August 19, 2011
Question of the Week: “I’m totally happy with my breast implants—but I could use some advice on picking the best sports bra style to fit and support them. Any special concerns I need to be aware of?”
Great question, and because I’ve investigated the motion of both natural and ‘enhanced’ breast motion in the biomechanics lab, I do have some insights to share.
Here’s the scoop for those of you who’ve completely recovered from your procedure and have your surgeon’s go-ahead to return to full activity:
Less Jiggle! First, when it comes to support (which you definitely need more of when you move up to a bigger cup size), there’s good news for you! Implants are a little stiffer than natural breast tissue, so there’s less elastic ‘stretch-and-recover’ hi-jinx going on with the ‘girls’ during high-impact moves. That means less overall breast motion for ‘implant’ D cups compared to ‘natural’ D cups—even in the same sports bra—which is a big deal if you like to kick it hard during your workout. Newer implants can be made of less dense materials than natural breast tissue, which means you can get fuller curves with less weight on your sports bra shoulder straps, another obvious bonus.
Stretch to Fit. The downside of implants that are more firm and perky is that they may fill out the cup of your favorite encapsulation sports bra differently than a softer natural breast that wants to ‘settle’ in the bottom half of the cup. To get best fit and eliminate unflattering wrinkles, look for a sports bra cup with a touch of stretch in it to guarantee the fabric will hug your ‘girls’ smoothly and evenly.
Underwire or No Wire? Implants or au naturale, a major sports bra priority is making sure you get a comfy, non-chafing fit. With implants, the rub can come because the width of their base may not match up with bra cup underwires designed for natural breasts. The ‘semi-circle’ that defines the lower half of your implant can be either narrower or wider than a natural breast of the same cup size. It can depend on your previous bra size, how many cup sizes you went up with your implants, and which ‘expert’ you talk to (yes, really, some say implants are always wider, some say they are inevitably narrower than natural breast tissue!).
Because of this shape variation, some bra fitters recommend sports bras without underwires (which are a little more forgiving fit-wise) for post-implant workouts. But if you’re like many of the active gals with implants who prefer the stable anchoring of a well-fitted underwire in their sports bra, feel free to sleuth out one that fits and works for you. Just make sure the wire is well-cushioned, and that its curve matches yours and rests totally on your chest, not your implant.
If you have a personal question about implants and sports bras, I hope you’ll leave me a confidential message at the “Ask the Expert” tab. I‘d love to get back to you with an individualized answer ASAP!
Have a wonderful workout week!