How Bad Bras Can Affect Your Core Fitness

When I was recently being adjusted by my chiropractor, she announced I was wearing bad bras and that it was past time for me to get a new one. Now, my chiropractor, Dr. Shannon Anhorn, is very unique. She’s the owner of Cloud Chiropractic that operates out of The Tummy Team clinic in Camas, Wa. She specializes in chiropractic care related to core fitness and abdominal rehab, and her comment led to a terrific discussion while I put back on my shirt.

No, chiropractors don’t usually have you undress for basic adjustments. However, we had been applying cupping methods to my back and geeking out together, having me do a few squats with them on and noticing how my form changed in a matter of seconds. Long story short, the next time Dr. Anhorn was in the same neighborhood as my film crew, we coordinated with her to film this amazingly informative little video:

Bad Bras Directly Affect Our Health

According to Dr. Anhorn, the way our bras fit directly affects our health as women. Patients come in to see her, complaining of:

  • Middle back pain
  • Rib pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Numbness in their arms

Then Dr. Anhorn checks how their bras fit, and it’s all connected to the adjustments they need. According to Dr. Anhorn, when you get fitted for a bra you should make sure that:

  • The cup size fits your larger breast.
  • The band around lays flat between your breast.
  • The weight of the breast tissue is not in the shoulder straps.

“Invest in yourself, you are worth it,” says Dr. Shannon. “Your bra is likely your most worn item in your wardrobe. When you finally get in the correct size bra, you will carry yourself better, have more confidence and less pain. Remember no bra should ever have a birthday.”

Bad Bras Have A Birthday

What Dr. Anhorn means by bras never having a birthday is that they shouldn’t be more than 1 year old. Of course, if you have a lot of good bras that you rotate using, going a bit longer may be fine.

I don’t know about you, though… I get a favorite bra that fits great and makes me feel fabulous, and I never want to toss it. I will snap it on my ladies every day because “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” … right?

Wrong! Bras are like shoes this way: They should both be replaced on a regular basic BEFORE they wear out on us. Because once bras go bad – just like worn-out shoes – they affect our bodies. We have to stay ahead of the curve, so to speak.

Strenuous, high-impact exercise can impact our breast tissue. If you’re “blessed” or well-endowed, and the only keeping your breasts from bouncing around is a bad bra that’s too snug, too loose, full of holes, or – worse – has a wire poking out, you are worth a replacement. Because all that weight in all that bounce can affect your whole entire body in many ways.

Even if you don’t have much in your “over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder” your breasts still need support when you’re bouncing around or breastfeeding. My own mother used to say, “A handful’s all I got, and a handful’s all I needed to feed you four kids!”

When I am training clients whose breasts aren’t supported properly, I notice that they hold back. They move different. They are so busy guarding their chest from the pain of busty bouncing – often holding their arms differently – that they can’t open their arms to engage in a full range of upper-body motion. Their shoulders are more rounded from the weight pulling them forward.

Bad bras can also send them the opposite way: Their posture can become hyper-extended and over-retracted with over-squared shoulders, flared ribs, tucked hips, and a missing thoracic spinal curve as they lean back to counter the weight. Having a good bra can allow a woman to balance and move better.

Daily life and the pull of gravity can take their toll, and your breast tissue doesn’t have firm muscle or fascia to hold it up. I’m not saying you have to wear a bra every day all the time. I inherited my mother’s “handfuls” and got by with a camisole’s with built in shelf bras most of the time I was breastfeeding, but when I workout, I use firmer support.

What are your thoughts about bad bras?

Have you noticed the difference between good bras and bad bras in your own body? Do you think the right bra can help your posture?

A Thank You Note To Our “Bad Bra” Model:

We’ve had many threads in our private member forum and multiple requests for a video about proper bra fitting, but as a family-friendly fitness site, we weren’t sure how to pull it off for a while.

I, Beth, didn’t care to be the model, since Chris, my co-founder and videographer is married to one of my best friends, Alice. Editing takes hours, and we keep things very proper and professional between Chris and I, so we asked Alice if we could film her. Alice is a very modest person, so I was actually surprised when she said yes! 

“Women need to know these things about their bodies. It’s information I wish I’d had sooner, and Chris sees mine all the time anyway, right?” 

Yes, but the whole world? I mean, when we were young girls in locker rooms, she’d always go change in a bathroom stall. However – for the sake of helping women avoid pain and poor posture – she was game.

We are very thankful to her for putting herself out there… literally. She is also the one who often does my hair and makeup for filming. Her constant support of Chris and I in this venture is something we couldn’t have lived without. For more from Alice – who breastfed 4 children – read her blog RawAlice.

12 thoughts on “How Bad Bras Can Affect Your Core Fitness

  1. Jen says:

    Wow, this was so helpful! I’m definitely in need of some new bras. Thank you, Alice, for being brave enough to film this! And I love your hair! 🙂

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  3. erickajen says:

    also with the band size, you have to buy it to fit on the first clasp, so that as it may stretch a bit thru use, you can use the tighter ones.
    also, the band around should be horozontal.

    bra shopping is a NIGHTMARE.
    but dont let store nightmares stop you. bravissimo sized me better from across an ocean thru email than any store ive ever walked into. i wish someday i could walk into the bravissimo store.

  4. Kandy Woodard says:

    Thank you Alice for your courage! I second the comment on your hair. LOVE IT! Question about sports bras. Where do we find good fitting sports bras? And what about bras without underwire. I hate underwire.

  5. Nikki says:

    What are your thoughts on the new trend of braletts? Following these rules I’ve never been able to find a comfy bra…something I hear a lot from small
    Framed women with larger cup sizes. I’ve finally just given up and gone with braletts because I’m so much more comfy. I hope it’s not hurting my health in a way I am not realizing.

  6. Mary says:

    If the bra isn’t flush in the middle, it is the bra size or the cup size at fault? Or, is it the way I have adjusted the bra? Thanks for wonderful information.

  7. Angela Sipe says:

    Dr. Anhorn, do you have any fitting advice for those of us wearing smaller sizes? I usually end up with wireless styles, which look and fit different from the bra shown in the video. I’m not opposed to wires except that they make fitting more complicated when so few adult styles are available in my size. 🙂 Thanks!

  8. Melissa Schulz says:

    Dr. Anhorn, do you have any advice specifically for those of us in the IBT club? =) When I measure myself I come out to be about a 34 AA and I’ve had a hard time finding good regular and sports bras to wear. I’m slender and my bra straps constantly slip off my shoulders even when they are tightened fully. Are there any brands/stores you recommend? I’d love some bras that are comfortable- I hate wearing bras and take them off the second I get home!

    • Beth Learn
      Beth Learn says:

      I agree! I go braless frequently at home, but I have just enough that letting them bounce around when I’m doing high impact exercise isn’t pleasant and can be painful. As Dr. Shannon discusses in the video, they definiely shouldn’t be too tight! We need to be able to breathe! Many women have too-tight bands on around their chests. The ribs are strong enough to resist a small amount of pressure without caving in, but there’s a point where problems begin for sure!

  9. Becky says:

    So I have a question. I am overly blessed and have NEVER been able to button or snap or hook my bra while it is in the back. I have to put it on backwards, hook it, and then rotate it around. Also, finding any bra that seems to fit on the band, NEVER fits the cup. I spent $80 once on a bra from a well renowned bra shop and it dug into my skin all the time…but it felt like it fit the cup and there was no gappage anywhere. Is this just getting used to a regular bra? Watching this video makes me realize I have never had a proper fitting bra. Ever. Can Shannon go shopping with me next time? Also being 6.5 months pregnant and a bra that has had a few birthdays does not help anything. Lol

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