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Sports Bras 101 - Tish Monahan

Sports Bras 101

Anecdotally, we know that women often use their breasts as a barrier to activity, or as a reason to avoid doing certain activities or drills.

However, this was demonstrated more scientifically during a recent study in the UK, which found that..

…a whopping 17 per cent of women opted out of an activity due to their breasts. In many cases they claimed their boobs were a bigger deterrent to exercise than time or money.

Did you know the average breast size in Australia is now 12DD? With boobs getting bigger and women becoming more active, sports bras are going to be something we all get to learn more about in the future.

For those that haven’t experienced the impact of bouncing breasts, I can assure you that the struggle is real. An unsupported E cup breast (which is not much bigger than the average) has been reported to displace up to 19cm during activity. This sort of excessive movement can do long term damage to the already weak naturally support structures of the breast, cause significant breast pain, and result in confidence crushing embarrassment.

When it comes to sports bras here’s what you need to know.

Fit is the most important feature
If a bra doesn’t fit perfectly then it has no chance of functioning well. Naturally, the most important part of the bra fit is most commonly the part that women get wrong. That is, the band that runs around our ribcage. This is responsible for taking upwards of 80% of the weight of the breast and works to resist breast displacement during activity. This means if the band is too loose then the weight of the breast is shifted to the shoulders and breast displacement is not controlled while exercising.

Understand that crop tops and sports bras are not the same
While there is a time and place for pattern-cut crop tops produced in S, M, L sizing, their role should be limited to low impact activity. So the fit can be perfect, not just ‘near enough’, a sports bra must be produced in cup sizes (e.g. 12DD). Technical sports bras will also have undergone rigorous biomechanical testing in a purpose designed lab, will use technical fabrics, and will have been designed specifically to reduce tri-planar breast movement.

Non-underwired bras are not just for small boobs
There is a strong misconception that if you have large breasts your bra needs to have underwire. The actual role of an underwire is to deliver shape, so as to separate and round out your breasts. The underwire, however, does not stop your breasts from bouncing. Hoorah! This means that ladies of all shapes and sizes can go wire free if they want, so long as they are well fitted when using a technical sports bra.

Where can you send your clients for sports bras?
SheScience is a Melbourne-based sports bra store that specialises in catering for your clients with cup sizes A to J, and band sizes 6 to 24. We work with over 40 different styles from 13 industry leading brands so that we can meet the needs of every lady, regardless of their individual size, shape, activity demands and personal style preferences.

If you are not in Melbourne then seek out a local lingerie retailer to work with. You will find the small locally owned stores tend to offer more comprehensive and reliable fittings, as well as a range of product that caters for the varying size and shape of Australian women. If you’d like a specific recommendation feel free to get in contact with one of the SheScience staff, who’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

To find out more visit www.shescience.com.au

Article written by Tish Monahan for the What’s New in Fitness Magazine – Summer 2016 Edition.

View this article in the digital publication

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