Lynx Love for a Large Chest: Cross Back and Ladder Back Sports Bra Reviews

Here’s a sports bra look I admire. In the past I would have lamented how off limits it is to women with large chests.

big bust sports bra dream

But here’s a change. I took this photo of a woman at the airport simply to show you my style twin!

big bust sports bra envy

Thanks to Lynx Sportswear, women with large chests can now add back interest to their athleisure. Today I review the Lynx ladder back sports bra and the Lynx cross back sports bra that I teased you with in December.

Disclosure: Lynx gave me the cross back sports bra as a review sample, and I purchased the ladder back bra with my own money. All opinions are my own.

Quick Summary:

Both are great for wearing under wide armholes and low or cut-in backs. The cross back is a high impact wonder.  The ladder back is good for low impact sports.

The Concept:

Lynx bras support from the sides–just like hands holding you up. In fact, that’s exactly where founder Cynthia Smith got the idea. I’m going to write more about her inspiration on the Campbell & Kate blog soon. [If you wonder where I’ve been for the last two months, the C&K blog posts show that I’ve been pretty busy over there. I have more great posts planned, so why not subscribe to the C&K newsletter? That way I can alert you when I post new content.] There are no underwires, and the only thing hard is the hook in back. The ladder back doesn’t even have a hook, which makes it especially nice for floor work. You know what else is great? Being able to throw these bras in the washing machine.

One of the tenets of bra design is that the bridge between the two breasts must be stable. It’s never supposed to stretch. Cynthia reversed this by using rigid side panels for support (the hands) and a stretchy center panel that lets you move and breathe. It’s not an encapsulation bra, but it’s not a compression bra either.

lynx sports bra up to a J cup

The purple arrow points to the stretchy center panel. The yellow arrow points to the princess seam going down the middle of the rigid side panels. You may also notice that the seams are finished in a way to prevent any chafing.

I was a complete skeptic as I listened to her explanation, but when I put the bras on, it didn’t even feel like I had breasts anymore. They felt weightless. More on why below . . . .

Size, Shape and Fit:

  • Cynthia ultimately put me in a 3 Dart in the racer back and cross back and a 2 Dart in the ladder back after I told her that my rib cage measured 31-ish and the fullest part of my bust measured 40-ish. But Cynthia is NOT a fan of “ish” measurements and recommends following the sizing instructions on her website to the letter (or number) because she has tested her method in person on thousands of women.
  • My breasts are higher-placed, so she recommended the cross back. For women with lower-sitting breasts. she recommends the racer back because the armholes scoop lower. (“Higher-placed” and “lower-sitting” refer to to the distance from the clavicle to where the breast attaches to the body. In my case, that’s about 3.5 inches.)
  • The ladder back runs an entire size larger than the racer back and cross back.
  • The racer back and cross back have 3 adjustment loops in back. The ladder back has no hook or anything to adjust the band size.
  • The shape falls on the flatter end of the spectrum and can create a squashed cleavage effect.

Big bust lynx righr

Big bust lynx front only

(You will notice my back fat in these pictures, but I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying a great bra.)

  • I have never experienced any band slippage in these bras, and I’m still wearing the cross back bra on the loosest loop. When I first pull one of these bras over my head, it feels like I’ll never be able to get it over my entire chest. After I scoop from the bottom, however, everything is magically contained. Here is the amazing effect of such a firm band together with “shallow” depth: I get absolutely no boob foldover between the base of my breasts and the band. The top edge of the band rests precisely where my breasts meet my body.
Big bust lynx band

The first time I wore this bra was for over 20 hours. At the end of the day, I had only a pale red mark beneath the band, and it hadn’t slipped below the base of my breasts despite sitting in an airplane for 6 hours.

Some women take this for granted, but for me, it’s not always a given that an underwire is going to rest directly at the base of my breasts after I’ve been sitting for a long time, no matter how tight the band is. Perhaps it’s something to do with the combination of slouching and higher-placed breasts.

Feel

  • Although the flexible center keeps it from being a compression bra, it feels like one when I first put it on. Initially this feels constricting, but within five minutes I’m not even conscious of it.
  • The boobs kiss each other in these bras, but because everything stays in place, there’s no awareness of it.
  • The high back causes an even distribution of weight and pressure that feels INCREDIBLE. This must be the reason for the weightless feeling I described above. Cynthia told me that in UK lab test comparisons with the Panache sports bra, they found that the Lynx bra offered a significant difference in pressure between the shoulders and band while offering equivalent support.

Support and Performance

  • My favorite YMCA instructor has us jumping around like crazy in her class, and I’m just as happy doing it in my Lynx cross back bra as in my Panache. Slight movement is inevitable, but it’s not one bit painful or embarrassing. Basically, I just don’t give my chest a second thought when I’m exercising in the Lynx cross back.
  • The ladder back is a different story. It’s fine for running down stairs or to catch the bus–I definitely feel supported–but once my instructor has us doing jumping jacks, I become a woman you want to bravangelize. Here are my two theories for this: (1) although the straps that cross the back of the cross back bra have some give (they appear to be constructed of both the stretch mesh found in the inside center panel plus the fabric that makes up the outer shell), the straps that cross the back of the ladder back bra are straightforward bands of elastic; and (2) the cross back straps descend from the shoulders to a base that is 5 inches high while the base of the ladder back is simply the 1 inch band. For normal activity, this is fine, and I feel the same weightlessness in the ladder back as I do in the cross back; for jumping, however, the structure of the ladder back doesn’t give me the same stability.
  • Finally, at the beginning of a workout, I’m conscious of the high inside shoulder straps closest to my neck, but by the middle of a workout I’ve forgotten all about it.
Big bust lynx strap mark

The blue arrows point to the strap marks left after 20+ hours of wearing the ladder back. You can see how much closer this is to my neck than the beige marker where my bra straps usually sit. The cross back bra straps also come in this close to the neck.

lynx cross back front

lynx cross back back

This picture is just to show you that I’m keeping up with my style triplets! :)

Swimming

I already shared with you how well the cross back worked for me in the ocean, and the ladder back was just as good–especially under a wet suit! Truth be told, though, black as a color came across as much more bra-like than the pink marbled cross back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The salt water didn’t seem to have an adverse effect, but I didn’t wear either for very long in the water. I do notice one thing: my cross back bra still smells like suntan lotion even after a couple of washings. I don’t mind–the scent takes me back to Hawaii every time!

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Comments

  1. What a wonderful bra. It doesn’t seem as heavy and uncomfortable as many sports bras. I am really impressed by its versatility.

  2. Darlene C. says:

    Versatile–that’s exactly the word for it! And I love all the color and print options. Thanks for your comment today and on Leah’s last post, Janice!

  3. I tried a Lynx bra and it didn’t fit me properly – everyone is shaped different- excellent customer service though so I would recommend others give them a try.

  4. Good to know about the cross-back style, I bought one a couple of years ago when it only came in racer back (it’s long since worn out.) The pink looks like it just might be the right shade to fade beneath my show shirts.

    (I’m going to have to revist some of Tina’s old posts- my office is now business casual to full business when donors come by, a big change from when I could continue wearing my grad school t-shirts and jeans the last few years.)

    • Darlene C. says:

      And you could guess post about how you meet the full business challenge here!

      • I think it may be a few weeks until I actually get a good handle on it (we have an open house for donors towards the end of April, that’s going to be the big test.) But if you want to email me what you’re looking for I can plan ahead

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