What the Yuck: My breasts hurt after a workout
June 3rd, 2011
07:30 AM ET

What the Yuck: My breasts hurt after a workout

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: Why do my boobs ache after running, even when I wear a good running bra?

That good bra might not be as good as you think, or it may be worn out.

You see, when we exercise, our breasts move not only up and down, according to a recent study at Oregon State University, but also side to side and forward and backward.

This latter motion (backward and forward) simply isn't reined in by most sports bras.

In fact, D-cup breasts in a low-support bra can move a total of 35 inches up and down during a sweat session (a B-cup in a high-support bra barely moves an inch).

That's quite a workout! That could explain your post-jog ache, huh?

Solution: If you're bigger than a B-cup, choose a sports bra that has a cup for each breast. This style is way better at keeping the girls comfortably contained while you work out.

Copyright Health Magazine 2011

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soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Andi

    Wow everyone else here isn't understandable. Obviously you've never had large breasts or you'd know what she's talking about.

    And my solution: I wear a regular bra under a sports bra... yeah its hot, but seriously, when you're well endowed with breasts, it works great and they aren't extremely sore afterwards.

    June 3, 2011 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kat

      Thanks for the first intelligent comment!

      Me, I avoid any vigorous exercise because there is not a bra or bra combination that's going to stop that motion. Lifting weights, swimming, and walking is acceptable, but sports, or god forbid, jogging, isn't.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:00 | Report abuse |
    • Heather

      I gave up on sports bras as a joke pretty early on. I take ballet and keep my D's in a very supportive regular bra under my leotards which normally have the additional support of a shelf bra built in. After a particularly hard class, my chest can still be achy, but not nearly so much as if I were wearing a sports bra. (and that's normally eclipsed by the agony in my feet and legs after the pointe work)

      June 3, 2011 at 10:30 | Report abuse |
    • J

      When my girls were in dance, they used to wear a control top part of pantyhose over their breasts (just cut the rest off and wear the top part!) it used to help tremendously

      June 3, 2011 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
    • RosaFranklin

      I'm a D cup and I do the same thing – I get a good regular bra, one of the kinds that's supposed to minimize the size of your breasts (basically via compression, which is why I use them for activity) and wear it under a sports bra that has molded cups. It takes forever to find a good one because I have to grab a bunch and spend a few moments bouncing around in each of them to see how well they work and most just don't do enough, but it's worthwhile in the end because in my current bra set-up, my boobs barely move and I am able to exercise without discomfort.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:46 | Report abuse |
    • Valerie's Daughter

      We should all get together and compare

      June 3, 2011 at 12:54 | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Andi... add me on facebook

      June 3, 2011 at 13:25 | Report abuse |
    • Heather

      What The? – Is it ever a waste of time spent doing something you enjoy? I'm 36. Many adults study ballet for the sheer joy it gives. I have no dreams of auditioning for a professional career and really, there's only a handful of girls in my school who have even a scant chance at becoming ballerinas but they all continue to study. Sometimes the reward is in the journey rather than the destination.

      June 3, 2011 at 15:27 | Report abuse |
    • Elspeth

      BRAVO Heather! Shame on you "What the"

      June 3, 2011 at 20:13 | Report abuse |
  2. RC Hills

    Try Under Armour zip front bras (I believe it's called the Endure). Really works wonders for a D cup. I couldn't live without mine.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Binky42

    Some people wear sports bras that are way too tight hoping that will keep them in place better. That will lead to pain. Make sure your sports bra is the right size with lots of support, and not too small.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. runner

    Try Moving Comfort (Fiona is good). Works like a charm and well worth the $30 you'll drop on it.

    June 3, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RS

    It's rare that I'm happy about being flat-chested, but during exercise is definitely one of those times.

    June 3, 2011 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RonM

    Surely you mean 3 – 5 inches movement up and down, not 35 inches, don't you???

    June 3, 2011 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pat

      lol, 35" of movement could knock out the jogger in front of you.

      June 3, 2011 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
    • Thanks 4 nothin'

      3 – 5 inches? Not 35 inches? My fantasy is ruined. Now I need a drink.

      June 3, 2011 at 14:08 | Report abuse |
    • Johnny

      You could take out a low flying airplane if there were 35 inches of movement here. Heck, once the momentum kicked in, you would probably be catapulted into orbit!

      June 3, 2011 at 14:31 | Report abuse |
    • Snoflinga

      As an F cup, trust me, they mean 35". If someone that size is only moving 3" with vigorous activity, it's all plastic.

      June 4, 2011 at 00:32 | Report abuse |
    • 28F

      As another F cup, I am sure they don't mean 35" that's almost 3 feet! my hip to my breasts is barely a foot long and I KNOW my boobs aren't travelling down to my legs during a run (even without a bra)!

      August 25, 2011 at 01:43 | Report abuse |
  7. franky

    Ooooh! Sparkles

    June 3, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. HRPufnstuf

    I looked at the picture. Those aren't breasts, CNN.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rochelle


      June 3, 2011 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
    • nowwhat

      I always enjoy in the gym when the girls jump up and down. Actually its even better now to talk about it.
      I am ready to massage them , after the workout, but please let them keep jumping.

      June 3, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
  9. driranek

    Does that include your cellmate's?

    June 3, 2011 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Joe Walsh ILBTs

    Its a real song on one of Joe's albums – go check it out – good stuff

    June 3, 2011 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. What The?

    Ok, to call women's breasts "b00bs" or "the girls", is immature, and YET again, trivilizes women, and women's bodies. They are BREASTS. Good job CNN...............not.

    June 3, 2011 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Snoflinga

      Oh for crying out loud, you're doing a pretty good job acting immature and doing a disservce to women here yourself. I have pretty sterling woman's lib credentials (I majored in womens studies, I have had relationships with women, I have had hairy legs at times, I have worked for a women's rights group) and *I* call hem b00bs. When I am not calling them t1ts. Buld a bridge and get over it already.

      June 4, 2011 at 00:38 | Report abuse |
  12. OneGiantBoob

    This discussion is slightly arousing. Don't suppose we could get some pictures to go along with the descriptions?

    June 3, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Johnny

    And they say people are afraid to get involved and help other people these days. You sir, are an outstanding citizen, willing to help those in need.

    June 3, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Bob The Builder

    Super glue your girls to your cheeks. That should help.

    June 3, 2011 at 15:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jughead

    Maybe a good breast massage after the workout would help?

    June 3, 2011 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. lance corporal

    take a tip from weight lifters and get a spotter, someone to grab hold when things get out of control, I'm available

    June 3, 2011 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. mitchyb

    Let me massage them for you. Better now?

    June 3, 2011 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Meg

    Glad to see so many people can be mature about this.....ANYWAY, ladies, I can tell you from experience that the Enell sports bra is absolutely fantastic for busty women. I can run and do other high-impact exercise very comfortably in mine. They're a little pricey, but they're totally worth it.

    June 3, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. mitchyb

    Be careful you don't break your nose with those things while working out!!

    June 3, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Shane

    This article is turning me on.

    June 4, 2011 at 08:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. joyfulrn

    I just throw my girls over my shoulders so they don't hit my knees when I jog. I'm really old and they got stretched out. (That's a visual for all you guys that need a cold shower).

    June 4, 2011 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Countryboy

    Let them bounce! http://WWW.CDBABY.COM/ALL/NUMONE bye now!

    June 4, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. B cup is perfect

    I love this article! I finally feel like I have an advantage with my "puny, teeny, tiny" B cup boobs! Yes, they are beautiful and perfectly shaped and comfortable no matter what I'm doing! Everything has a price. While you D cup ladies are getting all the stares and looks from the guys, I'll now smile every time I see one of you jogging. Want to play? Got to pay.

    June 4, 2011 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. stroking or squeezing?

    That's a laugh and a half. Most guys view women as just a hole in which to inexpertly bang their pole. They forget we have other parts that need stimulation too and I don't mean squeezing. Would you want your partner to squeeze your balls? No, massage is better. Yeah, I'd like to see a guy do something that isn't for himself.

    June 4, 2011 at 19:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. SayWHaaaaaaaaat

    (. ) ( .)

    June 4, 2011 at 20:55 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.