Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge

The Science of Brassiere-ology

Or when Maidenform just isn’t enough.

LiveScience reports that Bras Don’t Support Bouncing Breasts.

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The science of brassiere design in this study refers to the biomechanics of breasts bouncing during exercise. For women with larger endowment, e.g., a pair of D-cup breasts weighing 15-23 pounds, the unrestrained movement has potential to damage the delicate supporting ligaments and inflict pain. Women may abandon active sports because of this.

Sports bras of the compression type only limit up-and-down movement of the breasts. The study revealed that during vigorous exercise, women’s breasts not only move up-and-down, but also side-to-side and in-and-out. The sum of the motion is something akin to a figure eight.

While brassieres have evolved throughout history from body-binding corsets to cleavage-enhancing “miracle” bras, only recently have researchers injected a dose of science into the design of undergarments that go beyond conferring a more “perky” look, the researcher says.

“It is only recently that bra design has turned to science,” said study author Joanna Scurr, a biomechanics professor at the University of Portsmouth in England. “There was no research. It’s like designing a car or kitchen equipment without first thinking ‘what is the purpose of this?'”

A figure eight. Huh.

Comments

  1. #1 KimBooSan
    September 11, 2007

    Well let me tell you, those friggin’ “rocket” scientists are finally catching up. I’m a 40DD and I could have told anyone who asked that “up/down” isn’t the only problem.

    I have to wear two bras, sometimes three: a cotton underwire for lift, support, and wicking; and one or two heavy compression “sports” bras for, er, compression. People think I’m crazy for wearing underwire while working out but it really helps reduce the figure-8 phenomena. Otherwise my “ladies” put too much torque into the motion and bras without underwire just…slip. Yes, really.

    What a concept: studying breasts. Sometime I could just cry. Bah.

  2. #2 Doc Bushwell
    September 11, 2007

    Yep, even those of us in the B & C cup range find that there are more mammary degrees of freedom than up-and-down. However, I must tip my hat and snap my straps in recognition of Professor Scurr’s efforts to quantify the motions. If her studies result in significantly improved sports bras, then “double-bra’ing” may no longer be necessary. I’ll also note that it finally took a woman to seriously address this problem.

  3. #3 Rhapsody
    September 11, 2007

    The study revealed that during vigorous exercise, women’s breasts not only move up-and-down, but also side-to-side and in-and-out. The sum of the motion is something akin to a figure eight.

    Any woman could have told you that without a study, but I am glad that it finally is recorded in science ;)

  4. #4 Jack Napier
    March 11, 2008

    Hi,

    Dr Joanna Scurr has just released some more info on her research regarding sports bras. Check out the videos and podcast. There could be some info that you can write about.

    http://americanlegends.blogspot.com/2007/09/breasts-exercise-and-bras-j-mark.html

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