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The boobs issue

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

How to make your tits look great in a competition bikini

Updated for 2024

Let's face it, boobs are one of the first casualties whilst training for a fitness competition, so naturally they need a bit of care and support to look their best on competition day.

You can't train your breasts into shape, but there are things you can do to minimise the unsightly volume loss and sagging skin that rapid competition weight does to your breasts.

In this article I will go through how to make your breasts look their best, by making careful choices in your bikini design and good preperation.

meme of women raising her arms, a moment of silence for all the boobs that have been lost on our fitness journey

As a bikini designer I have had to figure out how to get the best look for every individual body, and I find breasts are the top concern to my clients. The process of preparing for a fitness show makes you focus on your body's in minute detail, often focusing on singular area's of contention, which can cause extra stress.

Athletes judge their own bodies as they imagine the judges will do when they finally reach their goal of stepping on stage, and the area of the body that tends to throw fitness athletes into most consternation is breasts. Women with small breasts worry they don't have enough, and women with large breasts worry about how to keep them perky and in place.

First lets bust some myths....

Do you need fake boobs to win in fitness?

No, no you do not!

It may seem that everyone has had a boob job on stage, but there are plenty of champions who are natural breasted. The judges mark you on your symmetry, condition, balance, confidence and stage presence. In the stage presence mark your bikini and how well you fit in it, and have chosen a fit and design to suit your body ...the judges don't care about the size of your breasts.

Cup Bikinis look better

Not necessarily, it depends on your breasts and your bikini style

It is important to manage expectations, and work with your bikini designer to get the best look for you. We expect an underwired cup to provide more support, but the fitness bikini design is fundamentally different to a traditional bra design, and the usual rules don't apply. The cupped design has specific fitting problems which I explain later in the article.

Click here to read which bra top style is best for your boobs.

Padding solves all fitting issues

Sometimes padding works, sometimes it creates more problems.

How you pad your bikini, where you pad it and what you pad it with will all effect the outcome of your final stage look. Take some time before the competion to experiment with different padding types and placement so you know what you are doing on show day.

Close up of Three women wearing crystal bikini tops, they are holding trophies and smiling at each other


Top Tips for Competition Show Day

Come competition day just remember the judges don't score your boobs, they are concentrating on proportion, balance, symmetry and stage presence. Those are the things on which you should focus on. 

  • Take extra pads on show day

Try a few dry runs before the competition to get the pads in the right place and stitch them in for a hassle free day. In the last few days before a competition your body could still change so be prepared and take a few spares with you. Pads are best used to lift the breast higher than push it to the middle for cleavage. Use foam pads, they are light and can be cut to size and shape and avoid heavier style pads such as gel filled as they only increase the weight the bikini has to deal with.

  • Utilize nipple covers and body tape

A bit of body tape can make a huge difference. First use nipple covers to protect your sensitive parts, and then use tape to get perky. This can be applied differently depending on your bikini size and style so experiment a little before the show to see what works best for you.

  • Put your bikini on correctly

You may well giggle at the obviousness of this statement, but give it a go!

To put your bikini on correctly first tie the back strap as tight as you can without discomfort or beakage, then lean over slightly and tie up your shoulder straps tight enough without causing discomfort at the back of the neck or forcing the bikini underband to rise up. Then stand up straight and lift your breasts one at a time to place padding underneath and to the outside, being careful not to push padding beyond the underband. Then drop and nudge your breasts into place on top of the padding.


  • Use a regular triangle pad to create a profile shape on a soft triangle bikini

Adding simple padding to a triangle bikini gives your bikini the best profile shape, even if you don't need it to support your breasts. Not only does it stop your nipple showing through the bikini, but it gives a great profile look and gives symetrical shape to the bikini.

  • Use body tape for lift and to keep the bikini in position

Celebrities have been using body tape to strap themselves in and lift themselves up for decades...and you could use it too. There are now some amazing products to take advantage of, just do a trial run before showday so you know what you're doing. Fitness competitors have been using body tape and bikini bite to keep their bikini bottoms in the correct place...but you can also use it on bikini tops to stop them shifting around and keeping loose skin under control.


What Actually Happens to your breasts during Fitness Show Preparation?

Show preparation is unlike any other kind of weight loss program. Weight loss is incredibly rapid because of the progressive calorie reduction through dieting and increase in training.

Let's wind the clock back to show preperation. Everyone's prep is different, and every body reacts differently so there are no hard and fast rules that apply to everyone.

Whether your breasts are natural or have had breast augmentation surgery you will find that they lose volume, and can sag after rapid weight loss. The loss of breast volume in itself doesn't cause the sagging, it's actually the ligaments and skin in the breast area being unable to retract as fast as your weight loss.

What you can do to help your boobs during prep

  • Wear the right bra

Even though show prep is a relatively short time you should continue to provide your breasts with as much support and care as you did before, don't just let your reduced boobs knock around in your old bra...chances are you need a whole re-fit.

Get re-measured and treat yourself to a new bra. It doesn't have to be expensive, it just needs to fit really well. Your breasts have changed size, shape and consistency and your back may have broadened as you have built your muscle. Get yourself re-measured by a professional and try on different styles and a size up and down from your new measurements to see what works the best.

Set in a gym location with 3 women fitness models squatting with weights

After your competition as you reverse diet your breasts should return to their normal size, but you should keep the bra for use on your next competition prep if you choose to do it again.

  • Keep skin supple

Make sure you keep moisturising and taking good care of your skin. Skin on your neck, chest and breasts is some of the most delicate and thin on your body. As breasts lose volume your skin cannot keep up with the rapid change , so keep it supple and moisturized to maintain elasticity.

You can also take suppliments or apply topical creams high in collagen. Collegen is a complex molecule, and research is patchy and speculative but claims that collagen can temporarily plump up and assist moisture retention and elasticity of the skin are somewhat proven. Use your best judgement though, claims that they will reverse skin damage long term are far fetched and untrustworthy. If it sounds too good to be true, it generally is.

  • Specialised Upper body exercise

Upper body exercise can help support your breast tissue. Your pectoral muscle sits right underneath your breasts, and strengthening that muscle can help pull up the tissue above it. Stick to the regime you and your trainer have worked out to achieve your desired body shape but don't skimp on your upper body.


What bikini style is best for your boobs?

Careful choices made when buying your bikini will give you the best look for your breasts.

A competition bikini is not like a normal bra or bikini top...the engineering is fundamentally different and cannot provide the support you have come to expect from a good well fitted bra.

4 women in crystal bikinis posing and smiling on stage
Style and size should be considered according to your body proportions

First decide whether you want a triangle or a cupped bra design. Then start thinking about size and scale according to your own body proportions. If I was styling all these ladies I would advise the lady on the left swap bikini top with the lady on the right. They are both wearing the classic triangle, but see how the size of the bikini looks too small on the tall lady (to the left) and the lady on the right is totally swamped by the size of her bra.

There are pro's and cons for both bra styles, so it pays to try on a variety of designs to find the right one for you.

  • Triangle Bra's

The triangle bra is the fitness standard. It is shaped like a triangle with either soft cups that gather with a string at the bottom, or a moulded triangle with a fixed bottom strap. Both styles have shoulder straps that tie behind the neck.

Best for small to medium breasts

Triangle bra shapes, either soft or rigid moulded work really well for small breasted ladies. They look better in profile than a cupped bra, especially when competitors transition into side poses.

Soft cups look excellent on smaller breasts, and can be adjusted for your unique body proportions. The soft cup look is completed with shaped triangle pads and as much stuffing as you need to give the look that you want.

A rigid triangle cup is great for maximising cleavage for small to mid breasted women ( A-C cup) but cannot be adjusted in size. This design will squash and lift smaller breasts and you can always add more stuffing or padding as required on the day. Make sure all your straps are done super tight as you step on stage for maximum impact.

Rigid cups are not advised for large fake breasts, as the underband tends to lift off the body at the ribcage, leaving the underbust exposed. The fixed underband simply does not have the flexibility to stay put as you move through your posing routine.

Triangle bikinis for large breasts

A classic gathered triangle is best for large fake breasts as the cup can be adjusted and moulded around your breast. The straps will provide little support or push up effect for very large and heavy breasts, the garment simply can't be relied upon to do this.

Large natural breasts that have reduced down can wear this style, but are rarely as flattering. I would recommend cup styles wherever possible for larger natural breasts and if you have sagging skin, it needs to be hidden and lifted with some stealthy body tape application underneath.

  • Cupped bra's

Underwired styles are great for mature and large breasted women, especially women who have lost a lot of breast material but still have extra skin to deal with. They are designed to separate and create shape and lift but provides nominal more support than the non-wired variety.

Cupped bikinis for small to medium breasts

I tend to steer clear of cupped bikinis for small breasts as they tend to gape at the upper strap no matter how much padding you use. If you really want a cupped bikini and are small breasted make sure you get the correct size and opt for a full cup rather than a demi cup to avoid excessive gaping. Never buy a bigger size and stuff it with padding, the cup will gape horribly as you go through your posing transitions.

Cupped bikinis for large breasts

Cupped bikinis are the best for natural big bosoms, they will give shape and definition and some support which is hard to acheive otherwise. Have your designer use thicker straps at the back and shoulder for extra strength, and use body tape/ nipple covers to hide excess skin or bring the breasts closer together prior to putting on the bikini.

For augmented breasts choose a bikini top without moulded padding and get the correct size if you don't want to spill out of the top.


Much of my job is about managing expectations, We all want high up, perky looking breasts...but sometimes that is more than a bit of lycra and some elastic can literally do, you need to be realistic about what can be acheived.

So, no matter how much breast you lose during your competition fitness journey there is always a way to improve the look of your boobs on show day. By making careful choices in the style and size of your bikini, using appropriate padding and taping methods and preparing well in advance you too can make your tits look great in a competition bikini!


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