Of the many positive benefits of resistance training exercise, perhaps the least heralded is weight training’s potential ability to build and reinforce bone. Almost everyone understands by now the strength enhancing, metabolism boosting effects of a resistance training program, but most don’t know (or simply under utilize) the potential bone strengthening benefits. Resistance training can help build and reinforce bone in two basic ways: 1) by loading the body axially, pressure is applied to bones that literally cause them to bend at their weakest points. Simply stated, these weak points are recognized by the body and the bone is reinforced by bone mineralization at that weak point. Axially loading is loading the body through the spine, using multiple joint exercises like the squat, power clean, and deadlift. 2) By gaining strength and adding size to muscle fiber, you are increasing the force exerted on your bones. A bone has to increase its mass and strength to deal with this new force. Bone mineral density is then increased in that specific area (corresponding with the muscle being worked).
Some points to remember when exercising specifically to increase bone formation are to;
1) Vary the exercises regularly, using a variety of different joint angles
2) In general, use compound exercises like the deadlift versus single joint exercises like the biceps curl.
3) Use progressively resistance, continue to increase the resistance when you are able.
For more information on this fitness goal or any other fitness goal, contact any trainer at Emerge.
Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS