Sports Bras

Reporter: Marguerite McKinnon

"If any woman is doing any sport she should have a sports bra" says Felicity. "When Pamela Anderson was running down the beach and her boobs were bouncing everywhere that was dire - she was doing irreparable damage."

If she were a real life-guard she would have known this spectacle was actually a health hazard.

"When you exercise your breasts can move up to 11 cm when you are doing a high impact sport" says Felicity.

Felicity Percival, Editor of Women's Health Magazine wants to help Aussie women fight gravity.

"We decided to do a sports bra road test because we have been inundated by readers asking what are the best sports bras."

More than 50 sports bras were tested to see which ones were most supportive.

"So of all the bras that we tested this one [Berlei] came up trumps for many reasons it's a great supportive bra- it also has really solid straps and also Berlei is the only sports Bra that's recommended by the Australian Institute of Sport" says Felicity.

One from "Triumph" was the favourite of the crop-top style.

"The fabric in this bra is especially good because it's super absorbent as it wicks away sweat ... and also on the back this is a great bra because of the cross back."

"We're basing the science on trying to limit the movement of the breast to limit breast discomfort" says Dierdre.

These days sports bras are tested like high-tech sporting equipment. It's a serious issue requiring serious scientific research. Dierdre Mcghee is an independent researcher from the biomechanics lab at Wollongong University.

Sensors are attached to Melissa's chest - these sensors are monitored by state-of-the-art motion analysis cameras that can detect movement down to a millimetre. The information is recorded on a computer software program."

In Dierdre's lab it's "function" over "fashion". In fact if you are a size D or larger it may be necessary to wear two sports bras to minimise impact.

The sports bra and crop had a 4 cm bounce rating. But a regular non-sports bra shows 8cm - double the movement.

"There is substantially more breast movement and high rating of breast discomfort - this bra is not suitable to wear during exercise.

Anatomically women don't have enough support to jump around. Only skin and fine hair-like ligaments called Cooper's ligaments. Sadly, when these ligaments stretch, they don't bounce back.

"Biomechanically collagen like any material as you stretch it over time so theoretically we could say that if the breasts are poorly supported and stretched they could sag more than if they were supported" says Deirdre.

Avoiding the "sag factor" means the sports bra has to fit properly. Last year Dierdre's team surveyed over 100 female athletes - 85 percent of them were in the wrong size sports bra-prompting her to put together this "How to" booklet.

"You make sure the straps are firm but they won't fall off, you make sure this is no wrinkles in the cup, there should be no bulging at the breast, the underwire must sit on the ribs and the band should be firm enough that it doesn't move when you move your arms above your head" advises Dierdre.

Here are the top 6 sports bras as voted by the Women's Health road testers.

Berlei $49.95

Triumph $36.95

Lorna Jane $55

Lululemon Athletica $65

Bendon $49.95

Lovable $39.95

Take your pick but if you're an active female the expert advice - invest in your chest.