Picking the best sports bra depends on several factors, especially if you're on the larger size

Whether you're jogging, spinning, weight training or doing a yoga class, being active can be a strain on your body. But most women don't protect their breasts. So we went looking for answers.

Paula Jager, owner and personal trainer at Crossfit Jaguar in South Tampa, has some words of advice on what you should wear.

"You do get what you pay for. It's just like going out and getting a pair of shoes for the activity," Jager said.

And it starts with knowing there are two types of workout bras, according to Dr. Barbara Morris of USF Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.

"One is a compression bra, and that's a bra that's just tight fitting. It's almost like wrapping an ace wrap around you," Morris said.

The other kind of workout bra is encapsulating.

"You can see that there are molds for each side of the breast. And so the idea is that this would support the individual breast a little bit better," she said.

Morris recommends encapsulating sports bras for larger breasted women doing high impact activities. But she said no matter what brand you chose, the most important part of the bra is the band.

"So you want to make sure it's fitted properly so that when you raise your hands over your head, it doesn't ride up. It's tight enough not to move, but not too tight to impede respiration," Morris said.

So when it comes to a sports bra's fit, look at the band. Some come with and without adjustments. But know that while a clasp may give you a better fit, it could also dig in depending on the activity.

Check out the straps because that's one of the biggest complaints women have.

"One is that the straps fall down, and two is that they dig into the shoulder," Morris said

A racerback design will make sure that the straps are secure. While some straps are adjustable, they come in metal and Velcro and, just like the clasp on the band, the metal may not be as comfortable.  

Morris said width matters too.

"These straps may be more uncomfortable because the idea is that the wider strap will disperse," she said.

No matter what the activity, you first need to know what your real size is with a professional fitting.

"There are many different brands and varieties and certain ones are going to better suit each woman," Morris added.          


Paula Jager
CrossFit Jaguar

Under Armour - The brand offers sports bras for three levels of activity: High impact, mid impact and low impact. Its encapsulated bras offer several options and can be purchased by the cup size rather than small, medium and large, which offers a better fit for the individual.

Personal favorite: Under Armour UA Seamless Essentials.  

Dr. DelRae Messer
Fit 4 Life

Lululemon, TaTa Tamer - For running
Champion, The Show-Off - Cross-training, weights, jumping, etc.
Juno, Moving Comfort - For women working out while breast-feeding
Under Armour, UA Still Gotta Have It - Cycling
ANEKA, Power Woman's sports bra - Yoga

Nicole Sturtze
Certified personal trainer

Sturtze was an ambassador for Lululemon for 2 1/2 years, so she admits she may be a little biased.

50 Rep Bra - For cross-training, boot camp and running
Energy Bra - Best for cycling, yoga and cross-train
In the Flow Bra -  Great for yoga

Victoria Secret Angel Sports Bra - Recommended for cross-train, cycling, boot camp

Nina Tamez-Mendez
Fitness Specialist, M.Ed.

Old Navy Racerback - This is a low-impact sports bra. Great for everyday wear under racerback tank tops or your favorite T-shirt. Very comfortable and enough compression to keep you secure.

Under Armour Seamless Racerback - Its super lightweight and feminine "scoop" neck line are perfect for low-impact activities like yoga.

Under Armour HeatGear Racerback - Its super snug, second-skin fit allows for a "locked-in" feel. Very comfortable for mid-impact activities. The stretchy elastic band delivers a custom comfort  fit.