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High-impact exercise is any exercise in which both of your feet leave the ground at the same time. Think: running, burpees, or basically any exercise that requires jumping.
It can be an incredible way to lose weight and body fat and increase physical fitness. Some
Even though it has a ton of benefits, high-impact exercise also puts a lot of stress on your body. That means a highly supportive sports bra is a necessity in order to prevent breast pain, sagging, and decreased athletic performance while working out.
Most sports bra manufacturers label their bras according to the impact level they offer. However, there are still specific design elements you should look out for to make sure you’re wearing the right sports bra for the exercise you’re doing.
The list below features our top picks for the best high-impact sports bras. These are the factors we took into consideration for each pick:
- Support. For high-impact activity, we gravitate toward combination and encapsulation bras. They’ve been found to offer better support for larger chests, but compression-style sports bras can provide great support for smaller chests, too.
- Closure. This is mostly a personal preference, so we included both pullover bras and bras with clasps or zippers. Sports bras with clasps or zippers tend to be easier to get on and off, while also having some extra adjustability for more comfort and support.
- Strap type and adjustability. You’ll find all kinds of strap styles on our list (X-straps, H-straps, convertible). Strap style is also a personal preference, but those with larger chests might find better support from adjustable straps.
- Activity. Whether you’re lifting heavy weights while doing CrossFit or doing a sprint workout on the track, the type of movement you’re doing will affect what kind of bra works best for you. We break down what elements to look out for in our recommendations below.
- $ = under $60
- $$ = $60–$65
- $$$ = over $65
CrossFit workouts tend to include heavy weightlifting that requires athletes to pay extra attention to their form. We chose sports bras that should help you focus less on your chest and more on getting each move right.
The Tiffany is a pullover compression-style sports bra with removable cups, a sassy and fashionable mesh panel, and — get this — extra padding to protect your collarbone during weighted front squats or cleans and jerks.
Reviewers love the feminine and flattering fit, the strappy X-straps, and the extra protection it offers during tough workouts. However, based on research and reviews, Chestee’s designs might not be supportive enough for larger busts.
D and up:
This ENELL high-impact sports bra has extra back support so you can focus all your muscle power on your weightlifting rather than keeping your breasts in place.
Though it’s not as adjustable as some of our other picks for fuller busts, it’s well-rated in online reviews. Users say it’s a must-have for high-impact sports.
These bras work great for sprint workouts and any type of exercise that incorporates quick bursts of running — like court and field sports. They’ll also work well for longer runs.
The Under Armour RUSH High sports bra offers impressive support from encapsulation and compression, adjustable X-straps, and a back clasp.
It’s made of mineral-infused fabric, which is intended to increase blood flow. More blood flow means more strength and endurance, making this bra a great pick for exercise that requires quick bursts of energy.
The Panache Ultimate bra is the real deal. It uses compression and encapsulation to keep everything in place and has flat seams to safeguard against chafing and skin irritation.
The best part is its convertible straps, which allow you to choose the most supportive and comfortable fit for any activity.
High-impact cardio kickboxing requires a ton of arm movement. Between all of the jabs, crosses, uppercuts, and hooks, you’ll definitely need a smooth and extra comfortable bra to prevent any chafing.
The Infinity bra has adjustable X-straps and a back closure. It uses padding in an infinity sign shape that’s meant to help the bra move with you.
It’s made from Under Armour’s HeatGear fabric, which reviewers say is super soft and comfortable — even for those with skin prone to irritation. The soft fabric on this one makes it an awesome choice for any cardio kickboxer.
This encapsulation-style underwire sports bra provides optimal support with an adjustable black closure and H-straps.
Reviewers say it’s so silky and soft that it feels like a second skin. The bra’s underwire is on the outside, with fabric between the wire and your body. That makes it an extra comfortable option for sports with tons of arm movements, like kickboxing.
Boot camp workouts require quick switches between strength training and cardio like running or rowing. That means you’ll need a bra that can switch between those movements, too.
This sports bra is made of a fabric that’s supposed to firm up during high-impact movements and loosen during lower-impact movements.
It’s a combination-style bra with convertible straps and an adjustable back closure, making it highly supportive for any kind of workout.
Though it’s available in sizes A through F, reviewers with fuller busts don’t love the support it offers during high-impact activities.
This combination-style sports bra from Glamorise is an amazing wire-free option. The adjustable straps are held together with a two-way stretch back, which helps keep the straps from slipping.
It also has an adjustable mesh panel in the front, which you can tighten or loosen as needed. You’ll have easy access to kick it up a notch if you need a little extra support mid-workout.
If you’re into plyometrics or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), you’re probably doing some sort of combination of jump squats, burpees, jump lunges, or other super difficult high-impact exercises.
These kinds of workouts can include a diverse range of powerful movements, so you’ll need a sports bra that can handle just about anything.
The SHEFIT Ultimate sports bra is a combination-style sports bra with ultra-customizable straps. It’ll give you great support and comfort while jumping, sprinting, or even doing plyo pushups. Reviewers of all sizes rave about its bounce-free support.
It also has a front zipper, so it’s easy to take off even if your arms have turned to jelly after your workout.
If the Ultimate sports bra seems too intense for you and you have a smaller chest, you can also consider the SHEFIT The Flex sports bra. It’s listed as medium impact on SHEFIT’s site, but reviewers still say its support beats the rest. It has a lot of the same features as the Ultimate sports bra.
When looking for the perfect bra for high-impact exercise, here’s what to keep in mind:
- Support. There are three main types of support. Those with larger chests may want to stick to combination or encapsulation bras for the most support. Those with smaller chests can find optimal support from all three types of bras.
- Compression bras compress your breasts against your chest to prevent them from moving while exercising.
- Encapsulation sports bras support each breast individually in separate cups.
- Combination sports bras use compression and encapsulation to create a no-bounce experience.
- Closure. Some research suggests that adjustable clasps offer a bit more support for larger chest sizes, but closure type is ultimately your preference. Some sports bras — like pullover bras — won’t have a closure at all, but some will have a clasp or zipper to make it easier to take on and off.
- Strap type and adjustability. Strap style comes down to personal preference, but research has found that H-straps are most comfortable for many people. If you have a larger chest, you may want to try to stick to straps that are adjustable, since non-adjustable elastic X-straps may not offer the best support.
Don’t forget to take the type of exercise you’re doing into consideration as well. If you know you’ll be moving your arms a lot, try finding a sports bra with a softer fabric to prevent chafing.
If you know you’ll be hitting boot camp classes, make sure your bra is versatile enough to cover any kind of movement.
High-impact exercise can have some amazing benefits, but it can also put a lot of stress on your body. You’ll definitely need a highly supportive sports bra to prevent pain, sagging, and decreased performance.
Make sure you prioritize sports bras that have features that go well with the type of workout you’re doing. If you’re just getting started in the world of high-impact exercise, try looking at customer reviews to get familiar with what kind of exercises people are using each sports bra for.