Weekend Challenge: Lower Body Builder And Stability Enhancer
Do you remember the fun of skipping when you were a child? If so, this Weekend Challenge will bring back memories!
Like skipping, the Lower Body Builder And Stability Enhancer is a high-impact move (with a low-impact version for those who prefer it) that targets the muscles used in hopping, skipping, running and more. It offers all the benefits of these activities, which is good news if you have a small space in which to exercise, or if you can’t engage in the full activity for another reason.
Science has confirmed that this exercise effectively builds bone in the femur, femoral head, and pelvis. It also enhances balance and, as its name implies, increases overall stability.
Let’s get started!
Science has clearly shown that hopping exercises are excellent for building bone, particularly in the hip joints. In what researchers called the Hip Hop Study, hopping was studied for its specific effects on the hip bones. The results were unmistakable: those who performed hopping or jumping exercises for a full year showed increased BMC (bone mineral content) in the hips.
The study notes that:
“…cortical and trabecular BMC increased over time in both legs. Cortical BMC at the trochanter increased more in the exercise than control leg… Across the entire proximal femur, cortical mass surface density increased significantly with exercise…with localized changes of > 12% at the anterior femoral neck, trochanter, and inferior femoral head.”1 [emphasis mine]
In sum, lead researcher Dr. Brooke-Wavell stated the following:
“…brief hopping or jumping exercises that target specific regions of the hip, could increase bone strength and reduce the chances of hip fracture.”1 [emphasis mine]
The study specifically notes the increased bone mineral content at the “femoral neck, trochanter, and inferior femoral head.” Savers will recognize that these areas of the pelvis are prone to atypical femoral fractures due to bisphosphonate use (bisphosphonates include drugs such as Fosamax, Reclast, and Boniva). A recently-unearthed study shows exactly why this is so: microdamage incurred in the trochanter (an area of bone at the top of the femur near the femoral neck) from daily activity cannot repair itself in the presence of bisphosphonates, so the damage accumulates.
For more information on bisphosphonates’ mechanism of action in weakening the hip joints, and for a detailed analysis of the study, please read the following article:
Reducing fracture risk is what so much of “saving your bones” boils down to, and this weekend’s exercise can help you achieve that goal.
Increased bone density and resilience in the hips are not confined to hopping and jumping, however. Savers know that jogging and running also provide the benefits of high impact moves to the bones in the hips and legs, and this exercise simulates the motions of these activities.
The modified version, which is low-impact, mimics the motions of walking, which also helps to build bone, making it ideal for those who can’t get out to walk regularly. Both walking and running are weight-bearing exercises that build bone, so regardless of which version of the Lower Body Builder And Stability Enhancer you do, it’s a win!
Here’s how to do it.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bring your arms back slightly, elbows bent.
- Step back with one leg – for the sake of clarity, begin with your right leg as shown in the animation.
- Bring your arms back and then swing them forward and up over your head (elbows still bent), bringing your right leg forward at the same time and swinging your knee up.
- Hop straight up with your left leg at the moment when your hands and right knee are highest, then return to the starting position described in steps 1 and 2.
- Repeat the swing up and hop motion for 30 seconds (as long as you’re comfortable), and then switch sides and do the exercise for another 30 seconds.
For the modified version, perform the exercise as described above, but instead of hopping, leave your standing leg stationary and keep your foot on the floor. You can also go up on tiptoe with the standing leg, and then bring your heel back down when your swinging leg goes back.
Regardless of which version you choose, feel free to follow up with one or more of these Weekend Challenges:
At the Save Institute we encourage creativity when it comes to exercising for your bones; over the years, Savers have sent us inspiring stories of how they’ve overcome physical challenges and kept their commitment to exercise in a way that works for them.
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
If you’ve found some creative ways to keep exercising, or if you’d just like to comment on this weekend’s challenge or exercise in general, please leave a comment below to share your ideas and thoughts with the community.
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. 30. 9. (2015). Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25753495