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
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.
- Stand on a firm surface with your feet hip-width apart. Spread your toes out a bit so your feet are really stable.
- Turn your hands so palms are facing each other and raise your arms high above your head.
- As you raise your arms, bend your knees and push your bottom back (think of sitting down on a chair).
- Gently pull your abdominal muscles inward around your belly button to prevent your back from curving inward.
- Concentrate your weight into your heels, and don’t let your knees bend so far that they pass your toes.
- 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.
- 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!
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