HomeexerciseHow Weight Training Builds Stronger Bones and Prevents Osteopororsis

How Weight Training Builds Stronger Bones and Prevents Osteopororsis

Weight Training Builds Stronger Bones And Helps Prevent Osteoporosis


Osteoporosis is an ever increasing problem worldwide as people are living longer and the world population continues to age. More prevalent among women than men, some estimates are that as many as one in five American women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis. An insidious disease that weakens bone tissue, one of the worst aspects of osteoporosis is that there are no symptoms during the early stages and without a bone mineral density test it can be very difficult to detect before it reaches the point where it is painfully symptomatic. Most learn of their condition after experiencing a bone fracture, as about half of all women over the age of 50 will suffer a fracture of the wrist, hip or spine as a direct result of bone loss. Osteoporosis can be caused by many different factors, which are usually lifestyle or hormone related—excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, poor diet and inactivity are some of the known risk factors as are other circumstances which are not as controllable such as family history and hormone treatments. While there are effective treatments available for osteoporosis, the best defense is to prevent it altogether. Exercise— specifically weight bearing exercise— has been shown to be an effective preventative measure against osteoporosis. In an earlier post How Muscles Get Bigger And Stronger we explored how muscles respond to weight training and in this article we will take a look how bones get stronger and more dense from resistance exercise and show why older men and women should lift weights.



The word ‘osteoporosis’ means porous bones, and one can easily understand that a bone that’s porous would be weak and vulnerable to fractures. Bones weaken as a result of a process called demineralization. Demineralization occurs when our bones lose important minerals such as calcium. If left untreated, our bones will no longer have the structural capacity to support the weight of our body and the forces we generate when we are physically active, thus resulting in stress fractures. Since we can see them, most of us are very much aware of our muscles, but we don’t think much of how our bones work in conjunction with them. When you flex your muscles doing a biceps curl, for example, the muscles of your biceps generate force, which in turn allows you to lift the weight. This force is transferred throughout the muscle and to the tendons at both ends. The tendons are connected to the bones of your arm and cross over your elbow joint. Joints act as levers- which are rigid objects used with a pivot point to increase the amount of mechanical force our body generates to allow us to lift an object. Activation of the biceps muscles in our upper arm causes rotation of the forearm at the elbow (pivot point) which allows us to lift the weight during a curling exercise. Now according to Newton’s third law of motion, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That being said, since bones provide the framework for our muscles, every muscular contraction will produce forces that act directly on the bones in our body.


bones of skeleton stronger from weight training
Our skeleton provides the framework for our muscles, thus by training our muscles we strengthen our bones as well!


Since bones provide the frame for our body tissue our skeleton is always under some degree of stress. As you are reading this article, the force of gravity is bearing down on your bones even though you can’t really feel it. Too much stress can lead to bone damage at a microscopic level- in pretty much the same way it does in your muscles and like our muscles when bones are damaged they need to be repaired. According to Wolff’s law, the bones in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads they are placed under so if the forces acting on a bone increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger and denser to be able to cope with the load that it has to bear. In essence it’s a stress response in keeping with the laws of general adaptation. From a physiological point of view, stress isn’t always a bad thing as we perceive it in our everyday lives. Quite simply stress is the reaction of our body to stimulation or forces that puts it out of balance, (a balance that we refer to as homeostasis.) If the forces are too great or too sudden – like the forces acting on your bones during a car accident or a fall from a great height- your bones can’t adapt fast enough or deal with the sudden overload and a fracture will occur. Also, if a force is continuously applied through repetitive strain and your bones don’t have enough time to rest and recuperate it can also result in a fracture- in this case a stress fracture. This is what happens to many runners and aerobics aficionados after years of doing the same activity over and over again. On the other side of the spectrum, if there is a reduction in the forces on your bones, be it from being bed ridden or from living a predominantly sedentary lifestyle, your bones will remodel themselves to be weaker and less dense as a result. Just like your muscles if you don’t use it- you lose it.



Understanding How Bones Get Stronger 


Magnus Manske 299x450 (15,258 bytes) (From [[:en:Gray's Anatomy
Bone image courtesy Magnus Manske (From Gray’s Anatomy)
How your bones get stronger and denser depends not only on the degree of stress placed on them, but also on the availability of  minerals such as calcium which is required to change its structure. Bones are made of collagen which is the primary form of protein found in connective tissues throughout your body. The difference between bone tissue and other forms of connective tissue is that the collagen in our bones are infused with minerals which makes it solid. When a bone is subjected to overload (from an activity like weight training for example) it experiences tiny cracks and fissures. These cracks need to be filled and reinforced so that the bone will not be damaged in the future by a similar load and thus starts a signal that mobilizes our bones to repair itself. In a process called resorption, cells called osteoclasts dissolve and break up very thin pieces of bone in the damaged area. (Think of osteoclasts as tiny construction workers who smooth over the damage done to your bones- very much the same way you would sand down a piece of wood if it was cracked before you repaired it.) After this part of the process is completed other cells called osteoblasts come in and fill in the smoothed cracks left behind by the action of the osteoclasts. This is capped off by the mineralization of the entire area which makes the bone denser and stronger than it was before- a series of actions known as bone remodeling. Bone remodeling can be affected not only by mechanical forces acting on our bodies but also by parathyroid hormones and estrogen.



How Weight Training Builds Stronger Bones

weight training is crucial for healthy bones
For women especially, weight training is crucial for strong and healthy bones.


Just as muscles won’t get stronger unless there is a load applied to them that it isn’t used to dealing with, the same logic applies to our bones. That being said, to stimulate the adaptive bone remodeling process there must be some degree of overload. Doing a compound exercise like squats with weights requires a large amount of force to be generated by the muscles of your thighs and lower legs. Forces that create bending and compressive pressure within the bones of your femur (located in your upper leg), tibia and fibula (located in your lower leg). These forces create changes in fluid pressure in your bones which in turn creates the micro-fractures that trigger the adaption response for increasing bone strength. Bones can tolerate a lot more force than muscles can, and that explains why non weight bearing exercises don’t have as much impact in building stronger bones as weight training. With weight training you can progressively increase the overload factor by simply increasing the weight as you get stronger (within reasonable margins of course.) With bodyweight exercises such as aerobics or calisthenics this isn’t always possible. If you start such forms of exercise after a period of being inactive then the new stress of such exercises will have a positive effect in helping build your bones (and muscles to a degree). But after an initial period of adaptation your bones (and muscles) will have no reason to keep getting stronger as they will comfortably be able to cope with the forces incurred during body-weight exercises. Even though the exercises may be physically challenging to you, you have to keep in mind that your bones were designed to easily bear the strain of physical activity involving the weight of your body.


The Benefits of High Intensity Weight Training For Preserving Bone Mass

Studies have found that high intensity resistance training exercises (weight lifting) are an effective and feasible means to preserve bone density.[1] Not only are high intensity weight training exercises useful in terms of building stronger bones, but they also improve muscle mass, strength, endurance and balance while burning extra calories and reducing body fat. [2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10] It can also decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and weight training can also reduce the incidence of depression. So pick up some iron and start lifting some weights for stronger bones, a stronger body and a stronger mind.

Not Bad For Training Only Three Days A Week!

Because it's three days a week with soul crunching intensity non stop for the past 33 years.

There's no gimmick to it and it means being uncompromisingly all in for your workouts and with your nutrition.

I don't think there's that much that special about me.

There's nothing enhanced, nothing boosted by testosterone and there weren't any special "supplements" along the way.

Just three days of blistering hard work each week and meticulous attention to what I eat.

Being 90% on point each week means you are 100% off after 10 weeks and I can't emphasize enough how much of a difference unshakeable consistency makes to your overall results.

Most of the natural athletes didn't get where they are by any genetic advantage, they just did what is so very rare- which is stick to their process 100%.

It's not easy as it's not always easy and certainly not always popular, but you owe it to yourself to see just how far you can go if you go all in!

Looking forward to seeing your results and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #fitover40 #homegym #drugfreebodybuilding #gymselfie #hometraining #naturalbodybuildingmotivation

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What I Eat To Stay Lean and Keep Building Muscle All Year Round.

If there every was a "secret" to how I consistently stay in shape (and almost 20 years since my last competition) the answer would be my diet.

Diet is the deciding factor in what your body looks like and your overall performance and I want to stress that while this is a layout of the foods I eat on a daily basis, it's not a blueprint for your YOU should be eating.

What it can be is an example of what it takes to maintain a certain degree of size and muscularity at all times as a natural athlete, and also the underlying principle to how I select my foods.

Which is that I don't eat junk foods or highly processed foods and I only drink water.

(No protein shakes, ever!)

If you can start with that, there's no doubt that you will be on the right track in terms of your nutrition.

So stay away from processed foods, know that I believe in you and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingdiet #diet #whatieatinaday #mydiet #naturalbodybuildingvideos #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #drugfreebodybuilding #healthyeating #noproteinshakes #excelsior #bodybuilding #bodybuildingdiet

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Post workout physique check in.

The contest gets closer and closer as the sun meanders across the sky, as my contest is and always will be, did I do everything I possibly could that day to improve?

Did I train hard enough?

Did I push it enough?

The dietary part isn't an issue.

It hasn't been for many years as I always make sure that my nutrition is on point, and there's no leeway on that front.

I don't feel good when I'm not eating optimally, and I respect myself enough to not settle into a place where not feeling my best is the norm.

And to be honest, it feels really good to put my head down at the end of the day knowing that I gave it my all.

Not that I was the best or was even necessarily successful at everything that I set out to accomplish, but knowing that I gave everything nonetheless.

It's a feeling I want everyone to have.

To sleep soundly knowing that you gave it your all.

That you didn't miss an opportunity to improve on what you are passionate about, because in so doing, you experience an eagerness to do the same the next day.

It's the ultimate contest and I invite everyone to submit their application forms, as it's one of the few competitions where everyone who does the work and shows up, is in the winner's circle.

Keep striving, keep pushing and as always, Excelsior! #naturallyintense

(Thanks @indi.anna.r or taking the shot, as I know your arm was probably shaking after that workout!)

#naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #fitover40 #homegym #drugfreebodybuilding #gymselfie #hometraining #naturalbodybuildingmotivation

159 13

Motivation vs Discipline. What You Really Need To Be Successful!

I am often asked what was my motivation to keep going starting off as a skinny 125lb kid who no one believed could ever be a successful bodybuilder.

The answer is that motivation didn't have that much to do with it.

Motivation may have played a part in getting me started, but it was discipline that got me to where I wanted to be.

Motivation is fleeting and ephemeral, it's not always going to be there and on the days when you don't feel like eating right or training hard, you need a disciplined practice to see you through.

A disciplined practiced based on doing what you need to do to be successful regardless of the circumstances.

That's how I made it through all those tough times when I felt I wasn't getting anywhere, and it's what will help you as well.

So forget motivation, focus on building a disciplined practice, know that I believe in you and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #nosteroids #fitnessgoals #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuildingvideos #excelsior #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #disciplineovermotivation #disciplineequalsfreedom #discipline #motivation#fitness #mindset #selfdiscipline #fitnessmotivation #disciplinequotes #workout #disciplineiskey

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Kevin's Ultimate Secret Six Pack Abs Tip!

If you ever wondered how I maintain a six pack all year round and have kept that six pack for decades on end, here's the secret.

This is one tip that will honestly get you on the path to a six pack.

There's no magic to it.

But if you follow this simple piece of advice, you will be able to do a lot more than get yourself a six pack, as it's a proven formula for success.

Give it a try and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#sixpack #sixpackabs #6pack #6packabs #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingvideo #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #sixpacktips #drugfreebodybuilding #abs

165 18

Happy Archery Day, everyone!!!

Yeah, it's a thing and can't say how much it's my thing!

To be honest, I am a barebow shooter and almost never shoot my compound bow (the monster in my hands) but it's all really good fun!

If you haven't tried archery or are thinking about doing it again, go give it a shot (no pun intended!!!)

And as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#archery #archeryday #bowtech #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuilding #fitover40 #blackandwhite #bowtech

135 19

Do You Have Good Genetics for Natural Bodybuilding?

I don't believe it's the question that needs to be asked.

Far too many, myself included, who went on to be successful natural bodybuilders would never have been the men and women you would expect to have the genetics for bodybuilding.

But we put in the work, the years, the dedication and the consistency, and so what matters isn't the question of genetics, but rather do you have the passion, the drive and the discipline to train hard and focus on your diet nonstop for years on end to realize your potential?

That's the real question, and yes, there are men and women who have great genetics for natural bodybuilding, but there are even more who would be amazing onstage but don't know it because they didn't believe enough in themselves to put in the time to see how far they could go.

So I am here to say that I believe you have it in you to do amazing things, so if it's your goal, or even if you just want to improve the way you look, stick with it and don't quit!

Know that I believe in you and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #nosteroids #fitnessgoals #bodytransformation #nodrugs #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuildingvideos #excelsior #fitover40 #personaltrainer #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #beleiveinyourself

157 17

Nope it's not a contest cut- it's just another day on the Path.

There are two ways to get cut, the fast way that requires going to extremes and which is inevitably temporary.

Or the Path-based way. Whereby your lifestyle and sustainable healthy practices get you there and keeps you there.

It takes time. It takes patience but it's an extremely honest endeavor.

If you put in the work and stay consistent with your training and following a processed food free and healthy diet, excellence is just a matter of time.

It takes time but as long as you draw breath, you have the time and you can do this.

So take the Path-based way and as always, Excelsior!!!

And my thanks to my son @reid_443 for snapping the shot, and the approval rating! 😂

#naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #fitover40 #homegym #drugfreebodybuilding #gymselfie #hometraining

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Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, Kevin Richardson’s Naturally Intense High Intensity Training have helped hundreds lose weight and transform their bodies with his 10 Minute Workouts. One of the top natural bodybuilders of his time, Kevin is also the international fitness consultant for UNICEF and one of the best personal trainers in New York City.



How Weight Training Builds Stronger Bones And Prevents Osteoporosis References:

1. High-intensity resistance training and postmenopausal bone loss: a meta-analysis. Martyn-St James M, Carroll S. Osteoporosis Int. 2006

2. High-intensity Interval Training: A Time-efficient Strategy for Health Promotion. Martin J. Gibala, PhD, Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada Current Sports Medicine Reports 2007

3. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Tremblay, A. et al., Physical Activities Sciences Laboratory, Laval University, Quebec, Canada Metabolism.1994.

4. Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max.Tabata I, Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, Hirai Y, Ogita F, Miyachi M, Yamamoto K.-Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996

5. Similar metabolic adaptations during exercise after low volume sprint interval and traditional endurance training in humans. Kirsten A. Burgomaster, Krista R. Howarth, Stuart M. Phillips, Mark Rakobowchuk, Maureen J. MacDonald, Sean L. McGee and Martin Gibala, J Physiol 586: 151-160, 2008

6. Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max. Izumi Tabata; Kouji Nishimura, Hirai Motoki, Futoshi Ogita, Motohiko Miyachi, Kaoru Yamamoto, National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 28(10):1327-1330, October 1996.

7. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Tremblay, A. et al., Physical Activities Sciences Laboratory, Laval University, Quebec, Canada Metabolism.1994

8. Bahr R. “Excess postexercise oxygen consumption–magnitude, mechanisms and practical implications”. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica. Supplementum 1992.

9. Bahr R, Høstmark AT, Newsholme EA, Grønnerød O, Sejersted OM. “Effect of exercise on recovery changes in plasma levels of FFA, glycerol, glucose and catecholamines”. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica 1991

10. Bielinski R, Schutz Y, Jéquier E. “Energy metabolism during the post exercise recovery in man”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1985


Kevin Richardson
Kevin Richardsonhttps://www.naturallyintense.net
Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, celebrity Personal Trainer NYC and with over 2.6 million readers of his blog, Kevin Richardson is the creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, one of the top lifetime drug free bodybuilders of his time, the first International Fitness & Nutrition Consultant for UNICEF, 2020 and 8 Time Winner of the Best of Manhattan Awards for Personal Training and a world recognized authority on high intensity training. Kevin has helped thousands, from celebrities to CEO's over the past 30 years achieve their fitness goals with his 10 minute high-intensity workouts done just three times a week in conjunction with his holistic nutrition approach. You can learn more about about his diet and training services at www.naturallyintense.net

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