Sports bras to help stabilize rocking breasts?

Originally Published: February 18, 2000 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: September 26, 2008
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Hi Alice,

I want to know which kind of upper clothes I have to wear when running. It's a shame to say, but my breasts are rocking while running. When I watched Jane Fonda's aerobic video, her breasts didn't move. Could you tell me what steps I must take?

Dear Reader,

While you didn't mention what you have tried wearing when you run, it sounds like you need some extra support on top. A properly fitted sports bra can do the trick. Poor-fitting bras promote uncontrolled and uncomfortable breast motions that increase with more vigorous physical activity, such as running and basketball. As a result, exercise can cause discomfort and soreness of the breasts.

When shopping for a sports bra, a good fit is the key. If you're an A or B cup, the "compression"-type bra will probably be sufficient. This style holds your breasts quite snugly and prevents them from bouncing. If you're a C cup or larger, you might want firmer support while exercising. The "encapsulation"-type sports bra may be a better bet, providing more support by separating each breast into a molded cup.

Regardless of the sports bra style, the following tips will help you find one that's comfortable and supportive enough for you:

  • Make sure the sports bra fits snugly to limit breast movement, but not so tightly that you have trouble breathing!
  • Stick with straps that are at least one-inch wide and adjustable to prevent painful digging in and annoying slippage off the shoulders. Some people prefer a Y-, T-, or racer-back style for this reason.
  • Choose a fabric that has limited up-down stretch for the most support possible.
  • Look for covered seams, which won't rub your skin raw.
  • Choose seamless cups — seams over the nipples could cause chafing.
  • Examine hooks and closures to be certain they're covered with fabric or coated with cushioning material.
  • Select a sports bra that's made from synthetic fibers (such as polypropylene, CoolMax®, Supplex®, or Lycra®) that breathe and wick moisture. Fabrics that absorb sweat, such as cotton, can feel uncomfortably wet, warm, and weighty.
  • If you have sensitive skin, applying some petroleum jelly to skin irritated by sports bra wear can provide some relief. Areas most prone to chafing include the ribcage (through contact with the chest elastic band), underarms (by the armholes), and shoulders (from the straps digging into the skin).

Try on various sports bras before buying one. Jog in place and jump up and down to see if it supports you adequately. Also check to see that wearing the bra doesn't limit your movements in any way. If you're still unsure, query an experienced lingerie salesperson at a department or specialty store. If all else fails, you can always inquire with a female exercise instructor about what works for her. Here's to happy (and rocking free) exercise!

Alice

September 25, 2008

21482
To the reader:

Being a 38DD, running has always been pretty painful because my bra couldn't hold me in place. I finally went in and asked a bra fitter what I could do. She fit in a 38DD cotton...

To the reader:

Being a 38DD, running has always been pretty painful because my bra couldn't hold me in place. I finally went in and asked a bra fitter what I could do. She fit in a 38DD cotton underwire and then a 40DD sports bra to wear on top. It looks funny but the support is phenomenal! I can run for hours on end pain-free, well no pain from my chest anyway. Hope that helps.

March 23, 2007

21213

Dear Reader,

If the sports bra isn't giving you the support you need to keep your breasts from bouncing so much, a 6" Ace bandage along with any bra will also do the trick. Wrap the...

Dear Reader,

If the sports bra isn't giving you the support you need to keep your breasts from bouncing so much, a 6" Ace bandage along with any bra will also do the trick. Wrap the ace bandage around the person over the bra once it is in place. I have used it on several of my athletes in the past, and they all said that it helped.

March 9, 2007

21190

Hi Alice,

I'd like to add to your response. I've had problems with bouncing breasts during exercise in the past — I'm generously endowed in the chest area. I've found that the best...

Hi Alice,

I'd like to add to your response. I've had problems with bouncing breasts during exercise in the past — I'm generously endowed in the chest area. I've found that the best solution is wearing both a good sports bra AND a regular bra underneath. I could not find a comfortable sports bra that would do the job alone, but if combined with the support of a normal one, the result is more than satisfactory.