How To Build Strong Bones Using Multiples of Body Weight

By: Dr. Mike Lewen

Everyone should be curious about how to build strong bones because strong bones are the foundation of whole body health. So let’s talk about the best biohack (maybe ever!) if you want to know how to build strong bones and safely and prevent bone loss.

You may be familiar with the health benefits of strength training (or often called resistance training as well). If you are serious about maintaining your bone density (i.e., bone health) throughout your lifetime, it’s important to understand why strength training is so important, and how to do it properly.

Strength training is beneficial for building bone density because it induces a process known as osteogenic loading.

A term that may be new to you is multiple of body weight.

What does “multiple of body weight” mean?

A multiple of bodyweight (or an MOB) is a numeric ratio relative to our current body weight and the amount of compressive force exerted on our musculoskeletal system. For more on the topic of MOB, see this previous blog post.

The amount of force required to attain the MOB necessary for osteogenic loading to occur can be expressed in several different ways. The most notable are:

  • external weights or tension loading

  • Isometric exercises

  • impact absorption through the ground

How to build strong bones by using the “multiple of body weight”

Wolff’s Law tells us that bones remodel and adapt to the loads placed upon them. This means no load, no adaptation. There is no supplement, food, or drug that will ever take the place of physical stimulation for osteogenic signaling. You simply have to exert force on your bones for them to stay healthy.

John Jaquish, the father of osteogenic loading, developed the first osteogenic loading protocol to help his osteoporotic mother rebuild her lost bone density. He began by asking, “who has the strongest bones?” He concluded that gymnasts have the most robust bones. If you’ve ever watched a gymnast dismount after a routine, you may have some idea why this is true. As it turns out, the amount of sustained impact absorbed through various dismounts and landings of a gymnast can range between 10-20 MOB! It’s the compressions that their bones sustain through these impacts that induce osteogenic loading and make their bones so strong.

Learn more about the work of John Jaquish in his book, Osteogenic Loading (OsteoStrong Edition), found here.

Data from a 2012 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research population-based study of 17-year-olds wearing accelerometers found that the threshold for achieving positive femoral bone responses (via DEXA scan) was at or above 4 g’s of impact via running and jumping associated with play. So, essentially, it takes the pressure of about 4 times a person’s body weight for deeper structures like the femoral neck to see the osteogenic benefits of running and jumping.

Solet’s say you weigh 100 lbs. It would consistently require over 400 lbs of pressure (or load) to trigger osteogenesis.

What’s the safest way to accommodate four times body weight?

Adequate compression of the bones to achieve osteogenesis can be problematic as we age and our muscles and bones decondition without consistent physical stimulation. Over time weak bones, poor balance, old injuries, and worsening arthritis are some of the most common hurdles that get in the way of safely physically loading our bones.

Enter our state-of-the-art bioDensity machine. The bioDensity machine allows anyone to safely pursue optimal osteogenic loading without the typical restrictions and limitations of weight and movement! This is achieved by real-time biofeedback during a five-second isometric exercise performed in four different positions (chest press, leg press, core pull, and vertical lift).

Isometric exercises do not require weight or movement. (You can read more about isometric exercises here on our blog.)  Instead, you simply need to push between the equivalent of a rock and a hard place while the machine gives real-time force measurements.

After each bioDensity session, we can calculate the multiples of body weight (MOB) achieved by dividing body weight into the amount of force exerted per position. Sessions are performed weekly as the optimal recovery time is 5-10 days between osteogenic loading sessions. 

This is how we bypass the potential pitfalls of injury to improve bone density safely and naturally.

Summary

Healthy, strong bones are an integral part of total body health (health from the inside out!). To maintain healthy bones over the course of your life, there are a few things you need to know.

Bones require osteogenic loading to stay strong and healthy. Strength training is one way to achieve osteogenic loading, but there are some key specifics to keep in mind, including MOB.

At StrengthX, we can help you maintain bone strength safely and effectively with our bioDensity machine.

Resources: