What Actually is a Posture Bra?
A posture bra is a specialist type of bra that is designed to help wearers reduce upper back and neck pain. Compared to a “normal” bra, a posture bra typically has reinforced straps that cross the wearer’s back and provide firm support. This picture shows a typical construction pattern. You can see the way the straps link both sides of the wearer’s body.
There are many manufacturers selling this type of bra. Some of the latest developments are moving towards more full coverage of the upper body. An example of this newer type is shown on the left. This particular one is made by Intelliskin and features a stretchy fabric that is also quite strong.
And . . . Do They Work?
This is the only question that really matters and the answer is . . . not well. The problem is that posture bras are really only a reinforced “normal” bra. They certainly have more supportive straps and can be effective for larger chested women, but are not good at correcting posture. The manufacturers will claim any number of postural benefits. However, a basic knowledge of the factors that make up healthy posture will show that they fail on two main points.
1. They rely on the idea that good posture comes from pulling your shoulders back.
This is a common misunderstanding that manufacturers promote to sell their products. The reality is that moving your shoulders back (as opposed to slumping forward) is only one part of healthy posture and is generally only properly achieved through good lumbar and head position. Simply pulling your shoulders back does not correct your posture. And, the design of current posture bras is not very effective at even performing this one component of your total posture.
2. They don’t provide any real “training” effect.
The best posture correctors work in one of two ways, they either support correct posture while you learn how to maintain it, or they train you into a healthy posture over time. One of the essentials of posture correction is that key muscle groups are strengthened and kept flexible. Posture bras are not effective at doing this.
If you just want a very supportive bra, a posture bra may be exactly what you need. However, if you are looking to either maintain or develop healthy posture they are not the answer. We suggest trying either a traditional women specific posture corrector such as the Cincher Back Brace, or Equifit Lite. Better yet, would be to invest in one of the latest hi-tech posture correctors such as the excellent Lumo Lift. You can see all our top recommended solutions here.
If you really do want to try a posture bra, we have a current post that compares the current market leaders.
Can I wear this during cardiovascular exercise
Hi there, the short answer is “yes”. Some maker’s products are better than others because they are more comfortable and breathe more easily. Have a look at the Equifit Lite and Intelliskin products.
Thank you for this article. I am looking at posture bras right now. I am in Physical Therapy 3times a week . Over the past few years I have subconsciously learned to avoid lumber pain by leaning to the right. Even after surgery this has not changed. I talked to my PT therapist about these and he said they usually do not help overall. In my case it will take teaching my mind what straight is again. Your article makes a lot of sense. I guess it may help some, but is not a quick fix for all problems.
Your PT may be correct in your case. If your goal is to sit/stand straighter there are better options – the posture bra will provide support which does help, but you need to address the core problem as well. We are currently testing a very useful tool for spinal strengthening/alignment at the moment and will share our findings soon – you can get a heads up about our latest posts by clicking the “Get PostureSorted” button at the top of our homepage. The other product to consider is a Lumo Lift as it reminds you to straighten up.
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Thank you, Dave. Intelliskin would be great if it weren’t so expensive. Any cheaper brands for the ladies who’d like to save money?
I bought two from Amazon. Although they had a crisscrossed section in the back, they had no real support. They were very flimsy for posture. I had been using a homemade brass, but wanted something that did not show under clothing. I went out and bought wide heavy elastic and sewed it over the crisscrossed section very tightly to give the bra the support I wanted. I now have a choice of wearing the bras or the brace depending on the situation.