May 14, 2011
I’m not a racquet sports girl (yet!), so for some back-up in writing this post, I watched a fabulous, high-intensity women’s tennis match on YouTube. Seeing two world-class athletes playing all out, it is amazingly clear: Racquet sports put your bra to one of the toughest tests on the planet!
Whether it’s tennis, racquetball, squash or badminton , when it comes to covering the full court we’re talking a need for super speed, incredible agility and constant, abrupt changes of direction. All of which intensify breast motion in the three dimensions we’ve discovered in sports bra research.
Here’s what happens, along with all the ways a great sports bra can help you deal with it:
Up-and-Down Bounce: All that running and jumping around the court produces vertical breast motion. It may not be continuous running like racing a 5-K, but you can still generate a huge and uncomfortable amount of bounce. To keep everything (body and breasts) moving as a unit, make sure your sports bra has a high or maximum motion control rating.
Side-to-Side Sway: Those awesome forehand and backhand strokes that you work so hard to perfect demand lots of ‘left-right-left’ upper body rotation, which leads to side-to-side breast movement. And your great lateral moves across the court, baseline to baseline, produce ‘east-west’ breast travel as well. Sports bras with ‘stability’ bands and panels along the outer edges of the cups will help minimize unwanted side-to-side action.
In-and-Out Surge: Dashing forward or back-peddling with abrupt stops produces in-and-out breast motion. To better visualize it, think of your breasts being propelled straight forward away from your body, and then flying straight back and smooshing against your ribs. To curb the surge, look for firm cups in an ‘encapsulation’ style or strong compression in a pullover sports bra.
Other problems you can solve with the right sports bra:
- The Dreaded ‘Riding Up.’ Reaching overhead to serve can cause your bra’s bottom band to shift up and rest on your breast, which is both highly annoying and unattractive! If you find yourself constantly pulling the band back down where it belongs, it’s time to look for a heftier, adjustable rib band that lets you customize the fit and create a firm anchor that won’t ride up.
- Slipping Straps. It can be tricky finding straps that don’t slip but still give you free and easy arm movement. The pressure of too-tight straps can be restrictive as well as uncomfortable. A racerback sports bra will eliminate slippage and give you the most arm freedom. If your fav style has a more conventional strap design, just make sure there’s enough adjustability to fine-tune the amount of shoulder pressure.
- Cross-Body ‘Interference.’ If you’re well-endowed, ‘the girls’ may compete for the space you need to reach across your body when you’re hitting a backhand shot. A sports bra that minimizes your curves (look for rounded cups or a high compression pullover design) will snug everything in closer and help create the space you need for cross-body arm action.
- Buckets of Sweat! We don’t always think of racquet sports as endurance sports. At least I was amazed to discover that the longest recorded match in women’s pro tennis is 6 hours, 31 minutes which is a lot of perspiration to manage! Fast-dry, wicking fabrics in your sports bra are absolutely essential to keeping court time comfortable, and you in championship form!
Hey, I’m not a tennis player, so if I’ve missed anything here, I hope you’ll share your own tips! What are your ‘must-haves’ in a bra for racquet sports: Colors? Neckline style? Fabrics? Or...?
Have a wonderful week, on or off the courts!