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Strength Training For Osteoporosis Prevention

How Achieve’s Small Group & Semi Private Programming Helps Increase Quality of Life: Strength Training
for Osteoporosis Prevention

Some women (40-60 years old) can lose up to 20-30% of their peak bone mass during their menopausal years, especially if they are inactive, not taking calcium or utilizing hormone replacement therapy. This can increase their risk of fracture by 40% over their lifespan. The BEST Program (Bone, Estrogen, and Strength Training study) began in 1995 to see how strength training may affect bone density.

While weight-bearing exercises are touted as the best value for bone density, strength training is often overlooked. The BEST program’s main objective was to explore a high load, low repetition approach to strength training. Over 260 women ranging in age from 45-65 who were postmenopausal for 3-10 years were used in the study. The women completed 2 sets of 6-8 repetitions at 70% of 1 RM two days per week or 80% 1 day per week.

The study found that women who lifted weights 2 or more times per week had greater bone density effects. It is important to remember that this program was designed to prevent osteoporosis, not to treat it, since the best treatment is prevention. Therefore, strength training is extremely important for those women who have a family history or medical condition that could lead to osteoporosis in order to decrease the loss of bone density. So when your coaches have you lifting “heavy” weights on total body days, this is one of the many reasons why!

Metcalfe, Lauve, MS. FAWHP. Women’s Health: The Best Strength Training Program For Osteoporosis Prevention. ACSM’s Certified News, October-December 2010, Vol. 20:4, pp. 7-8, 11.


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