’re over a C-cup).
What else is it good for? The removable padding make it a good lightweight option for yoga.