The Mystery of the Tightening Sports Bra

Old picture. But I think it’s important to add pictures to blog posts. So this will have to do.

Last week, while on my 2.5-hour bike ride, I noticed that my sports bra felt tighter than usual. This was a problem because, as I began a very long and steep uphill climb, it felt like my thoracic movements were limited (i.e. I couldn’t expand my lungs as far as they needed to go to get in the amount of air I needed to breathe up that fucking hill!).

It was extremely irritating. Since I didn’t have much else to think about on that ride (all the actually important things never seem as important while I’m cycling), I went into a state of deep contemplation as to what might be the reason behind the fact that the bra felt tighter.

Initially, I thought that I might have just clipped it up to the tighter hooks. My right shoulder is still healing from a dislocated shoulder, followed by a frozen shoulder, followed by a shoulder operation. For weeks, it was completely impossible for me to hook up a sports bra on my own. Do you realize that most sports bras are the kind with criss-cross shoulder and back straps?? Why is that?? When my shoulder froze and I realized wearing my criss-crossed-back sports bras had become impossible, I went shopping for a sports bra without the criss-cross back so I could first hook it up from the front then twist it around like any normal bra. They didn’t exist! I went online. Nothing! I had two normal-strapped sports bras that I bought three years ago and I had to switch between them for ever so long. Anyway, my shoulder finally sort of works now, so I’ve gone back to wearing the other bras as well. But it’s still a minor struggle hooking them up in the back. So, I thought maybe I just hooked it up wrong this time.

For some odd reason, I almost immediately dismissed this completely logical possibility.

The more logical scenario, I decided, was that all the training I had been doing over the past two months to regain my fitness after being out of commission for so long because of my shoulder led to an over-expansion of my lungs.

My lungs had become super-sized because I had trained them up to take in more air. THAT’S how much cardio I had been doing, I decided. THAT’s what happens when you do lots of swimming, cycling and running. Your lungs become super lungs.

I continued to thoughtfully consider this much more plausible explanation of why my sports bra was feeling tighter for quite some time. In fact, it took up a full third of my bike ride, I’d say.

Then this happened:

I was cycling up yet another steep hill, going, as I always do, at supersonic speed. The tight sports bra was restricting my thoracic movements, but I was feeling very proud of my over-sized lungs.

As I neared the top of the hill, a man (almost effortlessly) cycled right past me. I first noticed that he had a nice ponytail quite similar to mine. I next noticed that he was small of frame and pretty much had zero body fat. He was what I refer to as a “real” cyclist. When real cyclists cycle, you can see their glutes pumping right under the lycra. Their legs are like sticks with muscles sticking out of them. I then looked at his rib cage. This man, who was surprisingly faster than me, did not have a super-expanded thoracic cage. He passed me as we were reaching the top of the hill and by the time I had reached the top he was almost completely out of sight. As I said, he was a real cyclist. Real cyclists take advantage of the down slopes and glide. I smash on the handbrakes and hope to God that this isn’t my last day on earth.

Anyway, I started wondering whether my over-expanded lungs theory might be flawed. If super-cyclist didn’t have them, then how could I possibly have them? And with that, my brain emptied itself of all thoughts and I continued to pump my legs, tired and wanting to get back home as soon as possible.

I got home, had a nice relaxing sit-down in the sun at the front of the house, ate something sweet, drank some milk, and went to the bathroom for a shower. I threw my clothes on the ground….

Nooooooooooooooo! I immediately thought to myself. I didn’t check to see if the back was hooked on tighter! Now I’ll never know!!

Then I forgot all about the mystery of the tightening sports bra.

Until today.

I went out for a run. As I started climbing up a hill, I felt it. My lungs were restricted again. Hello! I thought. It’s you again!

Suddenly, another thought entered my mind:

My boobs are getting bigger! That MUST be it!

That thought lasted less than the number of seconds it took me to form it. My boobs go only in two directions: downwards and inwards. There are no enlarging boobs in this household, I said, rolling my eyes at myself.

So it must be the expanded lungs.

This time when I got home I checked the hooks. They were on the loosest hook setting.

Mystery solved? Have my workouts of the last two months given me super lungs?


Death be to all who doubt this.




  1. Loved this post 😂😂😂 Recently I visited the breast clinic as I was concerned about tissue changes. I did ask if it was general awesomeness of the pecs from doing loads of swimming. They said no. I’m still not convinced.

  2. I haven’t heard of this problem and I hang around an international women’s cycling forum past decade. If you lift weights..maybe that could be a reason.

    Or you’re sure your bra hasn’t shrunk. 😀

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