Sport Bras and Breast Biomechanics

Sport Bras and Breast Biomechanics

Did you know that scientific research of breast movement as it pertains to female athletes hasn't been seriously done until 15 years ago?

The Research Group in Breast Health at the University of Portsmouth UK has been researching and testing breast biomechanics for the purposes of understanding how breasts behave in motion and how this negatively affects athletic performance. One main goal is how to optimize sport bra designs to improve performance and wellbeing.

How do they get breast biomechanics data? It is actually quite a challenge compared to other parts of the body! Breast tissue is not like other tissues in the human body- it doesn’t have any muscle or bone within it, and is often referred to as a wobbling mass. During exercise and movement, breasts move up and down, left to right, and forwards and backwards. Breasts move differently depending on the sport or activity. They also experience something called "lag time" when the breast tissue is pulled back sharply by the body moving in the opposite direction. 

By tracking the movement of the torso and breasts with sensors and motion capture camera systems, these researchers can calculate the amount of independent breast movement. They test both sport bras and everyday bra styles to give brands an idea of how supportive their bras are. They also test prototypes, right from the first iteration to final product, so brands like Anita can make changes based on the testing results until they have a product they feel confident in.

Our best-selling 5544 Delta Air Control Sport Bra has been lab tested on real athletes using motion sensors and has acheived rank in the top 10 of all sports bras on the market for percentage in reduction of overall breast movement. 

Types of Sport Bras:


A compression sports bra aims to compress the breasts closer to the chest in order to reduce breast movement. They move the centre of mass of the breasts closer to the body, which reduces the movement of the breast. Best for smaller breasts, compression bras are usually one piece of strong, elastic material. Pullover styles stretch when putting on and taking off, which can decrease their lifespan.


An encapsulation style sports bra separates and supports each breast individually, halving the mass. They feature more sturdy construction and can sometimes use underwire to create that separation to form two individual cups. Research promotes use of this style for larger-breasted (>D cup) women to reduce movement and discomfort.

Combination Compression and Encapsulation

There are bras on the market, like our Anita Delta Air Control and Anita Extreme Control Plus bras that incorporate both an encapsulation and a compression element.  There tends to be encapsulating cups but with an external layer of fabric spanning across them to create compression as well. This type of sport bra provides the most support for all breast types and activities. 
Anita Extreme Control Plus Sport Bra
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