Does the phrase “weight bearing exercise” conjure up images of Arnold Schwarzenegger pumping iron at Gold’s Gym? Though this is one option to build bone strength, it is certainly not the only one.
Weight bearing exercise is defined as any exercise that forces you to work against gravity. So, pretty much any time you are moving (unless you are an astronaut in space) you are performing weight bearing exercise. That said, some forms of exercise are more effective at strengthening the bones than others.
Bodyweight training is an effective and efficient method to cultivate healthy bones. By working against gravity in a variety of challenging positions, one can strengthen the entire body without the assistance of machines or barbells.
You don’t have to say “hasta la vista” to equipment, but realizing just how much strength you can gain with so little can be empowering.
The following are a few of my favorite recommendations for clients looking to build bone strength:
Try the TRX: TRX stand for Total Body Resistance Exercise. This simple apparatus, which consists of two adjustable nylon straps with handles and foot holds, was developed by a Navy SEAL to keep him and his fellow SEALs strong while deployed. Exercises can be performed with varied resistance simply by changing angles and positions.
Get Some Gliders: You know those furniture gliders they sell at Lowe’s? Grab yourself a pair and get moving (your body, not your furniture). Add some oomph to a plank by placing them under your feet and sling your legs in and out. Place one under your back foot while performing a reverse lunge to put more emphasis on the supporting leg. Much to my clients’ chagrin, the options are endless.
Ace Some Ashtanga: Ashtanga is one of the most physically challenging forms of yoga. It is great for building strength and stamina as well as balance and flexibility. If you are a yoga newbie and Ashtanga seems intimidating, try a beginner Hatha or Vinyasa class with plenty of standing poses to build up your confidence.
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