This week’s challenge is different from the previous ones, and I’m very excited to share it with you!

It’s a yoga pose known as “Fierce Pose,” but because it’s so effective at strengthening the femur and other important bones and muscles, I’ve renamed it as the Femur Strengthener Plus.

The “Plus” comes from the fact that this exercise has multiple benefits beyond strengthening the femur. It also targets the ankles and spine and improves your posture. Another “plus” is that this exercise can be done anytime, anywhere – no special equipment is required, not even shoes!

Why: Femur fractures take very long time to heal, and are of particular concern if you have ever taken bisphosphonates, which raise the risk of spontaneous femur fracture.1

The Femur Strengthener Plus works the muscles of the thigh – specifically, the quadriceps – and, as stated in Wolff’s Law, the action of muscle on bone stimulates bone growth. As you practice this move, your femur gets stronger and more resistant to fracture.

We’ll talk a bit more about the quadriceps in a moment. First I want to share the other areas that today’s exercise targets.

The Femur Strengthener Plus Also Stabilizes Your Ankles

Your ankles are incredibly articulated joints, but it’s because of this exceptional range of motion that the ankle joints are fracture-prone. Unfortunately, ankle fractures are all-too-common among adults, and they are on the rise.

In today’s exercise, you’ll see how the move stabilizes the ankles and strengthens the surrounding muscles.

The Femur Strengthener Plus Stretches Your Spine

This week’s exercise involves more than just stretching, which is traditionally associated with yoga poses. The muscles of the back are fully engaged and working to hold the spine in the proper position, so you still have the bone-stimulating effect of muscle action on the vertebrae.

Because of the position of the back, the Femur Strengthener Plus also flattens your back and improves posture. By extension, this move will enhance your balance as well.

The Quadriceps Muscle Group

quadriceps-muscles

Now let’s take a look at this remarkable muscle group that makes up much of the muscle mass of your thigh. The femur is the body’s strongest bone, and the “quads” are one of the body’s strongest muscles.

As the name implies, the quadriceps has 4 areas of attachment along the base and side of the pelvis. These 4 heads form the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius.

The rectus femoris is in one you normally think of when you think of your thigh muscle. It is located in the middle top of your thigh, and it’s the one you feel when you tighten your leg muscles.

The other 3 muscles lie mostly underneath the rectus femoris. They lie along the outside (vastus lateralis), inside (vastus medialis), and front (vastus intermedius).

All muscles of the quads begin at the pelvis and attach around and in the knee, making them a crucial group of muscles for just about all movement that involves bending and/or moving the legs. Strong quads stabilize the knee joint, and they are vital for overall stability and balance.

How:

  1. Stand on a firm surface with your feet hip-width apart. Spread your toes out a bit so your feet are really stable.
  2. Turn your hands so palms are facing each other and raise your arms high above your head.
  3. As you raise your arms, bend your knees and push your bottom back (think of sitting down on a chair).
  4. Gently pull your abdominal muscles inward around your belly button to prevent your back from curving inward.
  5. Concentrate your weight into your heels, and don’t let your knees bend so far that they pass your toes.
  6. Take five deep, slow breaths (or as many as you feel comfortable with), and then relax and rest for one minute. Take a longer rest if you need to.
  7. Repeat six times (feel free to work up to this).

How Often Should I Do The Femur Strengthener Plus?

I recommend you practice this exercise 3 times a week. In fact, you can tie it in with your “Densercises” since the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System is also done 3 times a week. The best time to do this move is before the cool down phase of Densercise™.

This pose fits nicely with the wide range of resistance and weight-bearing exercises in Densercise™, which also improve balance and recapture youthful bone density.

Once you’ve tried the Femur Strengthener Plus I’d love for you to share your experience with the community by leaving a comment below.

Have a great weekend!

References

1 Gedmintas, L; Solomon, DH; and Kim, SC. “Bisphosphonates and risk of subtrochanteric, femoral shaft, and atypical femur fracture: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2013 Aug; 28)8): 1729-37. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23408697

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26 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. K. Gopal Rao October 10, 2015, 2:08 pm

    Aren’t these similar or almost identical to two of the std exercises in any fitness programme, i.e. biceps curls and squats? Surely nothing new or different?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 10, 2015, 3:07 pm

      Exercises like squats and curls are excellent for bone health, which is why variations of them are included in some Weekend Challenges. 🙂 When people are developing their own workouts to build bone, it helps to know what exercises are best for that purpose.

  2. snapdragon18 October 18, 2014, 4:01 am

    Hi Vivian, re the comment on the position of the head shown on the model; I would comment that the weight of the head looks correctly balanced on the atlas – the weight-bearing vertebrae – preventing neck strain resulting from ‘forward head position’. Poking the head forward and down being a common postural problem that contributes to kyphosis – just look aroud you in the street to see this hunched posture! As this is something we have to be constantly aware of, perhaps you could give us some information or links to help keep on top of this problem? Many thanks as always, Suzi (UK).

  3. karen October 14, 2014, 4:43 pm

    I’ve had a 4 1/2 year battle with my left hip rotator Dr said I had a stress fracture of the femoral head w/ degenerative hip joint osteoarthritis and sever osteoporosis. I’m only 54) I do femor strenghther with weight on left heel but not so much on the right heel this helps muscle balance since I’m weeker on the left side. Is that okay ? I do shift my weight around a bit.

  4. Georgina Renaux October 14, 2014, 3:41 am

    Thank you Vivian for all your important and useful information you give us.

  5. Isabel October 13, 2014, 4:20 pm

    Thank you for the free tips you provide online and through email for people with low income..I am trying to take care for my mom who has osteopenia. Thank you again!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 13, 2014, 6:06 pm

      You are most welcome, Isabel. I wish your mother well and am glad she has a “Saver” looking after her!

  6. Suzy October 13, 2014, 2:33 pm

    Thank you again Vivian for more strengthening exercises! My only complaint about this one is the way the model’s neck it tilted “back.” Yes, she’s looking “straight ahead,” but because her body is bent forward, technically, her head is leaning back about 45 degrees from her spine which is a really bad idea for anyone with “neck issues” (I’m one of them unfortunately). For me, I would have to keep my head/neck aligned with my spine (not as pictured). But keep up the good work, Vivian! — Suzy

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 13, 2014, 6:05 pm

      Thank you for the tip, Suzy!

  7. Sandy Brady October 13, 2014, 12:29 pm

    We do this exercise in our advanced tai chi class twice weekly as a warm up for our tai chi postures…Everyone groans and moans but it’s good to see that you recommend it also…our instructor is from China and says you really need those leg muscles strong if you visit China and have to use some of their “public restrooms”

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 13, 2014, 1:46 pm

      Very true, Sandy!

  8. Kathleen Riley October 12, 2014, 3:31 pm

    I began this exercise today. I found that it definitely stretches the back muscles, especially those along the shoulder blades. I do feel stretching in my upper thigh muscles as well. I take 2 bone strengthening classes a week (mostly with weights, balls for hand/eye coordination, etc.) and one of our poses is similar to this one. Also taking (and loving) tai chi Yang. No Drugs. I love the blog; very helpful.

    • Kathy October 13, 2014, 1:27 am

      Hi!
      You know i find this unusual, as my maiden name was Riley, and the same first name the same for ever, but have been married for 23 years with a new name..
      I read your letters and all email you send Vivian.. You are so Dedicated and Smart.
      But it shocked me to see my long ago name, and also with a comment below it … Is there another Kathleen Riley?? Common name. No matter really, i am just glad to get the emails!
      Thank You Vivian.. I hope soon to get the Bon Apetite and the Exercises..
      In Health,
      Kathy M.

  9. Pat October 11, 2014, 7:23 pm

    I have severe osteo and just took my first prolia shot with the understanding I would take only the 2 injections for this year. I have real problems coming down the pike because of a bulging stomach that all Drs. say there is nothing that can be done. I do the densercise and all the ones you send us as well as I can but must be careful not to bend to far , eat too much, etc. I told Drs. I will keep trying to fix the unfixable

  10. Carolyn Jolly October 11, 2014, 5:57 pm

    My doctor has recommended For me to take Fosteum Plus since I refuse to take the Osteo drugs. This is the first I’ve heard of this product. She says it’s a supplement not a drug. Has anyone taken it and experienced any side effects? Is it okay to take or not? Thanks.

  11. Betty October 11, 2014, 5:15 pm

    Fortunately for me I have been doing squats for a long time that in tai chi is called a don yu. After a couple of back episodes in 2013 and severe osteoporosis as well as a bowel obstruction surgery I still do 25 most days since I recovered. I knew they were beneficial but thanks for including how. I have also started to do complete sets of moves that I learned in Taoist Tai Chi. I am concerned about my bones as I have not taken recommended bisphosphonates. Being thin makes me vulnerable at 73. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all those celebrating the wonderful expression of giving thanks and being grateful is so beneficial to us in so many ways too.

  12. dorothy friedman October 11, 2014, 1:43 pm

    Dear Vivian; I so value the generosity with which you share much information free, for those who cannot purchase all your suggestions.
    The all the teachings you offer is all about the great value when it comes to honoring and caring for this
    body we have been given.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 13, 2014, 1:48 pm

      Thank you, Dorothy! I love to hear how the information on this site has encouraged and helped others. 🙂

  13. Carolyn Bame October 11, 2014, 12:42 pm

    Vivian, I’d love to have the Densercise program, but I need it in paper and CD form. Any chance of that?

  14. Barbara Morris October 11, 2014, 11:29 am

    I had a fracture of my thigh and had 3 little screws put in. This was a year ago and as you say it is a long time healing. I want to know if you think I should use the “femur strengthener”

    • Ruth Ahearn October 11, 2014, 5:37 pm

      I broke my femur this summer, it is still painful and still healing 3 months later. A version of this exercise was suggested by the physical therapist. It seems that it is beneficial. I think you can feel safe doing it. I am still doing it and intend to follow this method. I can feel a lot of my leg muscles workig when I do it.

  15. Sue October 11, 2014, 8:05 am

    I take yoga classes three times a week at my gym. We do this pose at times, also known as the Chair Pose, so I am glad to know all the benefits for my bones. Yoga is making me stronger, more flexible and improving my balance. Thanks for your tips, Vivian!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 11, 2014, 10:36 am

      That’s really good to hear, Sue! Keep up the good work. Balance is so important in preventing fractures!

  16. Waseem Iftikhar October 11, 2014, 3:21 am

    Femur Strengthener Plus is my favorite exercise but while practicing it my knees started to pain and I stopped the exercise. may kindly advise the alternate.
    Best regards

    • Ann October 11, 2014, 8:10 am

      The key is to absolutely NOT let your knees move out in front of the tips of your toes (see illustration), by counterbalancing with your rear end – it feels like your rear is stuck WAY out backwards, and don’t go down too far. Your knees, if they are weak or sensitive, will tell you when to stop!

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA October 11, 2014, 10:35 am

        Thanks for the tip, Ann!

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