For Parents Adjusting to wearing a bra for gymnastics

kendo348

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I am looking for experienced advice on how to help my daughter transition into wearing a bra specifically in the gym. I searched past threads and didn’t find anything that addresses my specific questions.

She is 10.5 and has started to show through most shirts and leos. I bought her some beginner bras which she is resisting (“I’ll never be free again!”) and while I remember feeling that way about it too, she’s going to have to come around because it is no longer inconspicuous. I told her she does not have to wear one all the time right away, but to please try them out for an hour or so each day and try to get used to it, figure out which style she likes best, etc. She obliged but got grouchy and proceeded to give them resentful nicknames (like I think the gray one is “The Worst” and the light blue one is “Death” lol.) When I suggested she could try wearing one at gym today her demeanor changed from grouchy to tears. She is mostly worried about how it rides up whenever she lifts her arms. I feel bad for her; trying to adjust to a bra during normal life is depressing enough, let alone while doing gymnastics! I didn’t push it and she did not end up wearing one today.

Besides giving it time, how else can I help her? Is there something we can do to mitigate the riding up issue or is that an inevitable annoyance early on? Are there leos out there with built-in light modesty padding? Are there styles or brands your girls have had success wearing for gymnastics particularly during this early stage? Did you do anything that worked particularly well on the mental/emotional front? How long does it normally take to adjust to doing gymnastics with new layers of attire? I didn’t do any sport of this caliber so I have little frame of reference.
 

Gymx2

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Welcome to the hell that is gymastics sports bras. :p I have been in search of a decent sports bra for my daughter for about a year now. It's not easy. If your daughter is currently uncomfortable with the idea of wearing one, I would let it go for now. I was a kid who was very petite but developed early and was so incredibly embarrassed by the need for a bra. Eventually, your DD will see why it's beneficial, but I wouldn't push. So far, I've tried so many different sports bras for DD and haven't found anything great. Don't even get me started on the clear back bras for comp leos. Hopefully, someone else will have great brand suggestions!
 
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Pineapple_Lump

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Our kids prefer to wear crop tops for training here due to the heat, so the crossover is less of an issue. Can you get a GK (or other brand crop top) as a transition item to wear under the leotard?
 
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txgymfan

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Is there an older gymnast that she is close to that would be willing to talk to her about it, maybe one that you know the parent and she knows the gymnast?
 
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ldw4mlo

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Sports bras for practice, her choice. For competition suck it up buttercup.

Justice, I think they are still online. And don’t push it. At some point she’ll come around.

Mone refused to wear a ”bra”. So I called the sports bras, underwear. She just wasn’t ready to growup
 

kendo348

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Our kids prefer to wear crop tops for training here due to the heat, so the crossover is less of an issue. Can you get a GK (or other brand crop top) as a transition item to wear under the leotard?
This is very smart - she did say to me “I want a bra-shirt, not a bra!” but I didn’t follow that train of thought far enough I guess! We will try this, maybe it will stay put better. Thank you!
 

kendo348

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Is there an older gymnast that she is close to that would be willing to talk to her about it, maybe one that you know the parent and she knows the gymnast?
Unfortunately no; our gym is large enough that they keep the levels pretty separate and she’s the same age as most of the girls in her group. Good idea though!
 

Aussie_coach

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I would look around for a good quality leotard that is well lined, and then you won't have to worry about the bra. I did competitive gymnastics until the age of 29 and never wore a bra. The leotards all had lining and held everything in place.
 

txgymfan

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Unfortunately no; our gym is large enough that they keep the levels pretty separate and she’s the same age as most of the girls in her group. Good idea though!
Is there an older girl athlete in another sport she can talk to, like a cousin or a family friend? Also, look at videos of college teams practice, you can always see their sports bras. Some teams even fold down their leos, I don’t like the look but it shows that they’re not trying to hide it.
 
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kendo348

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Is there an older girl athlete in another sport she can talk to, like a cousin or a family friend? Also, look at videos of college teams practice, you can always see their sports bras. Some teams even fold down their leos, I don’t like the look but it shows that they’re not trying to hide it.
I don’t think it’s an embarrassment issue so much as it is a comfort issue - it’s annoying to her that she can’t move around without it riding up and then she has to keep pulling it back down. That’s why I’m looking for types that might stay in place. Thankfully she has never been one to care about what other people think of her; she is confident and happy to do her own thing. (Keeping my fingers crossed that carries through the next few tricky years! Although frankly if she cared a bit more that might make this issue a little simpler for me )
 

Carabistouille

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Probably not the answer you are looking for, but honestly, if it is indeed a comfort issue... I would side with her. I would even applaud her for being so confident in herself (and she sounds hilarious).

The whole point of a bra is comfort : basically it provides support and prevents your chest for bouncing around while flipping. If she has to pull it back everytime she raises her arms because it rides up, it will indeed hinder her at practice.
If she does not need it for comfort and support (which is likely at her age), I don't see why she should wear an impractical, uncomfortable piece of clothing. I suppose she will come around if she indeed develops to the point where it is uncomfortable.

That said, I am confident that a good sport bra sould not go up when you raise your arm. I have no experience with kids size but I know mine don't (and I am very flat-chested).
I agree with Aussie-coach that with a well-designed, well-lined leotard, some people don't even need a bra (just like you wouldn't weat a bra in a swimsuit).
 
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Tigtimes

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Mine wore Old Navy girls sports bras for years, there are no cups in them but just add a layer of padding. They are also inexpensive. If they are riding up my guess is the ones you have are are too big. Mine has now transitioned to Lululemon, seriously wish she didn’t want to wear one now:D
 
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Carly

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I would look around for a good quality leotard that is well lined, and then you won't have to worry about the bra. I did competitive gymnastics until the age of 29 and never wore a bra. The leotards all had lining and held everything in place.
Where have you found gymnastics leo with a built in lining? I'm in the US and I've never found one. I have seen dance ones that have a liner or shelf bra.
 
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amiandjim

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Mine wore Old Navy girls sports bras for years, there are no cups in them but just add a layer of padding. They are also inexpensive. If they are riding up my guess is the ones you have are are too big. Mine has now transitioned to Lululemon, seriously wish she didn’t want to wear one now:D
Right??? Mine now only wants Lulu tights as well! Those things are NOT cheap!
 

kendo348

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I agree that lined leos would be the best solution, but I have never come across any. Even in her dark-colored, what-I-thought-was-quality comp leo it’s super obvious. I’d love to hear where to find lined leos, if anyone knows.

I was just looking at Athleta and they have some longer/crop top style bras that I think we will try. In a smaller size (thank you @Tigtimes.) I told her she does not have to wear them regularly until she is ready. What I’m trying to do is resolve any external barriers that are contributing to her opposition.

Thanks all!
 
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Mish

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All it took for mine a few years ago was for a teammate to pull her aside and tell her that her "nips" were showing. Although she was resistant she wore one from that point forward. Just get a soft one to start with.
 

mommyof1

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Right??? Mine now only wants Lulu tights as well! Those things are NOT cheap!

Mine has had much less interest in Lulu since I started making her buy her own clothes, ha.

I agree with others that if the bra is riding up, the fit is not right. To stay down during high-intensity activity such as gymnastics, it needs to fit tightly and may be difficult to pull on. A wide band of elastic that's sewn on or enclosed in a casing will stay in place better than a soft band that's knit in. Athleta Girl, Nike Pro, and C9 at Target are brands to try in kids' sizes. Old Navy was hit or miss for us depending on the specific style.

I would avoid softer and/or longer crop top styles--in my experience those tend to ride up more, not less.
 
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Aussie_coach

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Where have you found gymnastics leo with a built in lining? I'm in the US and I've never found one. I have seen dance ones that have a liner or shelf bra.
Our local leotard lady made all our gear and it was always lined. Since those days her brand has grown and you can get them in the US now, SylviaP. We still get all our gear from her, and its still always lined.
 

gymgal

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dd wore walmart brand beginner sports bras (came double lined) for the longest time - basically until she really needed it for support, at which time she switched to better sports bras. She was always in a group with older gymnasts so she wanted to wear a bra sooner than when she actually needed it, which was fine. I don't every recall her having an issue with them riding up on her but we got them very form fitting so that may be part of it.

What does she wear for a swimsuit? If it's two piece, maybe I would start with whatever style that is as she will be used to it with swimming.

Also, if she is not needing it for support, I am not sure I would be pushing it right now.
 

kendo348

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All it took for mine a few years ago was for a teammate to pull her aside and tell her that her "nips" were showing. Although she was resistant she wore one from that point forward.

I’m thinking this is what it might take! Friends are much more persuasive :) Although she did wear one of her own accord for half of today and has been openly discussing it with me. I really like her... she is great.

Mine has had much less interest in Lulu since I started making her buy her own clothes, ha.

A wise approach! At age 14 we plan to start implementing this. Thanks for the reminder that I should warn my 13yo to start saving, ha.

What does she wear for a swimsuit? If it's two piece, maybe I would start with whatever style that is as she will be used to it with swimming.

She’s a one-piece girl. Which, come to think of it, might be why she’s having a hard time with this! Two years ago she had a tankini and it was fine, last year we never bought one because our covid summer included so little swimming that to be honest, she just designated a leo that was on its way out as her swimsuit.
 
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