Researchers develop unique sports bra fitting app

Breast Research Australia researchers, Dr Deirdre McGhee and Professor Julie Steele, yesterday (13 February) officially released a unique app, Sport Bra, which is the only app in the world to contain evidence-based information to help women choose a well-fitted, supportive sports bra that is comfortable to wear during exercise. 

Using step-by-step instructions combined with clearly labelled photographs and movies, the app, which is downloadable from iTunes, guides the user in finding the right bra for their exercise needs.

Dr McGhee said the team at Breast Research Australia (BRA), based in the Biomechanics Research Laboratory at the University of Wollongong, has been systematically investigating the biomechanics of breast health for the past 15 years. 

“One of our recent studies found that 88 per cent of female adolescents wore a bra during sport that didn’t fit properly, while 85 per cent failed a simple knowledge test on bras and bra fit.”

She said that poor bra fit and insufficient breast support during physical activity can lead to excessive breast movement, which in turn can cause embarrassment and breast discomfort, and in extreme cases, can contribute to poor posture and musculoskeletal problems such as upper limb neural symptoms and neck and back pain. 

“A well-fitted and supportive bra can alleviate up to 85% of these symptoms, allowing women to exercise in greater comfort and possibly removing the need for breast reduction surgery”, she said.

To help educate and empower women to participate comfortably in physical activity and enjoy the health benefits associated with an active lifestyle, Dr McGhee and Professor Steele have developed the four-step app that guides women through choosing a supportive sports bra, putting it on correctly, how to tell whether the bra fits correctly and how to determine whether the bra provides sufficient breast support.

“The app is not aligned with any one brand of bra or trying to sell any particular product”, Dr McGhee said, “rather, it is designed to educate and empower women, using visual cues, to purchase the product that is most suitable for them.”

UOW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings, officially launched the app with a switch of the button in UOW’s Biomechanics Research Laboratory.

He described it as a terrific example of basic research now being translated into an app.

Professor Wellings said lots of interest groups within the University got involved in this particular project.

Dr McGhee and Professor Steele have acknowledged the support of the UOW Innovation and Commercial Research Team, the UOW e-Club, and Associate Professor Daniel Saffioti at UOW’s Information Technology Services (ITS), who have supported the development of the app, as well as the app developer, Rodney Davies from Logical Instinct.

See UOW-TV’s video of the launch.


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More media coverage

  • Pictured at the launch of the “Sports Bra” app (from left to right): Dr Tamantha Stutchbury (Innovation and Commercial Research), Professor Julie Steele, Rodney Davies, Associate Professor Daniel Saffioti and Dr Deirdre McGhee.

  • Dr Deirdre McGhee (left) and Professor Julie Steele watch third year PE student Stephanie Power demonstrates the outcomes of wearing a properly fitted sports bra.

  • Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings officially launches the app.

  • Professor Wellings with the app watched on by Professor Steele and Dr McGhee. Third year PE student Stephanie Power is on the treadmill and monitoring the activity is PhD student Sheridan Gho