Fitness Articles

Strength Training: Good for Muscles, Great for Bones

Lift your way to Stronger Bones


Miriam uses a word that I like. Sometimes when I'm on the last repetition of the last set, a muscle begins to involuntarily tremble. "That's great," she says. "You're working to the point of failure."

In weight training, failure is a good thing. Failure means you've worked so hard that your body is saying, "Enough already! I give!" It means you haven't lost control - you're not in danger of injuring yourself - but if you don't stop now, you might be overdoing it.

I like thinking of failure that way. I wonder how our lives might be different if we thought about impending collapses as signals that we're working to the point of failure - the place of needing rest and respite. What if we were to simply stop, pat ourselves on the back for doing our best, and take a break, instead of judging ourselves or pushing to the point of injury?

Resistance training is teaching me other things, too. It's impossible to think about your troubles when you're working a muscle at full capacity. And it's almost as impossible not to sail through the rest of the day when you're fueled by an endorphin high.

Strong bones, I hope, will be the reward for this discipline. But meanwhile the sense of intercessory exercise suffices very well. I pray for the women who have gone before me whose fragile bones were taxed beyond limit by backbreaking work. I pray for those who don't have the strength to move for the sheer joy of moving. And I pray in response to the sense of gratitude that pulses through my body.

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About The Author

Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. Daphne Stevens, Ph.D.
Daphne is a life coach and author of Watercolor Bedroom: Creating a Soulful Midlife. For more information about her workshops and coaching services, go to

Member Comments

  • My mother AND dad both had osteoporosis. ME, I did not want to cough up my one inch above 5 feet. But it went anyway. Last April (14) I learned of a place where the personal training team of husband and wife, would guarantee they could help me build strenght, muscle and bone. Well, I cannot get over the difference it has made in my life. I will be leaving their care in February, but they are helping me set up a continued training program I can use at my regular gym. BLESS them both! At 70 I do not intend to loose one more inch! Can hardly wait to get my bone density done next year. I am anxious to see my improvement. - 11/25/2014 1:51:00 PM
  • Great article, just had the same talk with my doctor too. Also love the Term "pleasant soreness", that is the way it feels to me. I really love feeling the muscle soreness because it reminds me that I am doing good and something important for my body. Not so sore, I can't move, but I can feel my muscle's presence. Thanks for sharing !! - 10/15/2014 12:28:11 PM
  • nice glad u found the weight room. I love my weight lifting sessions..I am off to go do one now....... - 8/20/2014 9:32:11 AM
    Very inspiring and humorous, too. - 5/14/2014 9:24:30 AM
  • I love the idea of intercessory prayer while working out. Thanks for your comments. - 5/13/2014 5:05:34 PM
    Great article
    - 3/31/2014 8:41:28 AM
  • Thanks for sharing - 10/26/2013 5:57:24 AM
  • Great article. Just the inspiration to get back to the fitness center for at least two days of strength training weekly. - 10/18/2013 6:12:05 AM
  • This article was not what I expected, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! Great motivation for me to get started on some much-needed strength training before it's too late. Thank you! - 10/18/2013 12:04:36 AM
  • Interesting article, but the picture says How to Lift Your Way to Strong Bones. I expected a program for lifting geared toward seniors or beginners. - 10/8/2013 2:00:49 PM
  • Beautiful blog !

    The last paragraph was especially touching

    We CAN Do It

    Peace, Love and Blessings - 8/20/2013 5:34:31 PM
  • CARYNJ2005
    This couldve been my story.
    - 7/21/2013 9:46:27 AM
  • For the soreness, you don't know how to breathe during exercise and a warm up or cool down that significantly reduces soreness, also helps in lung expansion to impress your doctor. Arms out to the side, while doing a toe rise, lift your arms (angel wing style) up over your head, inhaling on the way up, hold for 15-30 seconds, exhale on the way down (reverse of what you just did). I found I have 1/3 the soreness due to anaerobic reactions when I do this. (I hate his idea of diet, but part of Dr. Stillman's 15 minutes in his 14 day shape up program). And for some of us with the resistance/streng
    th training, the Hail Marys are necessary just to get us through it :) ! But to hear your praise (altho a stubborn lil cuss about what's good for you) is motivating and wonderful. Great article. - 4/10/2013 10:10:34 AM
  • I so loved the last paragraph because that is exactly how I feel, too. At 64 I am seeing many friends who are just a bit older than me succumb to various illnesses and health problems, many of which are secondary to poor nutrition and refusal to exercise. They have reached their "point of no return" where their impairments due to lack of exercise are now their reasons for not exercising. My greatest motivator to exercise is seeing it as a means of thanking God that I still can. Because I know that the day will come when I can't, I rejoice in doing what I still can. - 1/5/2013 12:07:58 PM
    anyone else having trouble with the large sized ads on this article? I have tried to close it and just about everything I can think of but it sits over half the article on two of the pages - 9/5/2012 6:08:28 AM

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