"I love to work out at my gym, but I don't always know what I'm going to do until I get there. Can you help me pick a sports bra that won't let me down regardless of how I'm working it?"> back
June 11, 2011
What's unique (and what I love!) about going to a great fitness club is that you are faced with an amazing variety of workout options! Which means that your sports bra requirements can also vary a lot depending on what you choose. I'm going to break things down into a few simple categories:
Clearly cardio! One of the super advantages of club workouts is the great selection of low impact cardio machines such as ellipticals, climbers, stationery bikes and rowing machines, which boost your cardio fitness but don't provoke nearly as much bounce as running. Because the girls stay calmer on these machines, you may be fine with a medium support sports bra, especially if you're C cup or smaller–but wear whatever support level makes you feel secure and comfortable. If you do hit the treadmill for a jog, the high motion control demands on your sports bra are the same as for outdoor running.
Pump it up! When you're strength training at your club, support may be less important in your sports bra but don't compromise on a design that gives you a comfortable range of motion in your arms and chest. Make sure your bra is not too tight around your ribs so you can breathe properly during lifts and that straps don't slip during reps. Check for cleavage control during moves like bent-over rows–you want your focus to be on your technique, not whether or not your girls are going to stay in your sports bra!
Spinning up a sweat! Riding indoors doesn't provoke bounce, but a room full of sweaty bodies on bikes can heat up quickly. Cool wicking fabrics and meshy ventilation panels in your sports bra are key to comfort. Bending and reaching forward to the handlebars during spin class makes your back longer and wider, so think about a little extra room or stretch in the back of your bra to help un-stress neck and shoulders.
Basketball tests it all! If hitting the court at your gym is your favorite intense and absolutely fun workout, your sports bra has to deal with uber-bounce when you fast-break or come down hard with a rebound. Then there's all that reaching, stretching and bending when you're hustling on offense/defense. So in addition to high support, look for straps that resist slipping. Your best bets are either a racerback style or adjustability in a more conventional strap to give you enough stretch to prevent the dreaded 'riding up' when your arms reach overhead, but enough snugness to stay put on your shoulders.
Class act! Group workouts can be all over the map when it comes to support and range-of-motion demands. If your favorite involves weights, resistance bands, kettlebells, or exercise balls, check the strength training sports bra reco's above. For anything with jumping, plyometrics or martial arts moves, check out the basketball reco above. If you groove on something mellower, such as Pilates or yoga, make sure your bra has well-padded hooks in back so your concentration and relaxation is not spoiled by a sharp poke.
Cross-training–having it all! Because it's so easy to cross-train under the same roof, you may actually end up doing a variety of high and low impact moves, all in the same club visit. So unless you're willing to keep hopping back to the dressing room for a wardrobe change between equipment switches, you want to pick workout gear (including your sports bra) that can easily take you from one gig to the next. Here's the sports bra strategy I recommend to get you comfortably through a multi-sport session:
• Start with your 'must-have' support level–choose a bra that can stand up to the highest impact activity of your workout session, and work in other features from there.
• If you need a high support sports bra, picking one with adjustable straps and/or bottom band will let you loosen things up a bit on your chest and shoulders when it's time for yoga, stretching and other flexibility/core work on the mat.
• Many high support sports bras come with 'racerback' strap styling that gives great arm range-of-motion for strength training and group classes, even in cup sizes up to DD (like Champion's 1694 Powerback Underwire Sports Bra). So you don't have to sacrifice freedom for support.
• If your sports bra has good stretch or adjustability in the bottom band and straps, you'll be able to easily adapt it to the bent-over crouch of your spinning class.
Inside or out, I hope you have an amazing fitness weekend!
Introducing Champion's Sports Bra Expert - LaJean Lawson
In 1977, Champion Activewear invented the first sports bra, called the Jogbra®, made from two jockstraps sewn together. The realization that women also needed support for their assets was the catalyst for Champion Activewear to apply innovation and technology to become the leader in the sports bra market.
In 1977, runner LaJean Lawson had just finished her first marathon with bleeding sores on her shoulders and chest from a bra that did anything but support. Her search for a solution eventually led to the discovery of her life's passion–sports bras!
Today, Champion Activewear is thrilled to offer Dr. Lawson as a resource to help you solve your sports bra problems. While Dr. Lawson has gained critical knowledge from scientific research, the best education she's had about sports bra needs has come from the thousands of women she has spoken to at races and events, as well as those who help her test Champion products.
Whether it's your shoes or your sports bra, your workout happiness depends on finding the gear that's just right for your size and activity level, and that's exactly why we're here to help!