Workouts require a few key essentials, with one of them being a high-quality sports bra to give you the support and comfort you need during your lifts.
When I started seriously working out, I would grab any old sports bra I found in the store or online without putting too much thought into it. As I progressed in my workouts and began transitioning to more strength training-based work, I realized that my needs and desires regarding my sports bras were shifting as well.
For me, comfort, fit and functionality are key during my workouts, which is why I also outlined some of the best workout shorts for thick thighs in a previous article. But in today’s post, I wanted to highlight some of the best sports bras for lifting, and yes, this matters!
If you’ve been hunting for a sports bra that you can feel good in while training, this list will cover some of my top tried, and true choices.
Quick Table on the Best Weightlifting Sports Bras and Buying Guide
1st Phorm Solstice Bra 2.0
78% Nylon, 22% Spandex
1st Phorm Rival Bra
74% Nylon, 26% Spandex
Maven Thread Power Sports Bra
80% Nylon, 20% Spandex
Maven Thread Fierce Sports Bra
80% Nylon, 20% Spandex
Buffbunny Monarch Sports Bra
Buffbunny Candy Wrap Sports Bra
Do You Need a Sports Bra For Weightlifting?
One could argue that wearing a sports bra for weightlifting isn’t necessary because a true lifting program is unlikely to include a lot of bouncing and high-intensity movements that would require additional support, however, there’s also a compelling reason why most of us do.
The purpose of a sports bra is to support your breasts during movement. Without support, your breast can sag and can result in pain and soreness around the breast tissue. For exercise modalities like running and high-intensity interval training, it seems obvious that you’d need a support bra to keep your breasts from bouncing around and causing damage and pain, but what’s the purpose when lifting weights?
Well, weight lifting, although it’s not typically very jarring, is still a form of exercise that requires your body to move in specific ways. This movement will naturally require movement in your chest and back, which becomes much safer and more comfortable when you have the right support.
Plus, let’s not forget to mention that sports bras are made for the gym and for working out. They have the materials and designs to keep us cool, comfortable, and confident no matter what type of workout we’re getting after.
Now that we’ve established that a sports bra for weight training is a must, let’s talk about what to look for in one.
What to Look At When Choosing a Sports Bra for Lifting Weights
Finding the right bra for lifting will look slightly different from finding the right option for cardio or yoga. There are some different considerations you’ll want to keep in mind when lifting weights is your focus.
The fit of your sports bra is everything when it comes to comfort and functionality, so naturally, this sits at the top of our list. There’s a very fine line between a compressive and supportive sports bra and one that’s ill-fitting and uncomfortable. For weight lifting specifically, you shouldn’t need the highest level of support out there, but you also don’t need the least amount of support.
The fit you should be looking for should be tight, but not overly compressive. In other words, you want to feel as though your breasts are supported, but not squished and plastered to your chest. You should have some room to breathe while still feeling as though everything is staying in place.
Weightlifting probably won’t be your sweatiest workout, but it’s still essential to have a breathable, sweat-wicking sports bra. The material you want is one that’s soft, and comfortable while also being breathable and cooling. Trust me, when you’re pushing some heavyweights, you’re going to want to make sure you’re properly ventilated because things definitely get spice.
This point coincides with the fit of the sports bra, but specifically, we want to find a weight-lifting sports bra that offers a mid-level amount of coverage. Think of yourself like Goldie Locks…trying to find the perfect “warm” level of coverage that’s between being locked down like a straightjacket and letting it all hang loosely like a nightgown.
Lifting weights requires flexibility and the ability to perform movements with proper form, which means that your clothing must be conducive to that as well. A stiff, inflexible bra might constrict your ability to perform your exercises properly. A smooth, flexible fabric, on the other hand, will move and flow with your body.
Last but not least, be sure to take some time to consider the brand you are buying from. I feel like today, more than ever, it’s important to make sure that you’re investing in an integral brand that represents the qualities and standards that align with your own personal brand. For example, choosing a small business, a US-based business, or a women-led brand might be a few considerations that are important to you. Do your research and make sure that the brand you invest in is legit in its mission, values, and integrity. It might sound silly, but there’s a lot to be said about buying from brands based on alignment as opposed to just grabbing the cheapest option you can find.
Our Top Sports Bras For Weightlifting
Alright, onto the good stuff! Below are my top selections for weight lifting bras based on my personal experience.
1. Solstice Bra 2.0 - 1st Phorm
This bra from 1st Phorm is an absolute dream for wearing while lifting. With ample support and super soft, smooth fabric, the Solstice Bra was made for strong women who enjoy weight training. Plus, it’s made with a cooling material that dries quickly, keeping you comfortable and cool throughout any workout.
Aside from its functionality, it’s also beautifully designed. The thick racerback straps and wide-bottom band provide you with the coverage and compression you need to support the movement you love. Plus, the square neckline is incredibly flattering on all chest sizes. This bra will make you regret every single $20 sports bra you bought over the years.
- Super soft material
- Excellent fit
- Beautiful yet simple design
- Medium-high coverage
- Comes in several great colors
- Brand that you can feel great about supporting
- Those with smaller chests feel the compression flattens them out (keep in mind that there are removable breast pads to help with this)
2. Rival Bra - 1st Phorm
The Rival Bra from 1st Phorm was built for medium support, but maximum comfort. This bra takes comfort and style to the next level thanks to the thick racerback straps, brushed interior elastic waistband, and super smooth fabric Plus, the Rival Bra features contrasting rib material for a style upgrade that makes it completely unique.
The Rival Bra provides medium support, making it ideal for weight training, and also features excellent coverage, bordering between a bra and a tank. Slipping into this bra is like slipping into your perfectly worn-in pair of slippers…it just feels good.
- Medium support (ideal for weightlifting)
- Thick, supportive racerback straps
- Smooth, soft material that glides on like butter
- Interior brushed elastic waistband for a comfortable fit
- Multiple color options
- Brand that you can feel great about supporting
- The 1st Phorm logo is prominent on the chest
3. Power Sports Bra- Maven Thread
The Power Sports Bra from Maven Thread is one of their best-selling medium-impact sports bras, and for good reason! This bra is constructed of lightweight, breathable fabric features a 4-way stretch, is sweat-wicking, and even includes a phone pocket (genius).
The style of this sports bra includes thick, supportive straps and a cute cutout in the back for a little flair and some ventilation. There are multiple color options to choose from. Maven Thread recommends sizing down for a more compressive fit or sizing up for a looser, more relaxed fit.
- Soft, stretchy, yet supportive material
- Small brand with a big heart
- Compressive but not overly tight
- Doesn’t show a lot of cleavage
- Sweat-wicking fabric
- If you want a little extra room to breathe during your lifts, you should size up one size for max comfort
- It’s recommended that it be washed without fabric softener
4. Fierce Sports Bra- Maven Thread
The Fierce Sports Bra from Maven Thread is designed for performance thanks to its high-impact support. With lightweight fabric and a 4-way stretch, this bra glides on and fits like a glove.
The neckline is very flattering for busts of all sizes and the coverage level is great, not too short and not too long. Overall, the Fierce Bra gives a supportive, comfortable fit all while keeping you feeling like everything is in place. There are a number of unique colors to choose from and this bra fits true to size.
- Adorable design that’s unique
- Flattering cut for all bust shapes and sizes
- Multiple color options
- Super soft, pliable material
- Medium compression, perfect for strength training days
- Some customers report side boob action
- Cannot wash with fabric softener (although, I do and they’ve been fine)
5. Monarch Sports Bra - Buffbunny
The Monarch Sports Bra gives the perfect balance between modesty and style. Who says you can’t look cute in the gym while keeping everything covered and supported? This sports bra from Buffbunny is super soft and comfortable, giving you a second-skin feel.
On the back, you’ll find a beautiful strappy detail that will show off your hard-earned upper body muscles. There’s a subtle v-neck, but not so much so that you will need to worry about cleavage or spilling out over the top. The Monarch comes in several color options.
- Beautifully designed
- Buttery soft fabric
- Close but comfortable fit
- Medium compression
- Soft v-neck, but no spilling out
- Great length for coverage
- The material is a little thick which can be hot when lifting
- It’s hard to find many real customer reviews
6. Candy Wrap Sports Bra - Buffbunny
If you want to look stylish while lifting, the Candy Wrap Bra from Buffbunny has you covered. This bra encourages you to embrace your feminine side while getting after it in the gym. The subtle V-neck design is ultra-flattering and the wide, adjustable straps are made to give you the best fit possible.
The fabric is super high-quality, soft, and comfortable for all kinds of workouts. Compression-wise, you’re looking at medium support, which tends to be the sweet spot for weightlifting. There are a handful of solid colors to choose from.
- Unique, flattering design
- V-neck for flattering cleavage
- Unique and beautiful back design
- Great for those who want to look stylish while lifting
- The V-neck shows off cleavage which can be uncomfortable for some
- There aren’t a ton of reviews out there for it
As a personal trainer, I have pretty much seen it all and tried it all at this point, and let me tell you that not every sports bra is cut out for ladies that lift. From bras that are far too tight and compressive that’s it’s nearly impossible to get them on and off to bras that don’t provide enough support and cause us to perform exercises with bad form, it’s hard to decipher the good from the bad sometimes.
I am very particular about not only the style and fit of my sports bras but also about the brands that I chose to invest in. For anyone who has purchased a slew of bras from average retailers, you already know that you get what you pay for. The sports bras that made my list are all my tried and true favorites. Out of the dozens of sports bras in my closet, these options are always at the top of my list when it comes to getting in a good lifting session and I have no doubt that they’ll be at the top of yours, too.
Tips and Tricks for Success From a CPT
- Remember that when you’re primarily weightlifting for your workouts, you are probably (hopefully!) building some muscle. Make sure that you choose a sports bra that can handle and flatter that beautiful, hard-earned muscle. There’s nothing worse than a too-tight sports bra that’s hard to stretch over the top of your shoulders and back.
- While it’s perfectly fine to want to look cute in the gym, remember that the most important thing is maintaining proper form with your exercise. Secure your chest, make sure everything is in place, and get to work.
- When it comes to compression, you aren’t going to need anything super compressive, but you also don’t want a low-support bra either. Any sports bra that has medium compression is going to be a good place to start.
- Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. So, yes, the bras on this list are slightly more expensive than the ones at Target, but these options are going to last you for so much longer. Plus, they’re unique and come from brands that you can trust and can feel good about investing in.