Improper bra fit is barrier to female physical activity

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Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr Deirdre McGhee, a researcher and sports physiotherapist at the University of Wollongong.  Dr McGhee’s work focuses on sports bras – how they fit, and how they impact physical activity.  Her work has found that more than 80% of women wear a sports bra that does not fit them properly.  This can result in a myriad of problems ranging from embarrassment (especially for adolescents), physical discomfort, and even reduced sport performance.  I have embedded a short video below where Dr McGhee describes her work, and gives tips on simple resources that can help women determine whether their bras fit them properly (email subscribers can view the video on our blog).

From a previous article on Dr McGhee, here are her 3 tips for bra fitting success:

 1. Don’t have the band too loose – the band is the primary support and it shouldn’t move up and down as you move your arms.

2. When worn, the cups should have no wrinkles and gaps (too big) and no bulging of breast tissue to the side or below the armpit (too small).

3. The underwire must sit on the ribs in your armpit. The front between the cups flush on your breastbone. The straps must be firm and supportive but not uncomfortable.

Dr McGhee has helped to create a bra fitting brochure, which you can access online for free here. She assures me that it is extremely simple to get the proper fit for a sports bra, most women just haven’t been taught how to do so.  Dr McGhee has also created an iPhone/iPad app which will allow women to assess their bra fit, and track their sports bras over time, which you will be able to find in the Apple app store in the coming weeks by searching “Sports Bra”.

Enjoy the video!


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3 Responses to Improper bra fit is barrier to female physical activity

  1. Rhodia says:

    I remember how embarrassed I was in junior high gym class at the movement of my breasts. At 13 I was already a 36C and tried to avoid calling attention to that (including crossing my arms across my chest, etc.). I didn’t even know such a thing as sports bras existed though! Maybe I would have been more willing to play sports. Now I am a runner and I have a super supportive bra that I love. I see other runners all the time who are smaller chested than I am, yet have a lot more movement going on.

  2. bluehorserunning says:

    A big problem is that good sports bras are really expensive – $40 to $80, and are only good for a year or so before they start to lose their elasticity and sag. If you’re working out a couple of times a week, you need a couple of sports bras. Given that I’m paying off school loans and have *nothing* to spare at the end of the month, I go with the cheap-ass bras that I can get from stores like Ross for $15.

  3. Pingback: Borgess Athletic Performance Program » Bra fit as a performance issue? Who knew??