Ladies–if you want to build stronger bones, you need to make sure you are adding force to your body throughout your day.
Unfortunately, most women remove force from their life as they get older, accelerating bone loss and muscle weakness. This is what I discussed in Part 1 of this series, which you can read here.
So how can you add force back into your day and your workouts to not only strengthen your muscles but fight osteoporosis and osteopenia by building stronger bones?
The first way I recommend to all of my female clients is high-impact training.
I know, high-impact training can sound scary. You might even be thinking, “But Julie, I don’t want to hurt myself.”
And I totally get it. I don’t want you to get hurt, either, which is why HOW you do your high-impact training is so important.
But the research is very clear on this…
If you want to build stronger bones, high-impact training is one of the most effective ways to do it.
So what exactly is high-impact training?
Simply put, high-impact training is exercise where you are intentionally putting more force down into the ground than you normally would with walking.
Some examples of this are:
- Jumping from the ground and landing on a firm surface (such as the ground)
- Jumping down from a box or step onto a firm surface (such as the ground)
- Stomping the ground
There are two places I see ladies getting tripped up with this idea of high-impact:
- They try to soften the landing on the ground through pads, cushions, rebounders/trampolines, trying to “absorb” the jump by landing quietly, and wearing thick cushioned shoes
- Thinking the results coming from the jumping or take-off part and disregarding the landing part
To the first point, remember, force NEEDS to be going through your body. That’s how your bones get stronger. If you are lessening the force going through your body by making a softer landing with cushions, rebounders, etc., you are going to be far less likely to build stronger bones. In fact, some studies have shown that there will be absolutely no strengthening of your bones if you use cushioned surfaces or rebounders.
To the second point, the entire purpose of doing the jumping is not for the jumping itself, but rather for the landing. That’s why doing “jumps” on pilates reformers will have very little positive effect on strengthening your bones–because the results don’t come from the jumping, they come from the landing. You must land with force going through your body in order to see positive bone strengthening changes, and jumping horizontally on a pilates reformer provides very little of that.
The big question that always comes up is, “Julie, how do I do this without hurting my knees, hips, back, or feet?”
And this is exactly where appropriate progression and exercise selection and execution come in.
In other words, you have to progressively build up your body’s ability to tolerate high-impact training in order to keep doing and keep getting benefits from it.
What this looks like with my clients is often a progression of marching to stomping, jumping from the ground to jumping from a box, and starting lower to the ground before moving higher.
While I do not know the exact place that is right for you to start, I do know there is a place. In fact, in 100% of the women I work with, we have always been able to find a place to start their high-impact training from and progress them to be able to do more and more of it without any joint issues or pain.
In my OsteoStrength For Her newsletter, I cover these types of topics and more, discussing different considerations you need to take with your workouts if you want to build stronger bones and how to go about doing it in a safe and effective way.
This newsletter comes out every Sunday, and you can join it for free by clicking here.
High-impact training is immensely beneficial for building stronger bones, but it is not the only thing you need to make sure you are doing if you want to prevent osteoporosis or osteopenia.
In my next article, I will write about the other thing you absolutely need to make sure you include in your workouts to increase your bone density. Stay tuned!
In strength and health,