Today’s exercise involves hopping, which has been scientifically proven to increase bone density in the hips – even when performed for as little as two minutes a day.
Thanks to its high-impact osteogenic loading, the Hip Bone Builder strengthens the hip joints, the pelvis and femoral head. As you may already know, this is of prime importance for avoiding painful hip fractures.
And besides providing an excellent cardio boost, you’ll see that this exercise is a lot of fun too.
First, let’s take a look at the science behind hopping and why it so effectively builds bone.
A certain amount of impact on your bones stimulates them to build, renew, and strengthen. This is referred to as osteogenic loading and is based on Wolff’s Law, which states that bone is created in response to the application of gravitational force. Over and over, research and experience have supported the truth of Wolff’s Law.
What’s truly astonishing is how quickly this happens. Your body begins to respond the instant you start exercising, and research has shown that just two minutes of impact hopping exercise produces more bone in the hip.
The research, appropriately called the Hip Hop study, followed the effects of hopping on the bone density of 34 men over age 65. Participants engaged in various hopping exercises, with emphasis placed on one leg (hence hopping rather than jumping).
Bone density increases as great as 7% year were observed in the hip bones of the “hopping leg” in one year. Additionally, the concluding CT scans showed changes in bone and “localized adaptions” in areas of the pelvis that are key in preventing fracture. 1
Lead researcher Dr. Katherine Brooke-Wavell summed up that:
“…our study shows that brief hopping or jumping exercises that target specific regions of the hip, could increase bone strength and reduce the chances of hip fracture.” 1
What Makes Hopping So Effective?
As I mentioned above, hopping is high-impact, therefore making full use of the action of gravity on bone. But the muscles that are used are also key components to the effectiveness of hopping, and today’s exercise targets these important muscle groups.
Your quadriceps muscles are in the front of your thigh, and they are composed of four parts (the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius). Each part originates at the base and side of the pelvis, and attaches around the knee.
The quads are vital for femur and hip strength. They help stabilize the knee joint and contribute to a strong, balanced gait. You will really feel them working in today’s exercise!
These are your buttocks muscles, and they have a tendency to atrophy when we sit for long periods of time. The glutes are made for far more than cushion, however. Made of three parts (the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus), it’s the gluteus maximus that is unique to the human species.
The human gluteus minimus and medius are similar to what you’ll find in other mammals, such as dogs. In humans, the minimus and medius work to rotate the leg inwards and outwards, respectively.
But the gluteus maximus, the largest gluteal muscle in any mammal, helps stabilize the upper body and is the key to walking upright. Clearly, these muscles are designed to be strong and large, and strengthening them helps your posture, pelvic alignment, lower back strength, and gait.
And of course, working the glutes stimulates bone formation in the pelvis, top of the femur, and sacral vertebrae.
The Hip Bone Builder forces you to keep your abdominal muscles firm and engaged, helping to tone and strengthen these important “tummy muscles.” Strong abs help hold your torso up, allow you to turn and twist, and are important for deep breathing and proper posture.
Weak abs allow the belly to sag forward, which can pull the spine and pelvis out of alignment. You’ll feel your abs working with this exercise, even though it’s not a “crunch” or other abdominal workout.
So now that you know what muscles you’ll be working, let’s get started on how to do The Hip Bone Builder!
It’s a good idea to wear comfortable shoes for this exercise.
- Begin with your feet wide apart, toes pointed slightly outward (your toes should point at the same angle as your knees bend).
- Engage your abs as you lean forward at the hips (keeping your back straight) and go down into a shallow squat. You’ll look a bit like you’re sitting on a bench.
- Bring your hands together and hold them up in front of your face, bending your elbows.
- Jump forward while swinging your arms down, and when you land, go back into the squat and bring your hands back up again.
- Now repeat the jumping motion again, but this time, jump backwards. Again, when you land, go back into the squat with your hands up, elbows bent.
- Repeat this pattern for approximately two minutes to get the full bone-building benefits. If you have to stop and rest before the two minutes are up, that’s just fine. Just take a breather and continue. And as always, don’t go beyond your comfort level; you may not be able to do this for a full two minutes at first, even with breaks.
If Hopping For Two Minutes Boosts Bone Density, Imagine What 15 Minutes Of Targeted Exercises Could Do!
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Exercising for your bones doesn’t have to take much of your time. With the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, you can achieve excellent results in just 15 minutes a day, three times a week.
That’s because Densercise™ contains focused, target-toning exercises, so you’ll build muscle and bone efficiently and quickly.
Have a great weekend!
1 Allison, Sarah J, et al. “The influence of High-Impact Exercise on Cortical and Trabecular Bone Mineral Content and 3D Distribution Across the Proximal Femur in Older Men: A Randomized Controlled Unilateral Intervention.” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. August 17, 2015. Vol 30, issue 9. Doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2499.