Sports Bra Basics
Support is the most important feature to consider with a sports bra…and rightfully so, support is what a bra was made to do!
You want a sports bra that is is supportive enough to ensure your goods are not falling out or slapping you in the face and one that is comfortable enough that it doesn’t reduce blood flow or chafe your skin.
It is also important to mention that you should only need ONE sports bra on in order to provide the right support. If selected correctly you will not have to double down and wear layers of sports bras to control your chest.
CrossFit is one of the most demanding, versatile, and physical training programs out there, which makes a great fitting sports bra one of the most important pieces, if not the most important piece of CrossFit training gear for a woman.
Breasts, boobs, however you refer to your chest are basically soft lumps of tissue supported by a very thin ligament. With that being said, unless you have the proper support your soft lumps of tissue are bouncing all over the place.
However, with the right sports bra this pain, uncomfort, annoyance, etc can be controlled.
In the remainder of this article we are going to cover exactly what to look for when buying your next sports bra and provide several highly rated options for review.
To start, there are two main support styles. For those with a smaller cup size, a compression sports bra is best and most comfortable. Whereas a larger cup size will find an encapsulation style bra to be the most supportive and comfortable.
Compression Sports Bra vs Encapsulation Sports Bra
A compression sports bra is ideal for smaller breasts and are typically made of a spandex like material that secure and flatten breasts in order to provide support and hold them in place.
An encapsulation sports bra is ideal for larger breast as they utilize a seperate cup for individual breast support. These generally provide more support and feature additional benefits such as hook clasps and adjustable straps.
There are also compression encapsulation hybrid sports bras, and these typically provide the best overall support for high intensity workouts such as CrossFit. These bras use compression materials with encapsulation design to provide the most support and comfort for any breast size.
Once you decide what type of support is best for you it is important to consider the band, as this is a major part of your overall support.
Generally the thicker the band the better the support but for an ideal fit you’re going to want a band with a snug fit while not riding up while lifting or stretching.
The majority of sports bras are going to offer a small amount of padding to conceal your nipples but we recommend going for the thinnest sports bra you can get away with for overall comfort and breathability.
Wicking or cooling fabrics are the designed to move moisture away from your skin which allows your sweat to evaporate and cool you down.
Straps are another critical piece to overall support as they help to reduce bouncing and movement.
They come in a variety of styles while all providing different levels of support, but in general your sports bra straps should fit comfortably while providing limited material stretch. Too tight will inhibit your breathing and comfort while too loose will not provide adequate support, so look for something that you can fit one to two fingers between the strap and your shoulder for an ideal fit.
For the most comfortable fit you can look for adjustable straps but these are not available with all styles, so we will tell you about several styles that come in both standard and adjustable straps.
The crisscross back is just as it sounds, using several straps that intersect at different points in the bra which typically provide good support and can be found with standard and adjustable straps.
The tank top fit is one of the most popular and basic but also provides some of the best support as they tend to use wider straps that distribute weight better.
Racerback straps come together over the shoulder between your shoulder blades creating a shape similar to the letter “y.” They provide good support but are often only available in pull over styles with non adjustable straps.
A traditional back enclosure utilizing some form of hooking clasps are also available and offer additional adjustment. These are perfect for larger breasted women and are some of the easiest to put on and take off..but they tend to be a less stylish and sought after.
For additional support and style we recommend looking for sports bras with a higher neckline as they deter movement and keep breasts from popping out.
Once you have considered all of the options above you need to think style.
Sports bras come in endless colors, patterns, materials, brands, etc. Take the time to consider what features fit you best and then find the perfect combo for you.
The last and most important feature is comfort.
Regardless of support or style you are going to need to be comfortable, so consider all of the previously discussed features to find your perfect bra for ideal support and zero chafing.
With this in mind, these are the top sports bras for CrossFit!