What Is a Training Bra?

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What is a training bra? You may think about this whether you’re a young girl or someone who wants to help another person choose the right starter bra. In this article, you’ll learn what a trainer bra is, along with its purpose and benefits, to make you less conscious about breast changes.

What Is a Training Bra?

A training bra is a type of lightweight bra that covers and supports a girl’s growing breast buds and nipples. Mostly worn during puberty, it’s for girls with breasts that don’t fit into standard-sized bras yet require support and protection for the bust. However, it isn’t meant to train or shape the breast tissue.

Graphic image of a red and white bra that explains that a training bra is a lightweight bra that covers growing breasts

At some point, girls will need to transition to more structured styles of bras. Before that, a trainer bra served as a rite of passage to help young ones become accustomed to wearing a bra.

Anatomy of Training Bras

A training bra is an undergarment made of lightweight material, a soft cup design, and a wireless band to keep growing breasts contained and concealed. Its thin straps and unlined cups provide little to no support for the breasts.

In addition, a starter bra usually consists of mixed cotton and spandex fabric. These fabrics have a soft texture that provides comfort to newly forming breasts, which tend to ache as they grow.

Back then, girls only wore undershirts or camisoles with thin fabrics before transitioning to corsets. Training bras only became popular during the 1950s. Since its inclusion in the junior market of the apparel industry, the starter bra has become available in various sizes and designs.

Reasons for Wearing a Training Bra

Training bras are closely similar to standard bras except for the trim, as this style doesn’t provide any support necessary for fully developed breasts. They can conceal protruding nipples and prevent skin chafing. However, they won’t actually train the breast tissue to a certain position, form, or shape.

A pink racerback sports bra with a silver design placed on a pink background
  • Nipple concealment: The American Academy of Pediatrics says it’s natural for young girls to feel self-conscious or embarrassed about breast development during puberty. It’s not enough to wear loose-fitting clothing to hide breast development. To help acclimate to such changes, a trainer bra can conceal the nipples underneath their clothing.
  • Protection: Some people have sensitive breast buds, causing chafing due to constant friction and pressure from clothes. Despite its barely-there feel, a starter bra forms a barrier between the skin and clothing.
  • Comfort: Developing breast tissue can feel dragging at some point, especially when standing or walking for long periods. This kind of bra can prevent the breast tissue from sagging or bouncing.
  • Convenience: Regular adult bras typically come with hooks and fasteners for clasping. In contrast, training bras have a pull-over style for convenience.

Types of Training Bras

Similar to regular bras, a trainer bra offers a handful of styles for different purposes. You can try a range of training bras to determine which ones can help you feel better with growing breasts.

  • Standard: This style resembles a bandeau with thin straps to keep the bra in place. The designs and colors are generally discreet, making them the perfect choice for school uniforms.
  • Sports: Starter sports bras for girls usually don’t have padding or molded cups. They only make use of snug-fitting bands to control breast tissue movement and improve confidence as you do high-impact activities.
  • Padded: Trainer bras are commonly unpadded, yet newer versions now offer padding. While it’s natural for some breasts to not grow in perfect symmetry, some light padding can adjust the size while ensuring modesty.
  • Bralettes: You can use lined or unlined bralettes if you seem to have breasts nearing A cups yet don’t want to wear a regular bra completely. Some also resemble crop tops that teens can normally wear.

Regardless of the style, the trainer bra should be comfortable enough to wear whenever you want, especially for extended periods. Likewise, it should provide ample coverage for you to feel secure and confident with breast changes.

When to Wear a Trainer Bra

Girls can start wearing training bras as early as eight years old or as late as their early teens, mainly if the small breasts are not fully developed. They serve as preparatory bras for girls showing signs of breast development during puberty.

Some girls can feel shy at first, as this topic involves self-esteem and body image. For others, it can be due to aesthetic purposes, societal norms, or local beauty standards.

Whether it’s for physiological, psychological, or social reasons, these are good starting points for discussion. Consider wearing one if you or someone is experiencing any of these signs.

A gray v-neck spaghetti strap sports bra placed on a pink background
  • Is there minimal breast tissue that doesn’t require full support as adult breasts do?
  • Are there small and tender bumps below the nipples?
  • Are the nipples more pronounced, or are the breast buds becoming sensitive?
  • Are the breasts feeling sore most of the time?
  • Are the breasts bouncing while running or dancing?
  • Do you feel conscious when wearing thigh-fitting clothes or thin fabrics?
  • Are you hunching over to hide your breasts?
  • Is there discomfort due to chaffing in the nipples?

Related Questions

What Is the Difference Between Training and Regular Bras?

A training bra is a beginner bra that lacks some features that regular bras contain, including padding, underwire, and full cups. It’s considered a beginner bra because it somehow looks like a normal bra without the lift and shaping features.

What Should You Consider When Choosing a Starter Bra?

Style and material are the essential factors to consider when selecting trainer bras. The material guarantees comfort while the style influences concealment.

How Do You Determine the Training Bra Size?

Similar to regular bras, you need to measure the band and cup size to find the perfect fit for starter bras. Measure the fullest parts of the boobs and then subtract this measurement from the band size.

Bra Size Measurement & Cup Size | A, B, C, D, DD Bra Sizes AND Extra Large Breasts


Once a young girl develops breasts, a training bra can ease self-consciousness about budding nipples. A well-fitting trainer bra can ensure protection, concealment, and support for growing breasts. After a while, it will be time to switch to a regular or fully supported adult bra.


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.