Yesterday, I went to the movies with a good friend and fellow strongwoman competitor. We got into the discussion of sports bras and she commented with a laugh, “Do you own more than 10 sports bras?!” Actually, yeah, I’m pretty sure I do. Considering these things get more use than just the hour and a half in the gym. I go through sports bras the way average women go through purses or shoes. …but why not? Some weeks, I spend more time wearing a sports bra than a normal bra. Heck there are times where my normal bras do not come out of a drawer until the weekend.
Ladies, lets face it. We’ve all been down this road. You are standing there, in some random store -Target, Dick’s, T.J.Maxx and you are looking at a shelf, a rack or a neatly folded pile of sports bras and you are just standing there. Dreading even starting this process. Looking left, then right, no sale associate in sight…not that it would matter, most of them are clueless anyway. So you take a deep breath, grab a couple and head to a fitting room. How far do you get? How many did you successfully try on before giving up? …and by successful, I mean how many did you manage to get on and off without getting stuck in one. Lets face it at one time or another we’ve all been stuck in a sports bra…probably half way off too. Hell last spring I got stuck in one, thankfully I was at home; I was half begging my at the time boyfriend to cut the cursed thing off, he thought it was funny.
I think every woman who has ever worn one knows the annoyance with finding the right fit. I constantly see the standard sports bra question posted in different women’s lifting groups…asking for suggestions, favorites, etc. With literally hundreds of styles and brands to choose from, it can become frustrating and discouraging without some focal point or directions.
Years ago, when I was doing Crossfit, one brand covered it. I could wear it for hours and not have an issue. Being a first responder, I have work in sports bras for hours on end without any issue. Yeaaaa, the end of an 18 hour shift, there might be a few red marks along my neck, but no big deal.
Fast forward to becoming a strongman competitor.
Wearing a sports bra for 10 minutes, holy fuck I’m dying this torture device is severing my traps in half…. GET. IT. OFFFF!!! I’m pretty sure I have driven home, with one strap (or both) pulled over my shoulders and whimpering a few times in the past couple weeks. If I don’t change back into a normal bra before leaving the gym, the drive home can be a little rough.
I should back up and say, last month I slept funny and for several weeks I had a weird twitch in my right trap. This is the longest it lasted…and before anyone pipes up, yes I did go to the doc’s. I have just been that abusive on them during this training cycle, or Brandon’s programming has been that abusive and I’m not backing down. The twitch…knot in my trap eventually subsided, but since I kept on training it just took four times as long. Trust me, waking up and finally being rid of it, I wanted to dance some kind of weird bizarre stupid happy dance.
I have literally gotten to the point, that I rub the inside seam or a strap, with my index and thumb debating if this is the bra I am going to wear for training today, or if I’m looking for a different one. I have had FB, text message and even IG conversations with other women, usually fellow strength athletes (because they understand the pain best) about sports bras… Usually this is because I see them wearing one I love and I want a fit/quality review and size comparison (lol).
Which brings me to the thought of low cut sports bras… Sweet baby Judas Priest!!! Ok, I get it, you gals who were luck enough to lose most of your boobs getting into heavy training might love the low cut, but me, hellFUCKno! I do not want to be readjust after every set, putting the girls back in where they belong. Dear god the thought of a “wardrobe malfunction” like that just makes me want to set fire to a sports bra.
So to kick off my opinion of some store bought sports bras, I’ll start with Target’s brand. No, just absolutely no. Zero support, cheap and by that I mean they do not stand up in the washing machine…and I am not hand washing sports bras. Some of Target’s designs have become cuter over the past few years, trying to hold their own against the big name brands. However at twenty bucks a pop, maybe twenty five… the designs are cheap. So if I’m looking for a lazy lay around the house thing, yeah I guess.
Moving along, this is Nike’s idea of support (and torture) which any woman who has tried to run with DDs knows , support is a MUST!
I have worn Nike for years and let me just say it is a decent quality product and it will hold up in the washer and dryer with years of abuse! I had some that were going on six years old and aside from the Nike “swoosh” having cracked and worn off, the material and stitching was in great condition! So this is in no way a dis on Nike’s quality…but motherfucker those straps are are trap destroyer!! I can barely tolerate the sports bra for my leg day workouts and it has got to come off!!! The Nike Pro has been my go to for years, and I do mean years. However, the shoulder straps on those are no where near friendly on traps. Which sucks, because they do pin the twins down and trust me when you are running around with double ds, literally, restrain and lack of movement is a big priority
Next up, Victoria’s Secret Sport or VSX, their entire angle is anti uni-boob. Which frankly, when I’m training I could give a damn about “uni-boob.” I’m not in the gym to look cute or sexy, I need comfort in my training clothes and function! Which lets face it, function will win over comfort, most the time. Case in point, how I continue to wear the Nike torture device on leg day….because sprints, that’s why, sprints. Oh, one other thing against VSX….the infamous strongman lift: log! Have you tried to clean a log with large boobs?!? Yeaaaaa… You’re gonna need those baby girls pinned the hell down other wise they act as speed bumps and well, you’re totally screwed then! Trust me. It’s happened. Lesson learned.
Don’t get me wrong, some of the VSX are super cute…ok, not so much in the recent catalog, it’s all that font closure which is nothing more than a regular bar under the zipper -which, seriously, what the fuck is that?!?! If I’m putting on a sports bra it’s because I need the twins contained and supported for training. Not to pick up a date in the cardio section of your local globo gym. Ok, so that is just one more point on how far from a standard girl I am.
But good points to VSX, if you pick a back closure, it’s just like a normal bra, making the tightness of the band adjustable. POINTS. Also, there are some selections that make the shoulder straps adjustable…which in the case of a smaller chest would be good. But too loose straps for me completely negates the support.
Heck even the nicer Under Armor ones, with adjustable straps… less than 15 minutes from finishing my workout I am pulling at the straps trying to let my traps…breath more? I know I could open the strap more but then, it would be kind of pointless, the straps would be way too loose and ending the whole point of a sports bra. Sadly, also this one, if it is a solid color has wayyyy to much give. It’s not something you notice trying it on or looking at it in the store…sadly. But during the train this one literally stretches out. Something I definitely do NOT want my sports bra doing!! Also being a 34DD, this puts me in the size chart of a medium. Ok. That’s kind of flattering at 5’10” and 190 pounds…until you realize how low cut that makes the front. Basically giving you kind of an 1800s corset look. EEK.
I invested in 1 Lululemon bra (purple one -is called Energy) mid summer, not bad at all! The multiple straps seem to distribute the tension over my traps. So I took a gamble and went for a second one (looks hot pink) again another successful investment!
The only downside to Lululemon bras is the cost… They are just shy of the most costly sports bras, I personally have dropped cash into. The only ones to beat them out, Victoria’s Secret.
As of now, the Lulu’s have become my favorite. While the bands are not as tight as Nike or the adjustable VSX; the Lulu’s are breathable. Plus, you can still find super cute designs even at a larger chest size. Two thumbs way up for this. The only down side I have to these…removable padding. Lulu, just sew that stuff in!
-Inked Amazon Warrior