How to Stretch Out a Sports Bra

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Sports bras are specifically designed to be well-fitted to provide enhanced support. Thus, your athletic bra will feel tighter than your regular, everyday one. However, if the bra feels too tight to the point of being uncomfortable, you should make it loose. So, how to stretch out a sports bra? Let’s find out!

How to Stretch Out a Sports Bra

Stretching out a workout bra is a common practice. It is a useful technique when the current bra feels too snug, yet going up a size is not an option as it will be too loose. In this case, you can loosen up your sports bra, so it feels more comfortable.

A woman wearing black sports bra while stretching

How to Stretch Out a Cotton Sports Bra

Athletic bras made with cotton are breathable and great for low-impact workouts. They are not suitable for a HIIT workout, where you tend to sweat a lot as the cotton fibers are unable to wick away the sweat and can end up feeling soggy.

If you own a cotton bra that is too tight, here is how you can make it fit well:

  1. Fill a bucket or sink with around 1 liter of lukewarm water.
  2. Pour about 1 tablespoon of hair conditioner or baby shampoo into the water.
  3. Stir the water until the conditioner or shampoo is mixed well to form a homogenous solution.
  4. Submerge your bra completely in the solution and allow it to soak for 30 minutes.
  5. Take out the bra and squeeze it gently to drain the excess water.
  6. Place the bra between the folds of a big, dry towel and gently squeeze it further to get rid of as much water as possible.
  7. Pull the bra with your hands to stretch it out until you get the desired size. Use another bra as a gauge to determine the perfect size.
  8. Rinse your bra with lukewarm water to remove the conditioner or shampoo.
  9. Stretch it one last time before drying it while holding it in its stretched-out dimensions.

How to Stretch Out a Polyester Sports Bra

High-performance bras are usually made of polyester, a moisture-wicking, synthetic fabric. Consequently, it absorbs the sweat and allows it to evaporate in the air, leaving you feeling dry.

If your bra is tight and made up of polyester, here is how you can fix it:

  1. Wash your bra on a high heat cycle for more than 30 minutes.
  2. Hang it to dry immediately on a clothing line while still wet and warm.
  3. Use pegs to hang weights from the bra while it dries to help you stretch it out.
  4. Alternatively, you can also use an iron box with a steamer to dry out the bra while stretching it with your hands.
  5. Dry out the bra completely before trying it out to see if it fits right.
  6. Repeat the process multiple times until you are satisfied with the fit.

How to Determine the Proper Sports Bra Fit?

An athletic bra restricts excessive movement of your breasts and keeps them firmly in place while you exercise. Without proper encapsulation, you might experience soreness and even lasting damage to the connective breast tissues that support your breasts.

However, the bra should be just tight enough to perform its function and to be able to be worn comfortably as your top. If it is too restraining and compressive, it can cause:

Therefore, to ensure that your bra fits you perfectly:

An image of a person wearing a white sports bra

Check the Band

Just like with normal bras, the band is responsible for most of the support offered by a workout bra. If it is not the correct size, your bra will be impractical. Hence, try on the bra and see how the band feels. It should not dig into your skin yet still, feel snug.

It should also sit at a level around your body and not ride up your back, as this indicates a loose band. In addition, you should be able to fit a finger under the waistband firmly and comfortably. Finally, it should not feel like the band will climb up your breasts or like you cannot breathe.

Check the Straps

The straps hold the bra cups in place, so they should not slip down or dig into your shoulders. To check that the straps are the correct size, try to fit two fingers between the strap and the shoulder. If you are able to do this comfortably, the strap is perfectly adjusted.

However, if you struggle to do it or can fit in more than two fingers, the strap is too tight or too loose simultaneously. Moreover, lift up your arms above your head, and if the band rides up, it is often because the bra is too big.

Check the Cups

The cups are designed to engulf the breasts and hold them in place. If the cups are too big, there will be gaps between the skin and the fabric. All the extra room means that your bust is not well-supported.

On the other hand, if your cups are too small, the breast tissues will spill out from the edges. You will also feel breathless sooner, as the cups restrict the airflow to your lungs. Finally, the underwire of the bra will not lay flat against the rib cage and pinch or dig in your lower breast tissues.

Important tip: Before buying a sports bra, do a few jump squats, swing your arms around, twist from side to side, and jog around while wearing the bra. See how the fit feels, how easily you can put it on and take it off, and how much movement you experience around the bust region. Look for another size if you are ill at ease.


Stretching out a sports bra is the perfect solution for a bra that is slightly too snug. While these bras do loosen up over time after multiple washes, you should not suffer through the pain of a constrictive bra. Instead, take the necessary steps according to the bra fabric to make it fit seamlessly.


Hi there, I’m Allena, Founder and Editor of The Better Fit. I’ve always had a passion for finding ways to help women improve various areas of their lives. I have researched and worked to create this website so women would have a place to come and be informed about an article of clothing they literally wear every day.