Breasts & Exercise: What is the Best Sports Bra?

Apr 17, 2015 | fitness

Breasts and ExerciseDon’t Let your Boobs Get in the way of exercise

We have all heard the usual excuses why we can’t exercise, but according to the latest study out of the University of Portsmouth’s Research Group in Breast Health Fund, breasts were ranked 4th as a reason for not exercising! Now there is a new one, but I guess it does make sense. Many women complain about being embarrassed, uncomfortable or having sore backs as a result of the movement of the breast during a workout.

The study was published online in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health  and found only after time, lack of energy and health reasons, 17% of 239 women surveyed were “discouraged from participating in physical activity because of their breasts”. Professor Joanna Scurr, who led the study, said that if women do not wear the right sports bra, they “risk damaging the fragile Cooper’s ligaments which, once damaged, are irreparable” ouch!

More on why a good sports bra is so important!

An average breast weighs anywhere from 200 and 400g (or way less in my case!) and Sports Medicine Australia say that breasts can move up to 12cm during exercise. Dr Scurr says that a good sports bra can cut that movement in half and even up to 59% because they help support the structure of your breast.

UntitledRunning or intense exercise in particular causes 3-dimensinal movement (see Image) resulting in the discomfort, chafing and damage as mentioned above.

What type of sports bra should I be looking for?

This is going to be different for every individual because it’s dependent on your size and the type of activity you are doing. There are basically 3 types:


Compression bras (A and B cups) “They compress the breasts against the chest wall to restrict movement”, coming in two different styles for low or medium activities and then another for medium to intense activity.

Compression/encapsulation bras (C and D cups) These “combination” bras combine a supportive and comfortable style.

Encapsulation bras (D and DD cups) They use individual cups to surround and support each breast separately. There is no compression in these bras (most everyday bras are encapsulation bras).

Where can I buy a good sports bra?

There are loads of retailers (including online) that sell good quality sports bras from Lorna Jane to Lululemon and Berlei that can provide you with suggestions of suitable sports bras for your needs.

Lululemon’s Ta Ta Tamer and Ta Ta Tamer II reportedly meet the expert’s credentials for a great choice. Berlei in particular work with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) to produce sports bras that actually reduce breast bounce. AIS test results prove that Berlei’s Electrify Underwire sports bra can reduce breast bounce by up to 50%. With the assistance of AIS they have developed the Berlei Sports Bra Support Factor (SF) rating system, described as “a unique rating system for sports bras that helps women choose the right bra for their needs”.

It really is a process of trying different ones on to find the brand, and cup size that fits your breasts the best. They may be a little scary from a cost perspective but really think about the investment and the protection you are giving your breasts. Here’s more info on how to find the right sports bra.

How do I lose weight from my breasts?

Ah! The age-old question! Just like we cannot lose weight off our hips or belly, we cannot spot reduce.  Weight loss depends on the body fat percentage you lose. Breasts are formed by “fibroglandular tissue and fat”. The fat component is different for every woman (between 25-75%), so weight loss is going to be dependent on your own body type and how much fat you have there to lose!

So! Let’s spread the word out there. Exercise doesn’t need to be painful for the breasts – a good sports bra will see you working out in no time!


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