Northeastern Strength and Conditioning

Tag: Bone Density

Lower Body Training

by on Jan.30, 2011, under Blog, Intern, Kelsey Wipper

It seems that one wouldn’t have to explain why lower body strength training is important; we are constantly using our lower body: whether it be in the form of walking, running, lifting, or jumping. But, if you think about your recent trips to the gym, how many of those around you were simply doing the beach body workout? (i.e. the workout consisting of bench pressing and doing bicep curls ad nauseam).

Lower body training is important for everyone in easing activities of daily living, but lower body training may be even more important for women in particular. Women are about twice as likely to suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis than men are (http://mayoclinic.com/health/osteoporosis). What some may not realize, however, is that strength training doesn’t just benefit muscle; it helps increase bone density as well. The SAID principle (specific adaptations to imposed demands) states: ‘when the body is subjected to stresses and overloads of varying intensities, it will gradually adapt over time to overcome whatever demands are placed on it’. By applying the SAID principle and more specifically Wolff’s Law of bone remodeling, bone density can increase (Prentice, 2009). If you put stresses on the body, the muscle and bone will adapt to fully handle those stresses. By engaging in lower body training, you not only increase the strength of the muscle, you increase the strength of the attached bone as well.

Venturing into more advanced forms of lower body training, single leg work is just as important, if not more important, as double leg lower body training. Half of the phases of the gait cycle are spent in single-leg stance. When athletic movements involve single-leg stance, it’s imperative to have the muscular capacity to successfully complete these movements (such as cutting, bounding, etc.) in order to prevent injury. If the muscles of the lower body aren’t able to sustain these actions, the involved muscles or even the surrounding ligaments could be at risk of being injured; single-leg strengthening and flexibility work are key in trying to prevent injury while enhancing athletic performance.

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