Osteogenic Loading and the Meaning of an Isometrics Workout

By: Dr. Mike Lewen

Let’s dig into what Osteogenic Loading is, what an isometrics workout consists of, and why you should care. John Jaquish created osteogenic Loading (also known as OGL), and it’s a combination of “biofeedback” and max “isometrics” that therapeutically stimulates osteogenesis from four different body positions– the chest press, leg press, core pull, and vertical lift. Osteogenesis is a fancy word for bone creation. If you’re interested, you can read more about this in John Jaquish’s book called Osteogenic Loading (OsteoStrong Edition), found here.

Let’s break these two terms down to find the hidden specialness that can help save our skeletons and make us healthier from the inside out (that is, after all, a core theme to all we do here at StrengthX!).

Biofeedback and Osteoblast Activity

Merriam-Webster defines “biofeedback” as “…the technique of making unconscious or involuntary bodily processes (such as heartbeats or brain waves) perceptible to the senses (as by the use of an oscilloscope) in order to manipulate them by conscious mental control.”

What this says is that the bodily process is triggering osteoblast activity to promote osteogenesis via mechanical loading. An osteoblast is a bone-forming cell. 

The technique is observing the strength of exertion via a bioDensity machine (pictured below) that measures and averages force output in pounds. The conscious mental control of a person using this equipment is when we observe the meter as we exhale and push during a five-second period. Hopefully, by observing, we can focus and manipulate, or increase, the number observed, which in turn places our musculoskeletal system under greater compressive loads. This is quite a workout but comes without any massive weight-bearing stress on the body and the joints.

The picture here is a bioDensity machine that is found at StrengthX.

Osteogenic Loading and the Definition of an Isometrics Workout

Merriam-Webster defines “isometrics” as an “…exercise or a system of exercises in which opposing muscles are so contracted that there is little shortening but a great increase in the tone of muscle fibers involved.”

Or this is more simply understood as an isolated distance we push against. This means there is no joint (or muscle) lengthening and shortening (which is movement and requires skill). The way the isometrics workout functions is that it is a unique situation that allows us to push at near maximum effort without ANY pain! 

What’s unique about the isometrics workout via Osteogenic Loading is that maximum effort does not mean that there is weight bearing on the body, leading to a more significant way to manage stress. This is what makes Osteogenic Loading so very different than handling weights at the gym. The person doing the workout can safely and effectively reach the required compressive forces (approximately four times body weight) to trigger osteoblast activity in a non-weight bearing format.

Are you wondering “how can stress be reduced” in your body? If so, this is how!

When our bodies are asked to accommodate stress or weight, everyone responds differently, and it is this stress response we are aiming to bypass. By not setting off this mental or physical fear response, we can calmly and safely self-load our skeletal structures with a very low level of risk of injury.

Couple that with the fact that we’re also removing the skill of movement, and the outcome is a simple yet effective recipe for bone and muscle health that anyone can perform with no history of working out required. This is also how you build strength from the inside out, which is crucial to living a life with less pain.

It’s highly noteworthy that if an isometric activity is painful or triggers pain, we should seriously reconsider all other things that require weight or movement as they are inherently more complex. And, in predictably weak areas if there is pain, it’s essential to pay attention to this. Sometimes finding pain in weaker regions could lead to things like a torn Achilles or a herniated disc in the back, and these are high-cost injuries that take a long time to bounce back from (and are risks that you just don’t want to take with your body). Less stress on the body, less injury potential! It’s a simple recipe.

And to wrap this up, I’d like to ask you, when was the last time you pushed something as hard as you can for five straight seconds?

Now let’s get to work!

Contact Dr. Mike at StrengthX for an appointment here.