Many bras on the market are labeled as sports bras, but are not necessarily tested to see if the support level is adequate.
Sports bra testing is very important, however only you will know if your sports bra works for you simply be trying it on and doing the bounce test (jumping or running). Or of course we can tell you.
Biomechanical analysis helps to determine how much breasts move during physical activity. Normally, 3D movement analysis takes place, and captures high speed footage of the breast movement. Markers are placed on the breasts and infrared cameras are able to track the movement of the markers. The 3D movement testing not only focuses on the vertical movement of breasts, but also horizontal and in-and-out. This gives researchers the best idea as to how breasts move during physical activity. Gait analysis may also be undertaken, to analyse a woman's gait and body movement. This assists researchers to help determine a bras materials and construction, the degree of support it should offer, as well as the corresponding impact level by cup size. Participants can be tested in a range of bras, as well as completely unsupported. Various activity levels are also tested - walking, jogging and running on a treadmill.
Sports bra companies employ the services of a university or biomechanics lab for the purpose of testing their own products. Its unlikely that all testing uses the same parametres. This could only be achieved if all the testing was conducted by one university, so claims such as 'reduces bounce by 75%', and 'reduces bounce by 81%', are not necessarily tested in the same way. We don't actually know under what conditions the tests were done i.e. size cups, how many kms ph, the age of the participants, the placement of the markers and the amount of participants tested. Until this testing is undertaken using one methodology, its difficult to say how each brand compares to one another.
The University of Wollongong, NSW are the leaders of biomechanics of breast health in Australia. Their research aims to improve bra fit and bra design so that all women, irrespective of age, breast size, or disease status, are able to participate comfortably in physical activity and enjoy the health benefits associated with an active lifestyle. For more information, please read:
The amount of breast support needed varies with age, bra size and the type of exercise.
Breasts are primarily supported by the skin covering them. Elasticity of the skin decreases with age which, in turn, reduces the support it can provide. This means that older women require greater support from their bras, especially after pregnancy.
Females with larger bra sizes have heavier breasts and therefore require greater support from their bra.
Different types of exercise cause different breast movement. Exercises with more vertical movement of the body or movements involving rapid lower limb movement cause more breast movement and, therefore, require greater breast support.
Its not recommended to wear a crop top on its own while running or for any activity where there is lots of movement.