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.

High Intensity Bodyweight Training: Ballistic Pushups & Dips!

This was a tough one!

Starts out with ballistic push ups (like clap pushups but without the clap as my wrist is still not 100%) nonstop for 20 reps, then all out on dips for 10 reps.

To say it was painful would be an understatement, but you just have to push through and keep on going.

Still training, hope you are too and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#hometraining #homeworkout #homeworkout #highintensitytraining #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuilding #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingvideos #chestday #chesttraining #naturalbodybuildingtips #pushups #dips #bodyweighttraining #highintensitytrainingtips #drugfreebodybuilding #calesthenics

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Kevin's Unconventional Biceps Training- 3-6 Minutes a Week!

In this video I go over my biceps training using the Naturally Intense High Intensity Training protocols that helped me go from having arms measuring 11.5 to 12 inches to 18 inches drug free!

It's an unconventional approach for certain, but it's one that's helped my arms grow and the hundreds of men and women I have trained over the past 30 plus years.

Now, my success isn't due to being genetically gifted, as it took me the better part of 11 years to get my arms up to those measurements.

Which is significant as it works and been been proven time and time again to work for the average man or woman trying to grow their arms without drugs.

It's my hope that these high intensity training protocols can help you as much as they helped me!

Click on my bio link to see the full video on my YouTube channel and thanks as always for taking the time to look at my work!!! Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#highintensitytraining #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuilding #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingvideos #armworkout #bicepsworkout #naturalbodybuildingtips #biceps #armtraining #highintensitytrainingtips #drugfreebodybuilding #barbellcurls

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At the Lancaster Classic Day 2 Elimination Rounds Against European Champion, and World Record Holder Leo Pettersen @leo_barebow_archer

I don't talk much about it but I'm also a competitive barebow archer (surprise!) and last Saturday I had the honor of making it to Day 2 at the Lancaster Archery Classic in the Barebow Division, as I made the top 64 out of 267 competitors and had a chance to shoot with some of the greatest barebow shooters on the planet!

I didn't make it past Leo, but it was a real rush to be there and a huge thanks to my coach, Joe MyGlyn @prolinearchery for helping me get there.

Thanks as well to my good friend @sean_chan33 for all of his help from the very start, to my line buddy Aaron Shea for taking the shot and showing up to support!

My thanks as well to rob_kaufhold for putting on and promoting one of the best archery tournaments on earth!

Thanks also to to everyone who took the time to send a supporting word and I am looking forward to next year!!! #naturallyintense #barebow

#lancasterclassic #lancasterarcheryclassic2024 #lancasterarchery #archery #fitover40 #barebowrecurve #targetarchery

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Dumbo, Brooklyn circa 2004

This shot was taken as part of the promotion for my Naturally Intense DVD and was about a year after my last bodybuilding competition.

It was a grueling photoshoot.

We started at about 10 am and finished around 4pm and I was completely spent, but the more we shot the sharper I looked, so we kept on going.

It's nice to look back from time to time and as tired as I was, we all had a blast!

My thanks to @stephanie_corne_artwork, @https://pulse.ly/itgnag2dec and @ftaz1 for taking the shots!!!

Thanks for watching and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuilding #throwback #fifthavenuegym #5thavenuegym #drugfreebodybuilding #naturalbodybuildinglifestyle #gymlife #gymmotivation #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #bodybuilding #blackandwhite #instablackandwhite #bnw

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Can You Build An Impressive Physique Training Only At Home?


I stopped training in commercial gyms as of March 2020 and have been training at home ever since.

Initially I was admittedly worried that I might lose some of my gains or not make as much progress, but that certainly wasn't the case.

I've consistently continued to improve with my high intensity workouts and muscles have no idea where they are training.

As long as the criteria of adequate intensity and overload are met, there will be an adaptive response and your muscles will get bigger and stronger.

So don't worry at all about where you train, focus instead of what will be the best way for you to always be training!

Thanks for watching and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

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Kevin's Three Day Training Spilt!

For the past 33 years I have trained three times a week with Naturally Intense High Intensity Training workouts lasting 10, 15 to 20 minutes max.

It's a training split tried and testes not only in it's helping me realize my goal of becoming a successful natural bodybuilder, but it's also helped hundreds of men and women over the past three decades.

I have tested just about every possible training split imaginable and for this particular style of high intensity training, this particular grouping consistently yields fantastic results.

I hope it helps you as much as it's helped me over the years and thanks so much for taking the time to look at my work.

Keep training hard and Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#trainingsplit #3daytrainingsplit #threedaytrainingsplit #naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuildingvideo #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #naturalbodybuildingtips #drugfreebodybuilding #bodybuilding #highintensitytraining #highintensitytrainingtips

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405 Stiff Leg Deadlift for 7 Reps! High Intensity Training.

First leg workout of the year and already pushing it!

I haven't done a stiff leg deadlift over 315lbs for about 3 years at this point, and I did my last set with 315lbs and comfortably got to 10 reps and decided I had far too much gas left in the tank and that I should go up in weight.

So I did.

I figured I might get a solid 6 reps in, but I made it to 7 and I think I could have gone on to get a full 10 reps BUT that's when good judgement prevailed.

As a bodybuilder having not trained this heavy for so many years, the shock of this much weight would be more than enough to stimulate muscle growth, and doing more reps wouldn't yield any greater returns, only increase the likelihood of injury.

It's not about the numbers, it's about training to a point where you achieve your goal, and it's important to have a goal in mind as a bodybuilder based on increasing muscle mass rather than hitting a particular number.

Besides, if in my 20's I never did more than 405lbs on a stiff leg deadlift, it doesn't make any sense going heavier than when I am almost 50!

Could I deadlift more at this point?

Absolutely but just because you can doesn't mean you should!

So keep those weights in a good working range, keep it safe and as always Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#hometraining #homeworkout #homeworkout #roguerack #highintensitytraining #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuilding #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingvideos #backworkout #naturalbodybuildingtips #backtraining #highintensitytrainingtips #drugfreebodybuilding #fitoverforty #deadlift

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Turning 50 in a few months...

Not much of a big deal for me as I still feel pretty much the same but I hope that my example helps show what can be done with a lifetime commitment to eating well and training consistently!

Thanks for coming along on the journey and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuilding #healthylifestyle #fitover40 #drugfreebodybuilding #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #natty #fitness

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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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