Breast health and the exercising female

Jenny Burbage, Michelle Norris, Brogan Horler, Timothy David Blackmore

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The breast does not contain muscle; the only two supporting structures are the skin and the Cooper’s ligaments, both of which are quite weak mechanically, and, therefore, when exercising, the breast moves independently. The negative consequences of an unsupported breast include breast pain, breast ptosis (sag), embarrassment, and potential negative performance effects. Excessive breast motion during exercise, caused by a lack of appropriate breast support, can also be a barrier to women participating in sport and exercise. It is, therefore, imperative to ensure the breast is held firmly in place. In this chapter, the mechanics of the breast and breast movement are explained, as well as the negative consequences of breast movement. Advice is provided on the styles of sports bras (e.g., encapsulated or compression) recommended for the individual, based on their breast size and type of exercise. An overview of how wearing bras with low breast support may negatively impact on performance in sport and exercise is also provided.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Exercising Female
Subtitle of host publicationScience and Its Application
EditorsJacky Forsyth, Claire-Marie Roberts
ISBN (Electronic)9781351200264
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


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