The 4-Step Process to Increase Bone Strength

Susan, a 56-year old mother of two adult girls came in to us, wanting to increase her bone density. She had been diagnosed with osteoporosis a few years earlier, and now, for 2 years in a row, her bone density had gone down even more.

She didn’t quite understand why. She was pretty healthy otherwise. Her cholesterol levels were good, she was walking on a regular basis, and even taking her calcium.

Despite that, it wasn’t enough to prevent her bones from deteriorating. This new label of “osteoporosis” made her extra nervous. What if she slipped on the side walk during the winter, when it’s icy and fell? That would break her hip, but besides that, it would lead down a long path of rehabilitation, maybe sitting in a wheelchair for a few months. It would limit her ability to go out and socialize with her friends. Basically, her whole quality of life would be ruined.


Original source: here.

            Fortunately for her, we were able to get her on the right track. Over the next 3 years, her bone density increased 11% as a result of an approach that combined intelligent nutrition, supplementation and exercise. Compare that to the standard drug for osteoporosis, alendronate. It only increases bone density by 4-8% over 3 years.

But here’s the list of side effects for alendronate:

  1. Stomach pain
  2. Difficulty swallowing
  3. Heartburn
  4. Muscle pain
  5. Skin rash

And that’s only 5 of the more than 30 side effects listed on

By contrast, exercise and proper nutrition has these side effects:

  1. Stronger muscle
  2. Stronger bones
  3. Improved posture
  4. More energy
  5. Looking better

So just what did we do with Susan to increase her bone strength 11% in 3 years?

We have a proprietary 4-step program we use to progressively increase our clients’ bone strength.

The single most beneficial exercise you can do for strong bones is jumping. But if your bones are already weak, you can’t start jumping right away, since you might fracture them. So you have to work up to that. How?

Strength training. Once you get the diagnosis of “osteoporosis” or “osteopenia”, your doctor tells you that you should do “weight bearing” exercises. So either his advice ends there, or he might recommend you do some walking. Better than doing nothing, that’s for sure, but very far from what’s ideal.

See, with walking, your weight stays constant (you don’t gain weight), so the load on your joints is consistent. So you might have a slightly beneficial effect on your bone strength for maybe 2-4 weeks, but that’s it. That’s where it ends.

On the other hand, with strength training, you can and should progressively increase the amount of weight that you are lifting. This by itself will increase bone strength pretty substantially.

After you’ve been strength training correctly and progressively (that means that you have some kind of structured, intelligent exercise program. Not going to the gym for a fitness class, or waiving around pink 3-pound dumbbells while watching “Young and the Restless”) for a period of at least 4-8 months, you’re ready to start jumping.

Initially (for the first 3-6 months), you would jump on to something. So maybe from the floor, on to a low step. This gives you some impact, but not as much as the impact that you would take to absorb the landing. The next phase (the next 3-6 months), you would jump in place. Now you’re absorbing the impact of the downward part of the movement. The next phase (the next 3-6 months), you would jump off a platform and stick your landing. By now, you’re absorbing a lot of impact, but it took you 1.5-2 years of progressively strengthening your bones to be able to handle that. If you did this exercise right from the beginning, you might have fractured or broken a bone.

This is the general outline of the program we use with our clients to help them get their bones to the point where they are strong enough not have to worry about fractures. This is also only the exercise side of things. There are also specific nutritional strategies we use to increase bone strength, but in the interest of keeping this article to under 5 minutes, I don’t have time to go into it. But if you want a personalized exercise, nutrition and supplementation program to increase your bone strength, let me know.

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