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 Lever Arm Chest Presses 595lbs and 325lb for Reps!

Arguably one of my favorite pieces of home gym equipment has to be hands down the Lever Arms.

It feels just like a Hammer Strength Machine Press and it seriously hits your pecs!

My training partner, @egcitrin and I went all out on our last sets, with an isometric hold thrown in to up the intensity!!!

Still training and hope you are too!!!

Thanks for tuning in and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #highintensitytraining #highintensitytrainingtips #betitanfit #ryourogue #hometraining #homeworkout #roguerack #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingvideos #naturalbodybuildingtraining #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #leverarms #chestday #chestworkout

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My back today, no pump and nothing fancy!

They used to call me "Back Man" back in the day and it goes without saying that it's my strong point.

It's a muscle group that's a bit like legs, in that many people don't put that much emphasis on it as it's not a Hollywood muscle like chest, shoulders, abs and arms.

It also, like legs, requires a lot of work and a hard back workout can feel like a leg workout as you should be almost on the floor if you did it right.

I train my back and all muscle groups just once a week with Naturally Intense High Intensity training, so we are talking about a workout that can last about 10 minutes.

But it's 10 minutes of pure and utter hell, and look out for some more videos coming soon from me on back training.

Thanks for tuning in and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#highintensitytraining #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuilding #fitover40 #backworkout #naturalbodybuildingtips #backtraining #highintensitytrainingtips #drugfreebodybuilding

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High Intensity Training For Natural Athletes.

For the past thirty plus years I have been training with a system I named Naturally Intense High Intensity Training.

And it helped me go from a 125lb skinny teenager into a successful natural bodybuilder training only THREE TIMES A WEEK with workouts lasting 10, 15 to 20 MINUTES at the most!

It sounds too good to be true but it's not only the cornerstone of my success but also has helped the hundreds of men and women I have trained with it as well over the past three decades.

Most of the popular high intensity training protocols out there were designed for and popularized by enhanced athletes, and they miss by a large mark some important factors that come into play for those who don't use drugs.

I hope it can help you as much as it's helped me and you can see the full video on YouTube by clicking on my bio link- or just look me up there (Kevin Richardson- Naturally Intense)

Thanks for taking the time to look at my work and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#highintensitytraining #hit #highintensityworkout #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuilding #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingvideos #naturalbodybuildingtips #highintensitytrainingtips #drugfreebodybuilding #personaltrainer

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High Intensity Training: Pull Ups & Heavy Dumbbell Rows!

Compound sets are tough!

Going from one exercise to the next for the same muscle group without rest can really tax you!

One of the basic principles of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training is that every workout is different and this is an example of doing just one set going all out.

This was the last exercise for shoulders and back and the pull ups started off easy enough, but started to bite towards the end.

Next it was straight to the 100lb dumbbells for 8 grueling reps of rows.

(I was going to go with the 120lb dumbbells, but @egcitrin in her infinite wisdom suggested that the 100lb ones should be more than enough!)

Still training hard and I hope you are too!!!

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

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

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I Still Get Sore Even After 30+ Years of High Intensity Training!

So the answer to the question as to whether or not I still get sore from my training is:


A resounding yes!

I still get really sore, in fact as I am in pain as I write this as there isn't really a way for my body to adapt to the type of workouts that I do because with Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, every workout is different, so there's never a point where it gets easy!

Thing is, as bad as it gets, it's still something I look forward to as it hurts, but in a good way!

And if you've ever really pushed it and felt the aftermath a day or two after training, you know exactly what I mean!

So keep training hard, know I believe in you and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#musclesoreness #legday #naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuildingvideo #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #naturalbodybuildingtips #drugfreebodybuilding #bodybuilding #highintensitytraining #highintensitytrainingtips #gymlife #workout

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Change the Focus: Looking Good Comes From Feeling Good!

Want to know why I train as hard as I do and never miss a workout even though I haven't stepped on stage in a bodybuilding competition in 19 years?

Want to know how I stay on diet 100% without flinching?

The answer is simple.

I do what I do because it FEELS GOOD.

I couldn't care less that my body fat percentage is under 10%.

It's nice, don't get me wrong, but I don't eat thinking I need to stay lean.

Nor do I train thinking that I need to be muscular.

I eat the way I eat because I feel good when I eat that way.

I train the way I train because I feel great when I train that way.

And if I could leave you with just one gem of wisdom towards helping you realize your goals, it would be to stop focusing on the result and instead focus on enjoying the process.

As a natural athlete, realizing your potential often takes years. Not months, years.

And so you have to find a path that sets you up for the long game, and one that also makes you FEEL BETTER in the process.

Forget about the six pack, forget about losing weight, forget about building muscle, and instead focus on what you need to do in order to accomplish those goals.

Because if you do, everything in life just gets better!

That's the "secret" if there ever was one and so focus on the Path, enjoy the Path, know that I believe in you and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuildingvideo #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #naturalbodybuildingtips #highintensitytraining #drugfreebodybuilding #nodrugs #fitover40 #fitoverforty #naturalbodybuildingforlife #abs #sixpack

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High Intensity T-Bar Rows (Home Gym Style)

Rows are one of the cornerstones of my back development and with variety being an important part of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, being able to do a variety of rows training at home is critical.

Which is why I love landmine T-Bar Rows.

Back in the day at 5th Avenue gym we would stick a barbell in a corner and do T-Bar rows with an Olympic bar and a triangle grip attachment, and I wish we had landmines back then as this set up is much easier (and you don't destroy the wall!, which we often did back at 5th)

This was my last set and I ended at 225lbs which is fairly conservative, but this exercise has a way of sneaking up on you and the weight feeling a thousand pounds heavier towards the end!!!

For the equipment-minded, t's a @repfitnessequipment landmine attachment on my heavily modified @roguefitness Monster Lite Rack with a Rogue Fitness T-Bar.

Still training, and I hope you are too!!!!

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

#tbarrows #backtraining #backworkout #roguefitness #repfitness #naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #highintensitytraining #highintensitytrainingtips #hometraining #homeworkout #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingvideos #naturalbodybuildingtraining #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #ryourogue

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Do You Outgrow Muscle Soreness Over Time?

I have trained with Naturally Intense High Intensity Training for the past 33 years and the question I am often asked is do I still get sore after all these years?

It's a great question, and one my clients always raise and in this video I go over my experience over the years with delayed onset muscle soreness and the answer might surprise you!!!

Click on my bio link to find out and see the full video on my YouTube Channel. (If you ever have any issues finding it, send me a DM and I will happily send you a link.

Keep training hard and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#musclesoreness #doms #delayedonsetmusclesoreness #legday #naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuildingvideo #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #naturalbodybuildingtips #drugfreebodybuilding #bodybuilding #highintensitytraining #highintensitytrainingtips #gymlife #workout

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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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