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Strap In!

Strap In!

When it comes to sports bras, a goal we should have is comfortable straps. Straps carry a lot of weight-literally- for the overall fit and support of a sports bra, particularly if you are a full bust woman. 

The single most important role of sports bra straps is to make sure you feel secure in your sports bra. In order to fulfill this role, straps do so with the following characteristics:

  • They keep the sports bra in place during physical activities. 
  • When properly fitted, they provide added support to your sports bra.
    • Ill fitted straps can be a problem. If the straps are too big, they will slide off your shoulders. They will dig into your shoulders if they are too tight. 

There are several options to choose from when it comes to straps. There are non-adjustable and adjustable straps, with various feature combinations for each, ranging from thin straps vs. wide straps, crisscross vs. straight straps, and cute vs. functional. 

Which strap combination reigns supreme for your workout needs? Let's find out!

Thin Straps             

Thin straps are popular for their sleek design which make them a fashion favorite. They offer a delicate aesthetic, perfect for those who prefer a more understated look during their workouts.   

Fans of thin straps argue that they offer greater freedom of movement, allowing shoulders to move more freely without feeling restricted. This can be particularly advantageous during activities that require extensive arm movement, such as yoga or Pilates. Additionally, thin straps are often favored by individuals with smaller busts, as they provide adequate support without feeling bulky or restrictive.

Wide Straps

Wide straps offer support and stability. These straps distribute weight more evenly across the shoulders, reducing the risk of discomfort or strain, especially during high-impact activities like running or aerobics.  

Fans of wide straps argue that they offer superior support, particularly for those with larger busts. Wide straps also have the added benefit of reducing the likelihood of straps digging into the shoulders, a common issue caused by the pressure of narrow straps digging into the skin.

Non-Adjustable Straps

Non-adjustable straps are great for those who love simplicity and a streamlined look. The straps are designed to stay in place and are ideal when the bra is made exactly for your body type. 

These are typically pullovers; however, you can find a few front or back closure bras with non-adjustable straps.  

Keep these two questions in mind while making your decision about non-adjustable straps:

  1. Are you anticipating gaining or losing weight? If so, non-adjustable is not for you. You want straps that will adjust to your needs as you gain or lose weight. 
  2. How well does standard sizing work for you? If standard sizing works great for you, SUPER! You will likely find your fit with non-adjustable straps.

Adjustable Straps

Now, let's switch gears to the adjustable straps. Versatility is the name of the game here. These bras come with customizable straps, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your unique body shape.

These straps can be customized using hook and eyes, Velcro, or sliders like your regular bras. 

Hook and eyes can stay in place so you have your own customized strap where it needs to be when you need it. 

When kept in place, Velcro will last just as long as hook and eye. With a lot of adjustment, the life of the Velcro will decrease. 

Need more support? Tighten those straps! Want a bit more freedom of movement? Loosen them up! The adjustable strap is all about giving you control over your comfort.

Keep these two questions in mind while making your decision about adjustable straps: 

  1. Are you anticipating changes with your body due to gaining or losing weight? As menstruators, something to keep in mind is that your breasts will change during that time of the month. If you are looking for some relief from your sports bra during that time, adjustable straps will be a better option for you. 
  2. Could your breasts benefit from the support that comes when they are lifted? If so, adjustable straps are your friend!

Which straps are for you?

Which combination of straps is right for you? It ultimately depends on your preferences and workout routine. Non-adjustable sports bras are straightforward and easy to use, while adjustable ones offer that personalized fit.

Whether you're Team Non-Adjustable with wide straps or Team Adjustable with thin straps (or a different combination),  the key is to find what makes you feel confident and supported during your workouts.

Let us know in the comments below which team you are on.

Know when to tell your sports bra byeeee!

Know when to tell your sports bra byeeee!

This may sound a bit silly but is actually important – knowing when it's time to say byeee to your trusty sports bra and welcome a new one into your life. We all have that one sports bra that has been with us through countless workouts, but just like anything else, they have a shelf life. 

For active women, a reliable sports bra is an essential piece of athletic gear. It provides the necessary support and comfort to enhance your performance during workouts. Let’s find out when it's time to say goodbye to the old and bring in the new!

Loosey Goosey

One of the first signs that your sports bra is on its last straps is a noticeable loss

loose straps

of elasticity. If your sports bra has lost its shape or elasticity, it's definitely time to part ways. Over time, the fabric and elastic fibers that provide support begin to wear out, leading to reduced compression and bounce control.  A good sports bra should provide you with the support you need during your sweat sessions, and once it starts feeling loose or stretched out, it's not doing its job properly. Yes, you hired your sports bra to work for you, not against you. 

The Wear and Tear is Real

Another sign it's time to upgrade is if the fabric is wearing thin or showing signs of wear and tear. Take a close look at your sports bra. Are there any visible signs of wear and tear, such as faded fabric, pilling, or frayed seams? You want your sports bra to keep everything in place securely, so any signs of damage means it's time to let it go. If you find that your sports bra is no longer hugging you as snugly as it once did, it might be a clear indicator that it's time for an upgrade.

A change in the design of the sports bra due to wear and tear can result in reduced support during high-impact activities, putting you at risk of discomfort or injury.

If you find yourself wearing a worn out sports bra just because it’s a sports bra, please don’t. Putting on a sports bra with no support is not helpful or healthy for you. When you wear a sports bra, make sure you have the support you need to take on the workout ahead. 

Changes in Fit

As our bodies change over time, so does the fit of our clothing, including sports bras. If you've recently experienced weight loss, gain, or changes in your chest size, your current sports bra may no longer be providing the best support it once did. Keep an eye on how your sports bra fits and consider investing in a new one if you notice any significant changes.

Changes can include the sports bra being too tight if you have gained weight. The fit of the sports bra can be too loose if you have lost weight. If you are on a weight loss or weight gain journey, Keep in mind that you will likely go through several sizes in sports bras. 

Uncomfortable Chafing

Let's not forget about the comfort factor! If you're experiencing chafing, irritation,

chafing

or if your sports bra doesn’t feel comfortable during your workouts, it's a clear sign that it's time to move on. Your workouts should be enjoyable and pain-free, so don't let an old sports bra hold you back! Ignoring this discomfort can lead to skin irritation and impact your overall workout experience. 

Aging is a thing for sports bras

Like any garment, sports bras have a shelf life. Even if your sports bra seems to be holding up well, consider its age. If you've been using the same sports bra consistently for a year or more, it might be time to give it up. Regular wear and washing can take a toll on the fabric and elasticity, reducing its effectiveness over time.

To keep your sports bras lasting longer, wash in cold water and let them air dry. There is no need to have them going through their own workout in the washer and dryer. For more tips on keeping your sports bra in shape, check out this blog post.

Have a supportive workout companion

Your sports bra plays a crucial role in your active lifestyle, providing the support and comfort you need to excel in your workouts. Knowing when to say bye to your sports bra is essential for maintaining peak performance and preventing discomfort or injury. Keep an eye out for signs of wear and tear, loss of elasticity, changes in fit, uncomfortable chafing, and the overall age of your sports bra. By staying attentive to these factors, you'll be better informed to make the decision to part with your current sports bra and welcome a new, supportive companion into your fitness journey.

Remember, investing in a new sports bra not only ensures you have the support you need but also gives you the confidence to conquer any workout that comes your way. Embrace the change, treat yourself to a new sports bra, and keep rocking your active lifestyle in comfort!

Recycle, don’t throw it away 

When you part with your old sports bra, don’t throw it away as it will end up in a

the bra recyclers

landfill. If it is gently used and can find a home with another woman, donate it!  You can recycle it with The Bra Recyclers

What Is Going On When the Breasts Bounce?

What Is Going On When the Breasts Bounce?

What happens to breasts when they bounce? 

We may not notice the changes in our breasts immediately, but something is definitely going on when we don't have the support to keep the breast from bouncing.

Think about it. What goes up must come down. And sometimes coming down results in unintended stretching.

Our breasts are made up of tissue. We have to be mindful to take care of them as best we can or they will change shape a lot faster than we intended.

Let's take a moment to learn about a very important part of our bodies. Our breasts.

The breasts are composed of glandular tissue, fat, and ligaments, all suspended within the chest wall. During physical activity or even everyday movements, the breasts experience a certain degree of bounce. This movement is influenced by factors such as breast size, elasticity of the skin, and the strength of Cooper's ligaments, which provide support.

The ups and downs and side to side.

bounce

Breasts not only move up and down, but side to side. In fact, they move in a figure-8 motion while running. While many women want the bounce to be reduced from the motion associated with jumping (that IS how we test sports bras, correct?), we have to be mindful that there are other motions in play. 

Breast pain can be attributed to ill-fitting sports bras that do not support the three dimensional motion of breasts during running. Sports bra cups with stitching are designed to reduce the breast from moving up and down and side to side. This can be helpful when choosing a sports bra for medium to high impact activities. 

Cooper's Ligaments 

coopers ligaments

Cooper's ligaments are crucial connective tissues that help maintain the shape of the breast. Think about them like the wood that frames the inside of

a house. Now, the ligaments are not as sturdy as the wood, but we can see how the framing of our breast is set and the support the ligaments provide.

Excessive and unsupported bouncing can strain these ligaments, leading to loss of elasticity over time. This can result in sagging, a common concern for many women. Wearing a properly fitted sports bra during physical activity can significantly reduce the strain on these ligaments, mitigating the long-term effects.

As we age, change in shape due to weight, or have pregnancies, the ligaments begin to stretch and our breasts will naturally begin to sag. What else contributes to the sag? The BOUNCE!

Bounce

The bounce is a stressor to the breast. The larger the breast, the more they weigh. The more they weigh, the more intense the bounce is. 

running

Selecting the appropriate sports bra is crucial for minimizing breast bounce and preventing long-term damage. Consider factors such as the level of impact associated with your chosen activity, your breast size, and personal comfort preferences. Compression bras work well for smaller breasts, while encapsulation bras are more suitable for larger cup sizes, providing individual support for each breast.

The less bouncing your breasts have to do, the longer you can keep them from sagging.

Sagging

sagging

Sagging is going to happen eventually and cannot be reversed naturally.  There are some exercises we can incorporate into our daily lives that will help strengthen the chest muscles, which we will get to shortly.

Remember those ligaments? Well, as the ligaments stretch, they provide less support, causing the breast to sag.

Pain

Women often experience discomfort or pain during physical activities due to breast bounce.

breast pain

This is especially true for those with larger breasts. High-impact activities like running or jumping can exacerbate the issue. Investing in a sports bra that provides both compression and encapsulation can help minimize discomfort by reducing movement and providing better support.

 

 

 

The Perks (pun intended)

We now know that our breasts will not remain as perky as we would like for them to be.

We can purchase bras that make us look perky. We can also do exercises that will help strengthen the ligaments, lift chest muscles, and slow down the inevitable of sagging breasts.

Hey, if men can tone up their breasts, surely we can too! Don't let the extra weight we have to carry in that area fool you. It is important to note that the results will not be drastic and the building up of those muscles, particularly with larger breasts, may not look any different on the surface. It's quite likely that we won't get back to being as perky as we'd like, but something is better than nothing. Right?

Incorporate the following exercises into your daily routine to strengthen the chest muscles.

*Please consult your physician before performing any physical activity.

Cobra pose

 cobra pose

Start by laying flat on the ground with your hands flat and arms bent next to your chest.

Slowly raise your chest off the ground until your arms are straight.

Slowly lower your chest to the ground.

Repeat. 3 sets of 8 reps.

Push ups

push up

Start by ensuring your body is straight (not bent).

Depending on your comfort level, place your hands shoulder width apart (or wider, if needed).

Modify push ups by bending knees to the ground.

Repeat 3 sets of 12 reps.

Dumbbell behind the head

dumbbell

Start by holding the dumbbell in both hands at your chest.

Raise over your head towards your back, keeping your elbows bent.

Raise back in front of your chest.

Repeat 3 sets of 8 reps.

bounceless sports bra

Take time to take care of your breasts during physical activity by wearing a sports bra that provides the support you need.

For daily support, ensure you are wearing the correct size bra that provides support so that your breasts are supported, not just covered.

With the right support, our breasts can maintain their strength structure.