This weekend’s challenge is a resistance exercise that involves the whole body. It’s designed to increase bone density in key areas, such as the hips, femur, shoulders, and ankles.
The Whole Body Strengthener also targets the upper back to ensure good posture.
Let’s begin with a look at the many muscles involved in this exercise.
As the name implies, The Whole Body Strengthener works the entire body. The muscle groups involved are from shoulders to calves, targeting important fracture-prone areas. Let’s start with the largest muscle in the body, the…
Often referred to as the “glutes,” these are the buttocks muscles. Unique to humans, the glutes are one of the key body features that allow us to walk upright.
The glutes bring the femur into alignment and stabilizes it, allowing you to walk and stand back up after you bend over or stoop down. The lower parts of the glutes are involved in adduction and rotation of the legs, and the upper parts act as hip joint abductors.
You’ll often hear this muscle group referred to as the “quads.” They run along the top of the thighs and extend the knee joints and act as hip flexors. When you walk or run, your quads are responsible for stabilizing your kneecap and swinging your leg forward with each step.
Technically, the hamstrings refer to the tendons that run behind the knee and attach to the muscles along the back of the thigh. But the term is often used to refer to the muscles themselves.
The hamstrings actually cross, and work to extend the hip when your torso is still. The hamstrings also rotate and flex your knee inward when it’s bent. The hamstrings are required for pretty much any lower body motion, from running to walking to jumping. They work antagonistically with the quads, allowing your body to move through space and remain upright.
These are on the back of the lower leg and run from the heel to the knee. The calves extend the foot, ankle, and knee, and are crucial for balance. When you point your toes, you can feel your calf muscles working. You use your calf muscles when you go up and down stairs, curl your toes, or ride a bicycle. Strong calves work to keep ankle joints stable.
When you think “arm muscles,” these are the ones that probably come to mind. When someone “flexes” their muscles, it’s usually the biceps that they show off.
Running between the elbow and shoulder, the biceps work across three joints: the shoulder, elbow, and upper forearm. The most common action of the biceps is bending your elbow and supination of your forearm – that is, turning your palms up or forward-facing.
The deltoids are the shoulder muscles that form the rounded, smooth top of the arm. You use your deltoids when you raise your arms up or point them forward and back. They work antagonistically with muscles in the chest.
The deltoids stabilize the head of the humerus bone, preventing dislocation when you pick up something heavy.
The “traps” form a diamond shape across your upper back, going from neck to shoulder and attaching along the cervical and thoracic vertebrae. The traps move the spine and shoulder blades, and are worked when you raise your shoulders. The traps work with the deltoids to allow you to throw a ball.
These diamond-shaped muscles lie between your shoulder blades, under the traps, and are extensions of the shoulder girdle. They stabilize the shoulder blades, holding them to the ribcage. The rhomboids also rotate the shoulder blades inward toward your upper vertebrae.
Working These Muscle Groups Strengthens Vulnerable Areas Of Your Skeleton
Shoulders, hips, thighs, and ankles are very important areas to stabilize and strengthen. Fractures in these areas are a concern for those with osteoporosis, so working the muscles in these areas strengthens bone and stimulates bone growth as per Wolff’s Law. That, of course, is the key to increasing bone density.
In addition,exercises like this one also help improve balance, preventing falls.
- You will need two hand weights to do this exercise. You can also use cans of food.
- Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms down at your sides, palms facing in (holding your weights).
- Squat down to a 90-degree angle (approximately). Your weights will come close to the floor. Keep your back straight.
- Stand back up and bend your elbows with your palms facing you (a biceps curl). This will bring your hands to your shoulders.
- Raise the weight above your head, rotating your arms so your palms face outward.
- Bring the weights back to your shoulders, rotating your palms back inward, and then lower your arms back down to the starting position.
- Repeat steps 1 through 4.
- Do 5 reps, rest for a few moments, and then do 5 more (or whatever fits your comfort level).
“Old” Study Points To Resistance Exercise As Superior To Drugs
An extensive study review published in 1999, clearly shows the bone-strengthening effects of resistance exercise. After reviewing approximately 24 studies on the relationship between resistance training and bone density, researchers concluded that:
“High-intensity resistance training, in contrast to traditional pharmacological and nutritional approaches for improving bone health in older adults, has the added benefit of influencing multiple risk factors for osteoporosis including improved strength and balance and increased muscle mass.”1
While this is a concept the Osteoporosis Reversal Program embraced from the get-go, it wasn’t until 2015 – 16 years later – that Mainstream Science actually paid attention to this highly relevant and scientifically-proven information.
In fact, at this year’s World Congress on Osteoporosis, for the first time ever, more than 4,500 scientists acknowledged a non-pharmaceutical, exercise-based approach for the treatment of osteoporosis. Specifically, they recognized osteogenic loading – that is, the application of force along the longitudinal body axis – as a legitimate (even superior) alternative to drug therapy to increase bone density.
The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System Offers Many Resistance Exercises
In Densercise™, you’ll find many osteogenic loading and resistance exercises. Examples include the Rear Leg Lift (page 40), the Pelvic Tilt (page 20), and the Shoulder Raise (page 50) – just to name a few. They are interspersed with weight-bearing and postural exercises, making Densercise™ a comprehensive exercise system designed to increase bone density. And of course, Densercise™ offers all the myriad benefits of exercise, from improved mood to enhanced cardiovascular health.
And please remember to let us know your thoughts about The Whole Body Strengthener by leaving a comment below.
Enjoy the weekend!
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1 Lavne, J.E. and Nelson, M.E. “The effects of progressive resistance training on bone density: a review.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. January 1999. 3(1):25-30. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9927006