Can You Wear a Regular Bra When Working Out?

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I seem to be hesitant when buying sports bras. Sports bras are the most underrated gym accessory, yet the most important. Still, a big question asked by gym-going women is, can you wear a normal bra when working out?

Can You Wear a Normal Bra When Working Out?

Regular bras are not designed to provide adequate support during workouts. If you plan to do low-impact exercises such as yoga and stretching, it can still cause pain and discomfort, breaking your stamina. You may also experience tension and discomfort in your shoulders and back after using a normal bra regularly.

Graphic image of a woman using an excercise bike that explains why you should avoid wearing regular bras while working out

Don’t know what type of sports bra suits your needs? Keep reading to find answers to all your sports bra-related queries.

What Will Happen if I Wear a Normal Bra to the Gym?

A normal bra, however, does not guarantee the same level of support, and it can cause your breasts to bounce if you are doing cardio, causing pain and extreme discomfort in your back.

Your body tends to sweat while exercising. Ordinary bras are not designed to absorb the extra sweat. This can lead to skin irritation and bacterial buildup.

A sports bra is made with nylon and polyester, swiftly absorbing the sweat and leaving you dry and fresh. They provide added support to your breasts, keeping them steady during an intense workout.

Is It Crucial to Wear a Sports Bra?

A good quality sports bra guarantees great comfort, support, and protection. Wearing a normal bra will affect your performance and make you feel uncomfortable. A recent study reports that 85% of women who wear sports bras agree that proper support helps to improve the enjoyment of exercise.

Most sports bras provide three levels of support based on the intensity of the workout.

A woman in a dark blue racerback sports bra wearing gray leggings

Types of Sports Bras

When you go shopping for sports bras, you may be surprised by the wide range of options available. Since normal bras are uncomfortable while working out, you need to be cautious while selecting a sports bra.


Compression sports bras usually come in pullover styles. They do not have built-in cups and work by pressing the breasts against the chest. These sports bras are suitable for small-chested women who prefer low to medium-impact workouts.


Encapsulated bras are designed for high-intensity workouts. They are equipped with specially designed inbuilt cups that surround each breast individually, similar to what you would experience with a normal bra.

These cups are generally lightly or heavily padded and are suitable for all chest-size women. Small chested women need to find an encapsulated bra with cups they can fill.

Encapsulation Compression

Encapsulated compression bras have an inner layer that provides cupped support while the outer layer of material compresses your breasts against your chest wall.

They provide world-class support while giving a sleek appearance. They are suitable for all chest types, and you can also use them for high-impact levels of exercise as well.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Sports Bra 

If you want your bra to be comfortable and avoid any health hazards, here are some factors you need to look for in your sports bra.

A woman wearing a blue sports bra and leggings working out on the grass field

Panels and Bands

Ever wondered about the different bands and panels on your sports bra? The bottom band supports the breasts while the side and back panels prevent spills.

About 90% of women wear the wrong-sized sports bra. The band and panels assist you in selecting the proper fit.

Moisture-Wicking Fabric

Wicking fabrics remove moisture from your skin, keeping you dry and comfortable. Most sports bras consist of moisture-wicking materials such as wool or polyester blends.

Related Questions

What Happens if You Don’t Wear a Sports Bra When Working Out?

If you do not wear a sports bra while working out, it can cause sagging and pain. The tissues and skin of my breasts are sensitive. Intense workouts that include repeated stretching can pull the skin and ligaments.

Can Sports Bras Cause an Increase in Your Breast Size?

The development of your breasts is unaffected by your bra. The growth of your breast depends on genes and hormones, not the type of bra you wear. Although bras cannot stop or promote breast growth, wearing the proper size and type of bra may make you feel more comfortable.

What Is a Sports Bra? (And How To Pick One For Various Activities)


Wearing a normal bra can lead to musculoskeletal pain when working out. You must invest in good quality sports bras to avoid any health issues. Consider my guide for factors to look for in a sports bra according to your exercise regime.


Allena is the Founder and Editor of The Better Fit, a platform dedicated to empowering women with practical advice on bras and fitness, inspired by her own revelation of the widespread issue of incorrect bra sizing. Her expertise and tips have been recognized by major publications such as Cosmopolitan, Better Homes & Gardens, Insider, and NBC, making her a trusted voice in women's wellness and lifestyle.