3 Impact Levels of Sports Bra and What They Mean

Did you know that you should choose your sports bra based on the level of intensity the physical activities you’re carrying out? Many of the women out there think all sports bras function the same — for sports, when in fact, they are structured for different kinds of support for different breast sizes and activities.

University of Portsmouth sports scientists studied how regular and sports bras affect the damage of breast tissues when they are worn for running. Their research had shown that a medium impact sports bra reduces the bounce of breasts, but it is not effective in restricting side-to-side movement. Because of this, it resulted in women trying to change their ways of running depending on the types of sports bra.

Sports bra provides three different levels of support for the breasts — low impact, medium impact and high impact. Before we explain each of their impact levels and what they mean, let’s talk about the basics of a sports bra.

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Basics of Sports Bras

The impact level of a sports bra refers to the effect of an activity you’re carrying out may have on your body. For sports bra, we are mainly referring to the impact that the activities have on your breasts.

To put it simply, the greater the impact level, the greater its effect on the intensity of breast movement, hence you are going to need a greater support level of a sports bra.


The Three Impact Levels Of Sports Bra

Low Impact Sports Bras

Yoga Sports Bra Padded Low Impact Workout from CRZ Yoga

Low impact sports bras are designed for people who often carry out activities that cause the least breast movement. They make a great option for women with smaller breasts as they have less breast tissues, hence they have a lower degree of bounce when doing light sports. 

Low impact sports bras are generally light and they provide a comfortable level of support, so they are more suitable for gentle activities such as yoga, stretching or doing pilates. A lot of people wear low impact sports bra when they are running errands around the town or when out on a walk. If you have a smaller breast size, they are even sufficient for moderate impact activities such as weight lifting.

Medium Impact Sports Bra

Women’s HeatGear Mid Impact Crossback Sports Bra from Under Armour

Medium impact sports bras are suitable for women of all cup sizes. However, you should decide based on your breast size and the degree of support you need. Generally, medium impact bras are suitable for a wide range of physical activities such as weight lifting, gym training, cycling, yoga or even hiking. 

For women with larger breasts, as their breast weight is greater than those with small breasts, they can opt for a medium impact sports bra when carrying out gentle activities such as walking or yoga. These types of bras will provide ample support for your breasts.

According to Running Warehouse, who was founded by a group of experienced runners who provide running apparel for runners, if you have smaller breasts, a medium impact sports bra would be sufficient for activities considered as high impact such as running, which ultimately depends on the amount of breast tissue you have. So, if you have smaller busts and you are doing medium impact like weightlifting, low impact sports bra may be enough to fully support your breasts.

High Impact Sports Bra

Sports Bras for Women High Impact Racerback Workout Bra from Yvette

They are sports bras that are designed for high levels of physical activities such as running, aerobics, zumba, boxing or dancing, mainly activities that lean towards HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).

High impact sports bras are known for their strong support, so people with large breasts can go for them for the most comfortable support as they can prevent excessive amounts of breast movement that can result in breast pain. To be exact, a high impact sports bra uses a compression method to hold the breasts in place so they don’t move as much during exercises.


Ultimately, the best sports bra for you is the ones that fits you well and you feel comfortable in them. There are a variety of sports bras out there in the market, so always go for the ones that suit your personal preferences, as long as they provide the right amount of support. If you would like more advice with choosing the right impact level of sports bra for yourself, feel free to drop your questions through the DMs on our Instagram or Facebook Page !



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