4 The impact of poor breast support on sports performance
Poor breast support during sport and exercise not only influences breast health but it may also have a negative effect on performance. Breast support requirements will differ depending on the type of sporting activity you are performing, and across a woman’s life as the breast size changes during adolescence, through pregnancy, and into menopause. Being aware of the requirements for different sports, as well as individual requirements and preferences, is key in maintaining good breast health and optimal breast support.
Activity 3 What impact does poor breast support have on performance?
Listen to the section of the podcast ‘Bounce’ where the panel discuss the impact of breast health and breast support for a variety of sports.
Then watch the animation which identifies the impact that poor breast support can have on performance.
What were the key considerations of breast movement for marathon runners, tennis players and javelin throwers and the type of support required?
Scientific analysis of running has shown breasts to move in a figure of 8 and over a third experienced breast pain which impacted their training. Breast pain can be due to movement but also related to hormonal changes linked to the menstrual cycle.
In tennis, the upper body rotation causes a lot of lateral movement from side to side and so a suitable sports bra is one that supports the breast during this type of movement.
For javelin a key concern is the range of arm movement and, therefore, the design of the shoulder straps of the sports bra are of great importance to provide support, without restricting any movement.
Additional considerations are, in some sports, also given to the aesthetics of the breast support, for example, in gymnastics or figure skating the underwear must not be visible or interrupt the silhouette of the leotard. The next section looks at the type of bras and breast support available.