Workout of the Day

Bone Deep

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What physical benefits come to mind when you think of resistance training? Increased strength? Increased muscle? Decreased body fat? Maybe even increases in muscular endurance and cardiovascular functions? All of these answers are correct. But if we dig a little deeper, we find that there’s an additional, often forgotten benefit of increased bone strength (bone mineral density [BMD] and bone mineral content [BMC]).

Studies have consistently demonstrated significantly higher BMD and BMC among athletes, particularly power athletes and those with a history of strength training (1,2,3). In addition, even short-term studies have shown increases in BMC and BMD from the introduction of resistance training (4).

The implications of this are considerable. Hip fractures related to osteoporosis are the number one reason for admission to nursing homes, and bone breaks can be catastrophic both to young athletes, the elderly, and the population at large. Currently, osteoporosis causes 8.9 million fractures worldwide, and a mere 10% loss in bone density can more than double the risk of fractures at the hip and vertebra. One in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will experience an osteoporotic fracture. What’s more, the prevalence of osteoporosis is projected to continue to rise, with numbers estimated to nearly triple between 1990 and 2050. All in all, bad news bears for our bones.

All of this makes for an interesting conversation about training for older-age individuals. This population generally fears weight training, viewing it as dangerous or unhealthy; but it may in fact be the training that they most need. And while this may not seem like a big concern if you’re not yet in your 50s or 60s, where risk for osteoporosis rises considerably, evidence suggests that lifetime participation in bone-density-increasing activities such as high intensity, impact, and load-bearing sports and resistance training (sorry swimmers and cyclists, your sports don’t seem to do much to help bone health) has lasting effects on improved bone health. What you do now will have an effect on your health 10, 20, or 50 years down the road.

Healthy bones may not be as sexy as healthy muscles, but we’d be fools to ignore the positive effects of resistance training on the body’s most basic frame. We've all got a new reason to get after it!

- PS


4/25/17

  • “Baseline”

  • For time:

    • 500m row

    • 40 air squats

    • 30 sit-ups

    • 20 push-ups

    • 10 pull-ups

Then...

  • Front squat - 3x5

Then...

  • 150 DUs for time

  • (5 min time cap)