New Research in Sports Bras

Dr Scurr testing sports bra

Dr Scurr testing sports bra

Recent research has shown that when women exercise, it is not the amount of breast movement that causes most pain during exercise, but the speed at which the breasts move. The findings of this research could change the way sports bras are designed.

University of Portsmouth studied more than 100 women by getting them to run with sensors attached to their breasts. Results showed that the speed at which breasts move during exercise is more likely to cause pain than the amount of movement, Dr Joanna Scurr, sports scientist, claimed. Dr. Scurr’s studies revealed that “subjects experienced the greatest degree of pain and discomfort during the points at which the breast was in the process of accelerating or decelerating.”


Previous studies by Dr. Scurr concluded that both regular bras and sports bras did not provide adequate support for many fitness activities. Sports bras are designed to stop the breasts from bouncing, but they do not prevent lateral movement or movement forwards and backwards, which occurs when the breast are compressed and expand again, during vigorous exercise.

Dr Scurr said: “Breast health is an under-researched area and we hope to broaden our understanding, raise awareness of an important quality of life issue.” She is planning to work with the military and sports bras manufacturers to help develop a new fabric which will support breasts by moulded to a woman’s breast. It will possibly be a form of elastic memory to protect the mammaries.

Dr. Scurr’s research has won the University of Portsmouth several important research grants, including:

  • Breast Science research funding. 2005 onwards. (£320K)
  • Anti-cellulite & core stability exercise device. 2006. (£25K)
  • Investigation of the effect of foot orthotics on ground reaction forces during various sporting activities. 2005. (£4K)
  • The influence of different support systems on three-dimensional breast movement during various impact activities. 2005. (£20K)

Reference:  “Bouncing Breasts Spark New Bra Challenge” by Dr Joanna Scurr, University of Portsmouth

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