Fitness Articles

Strength Training: Good for Muscles, Great for Bones

Lift your way to Stronger Bones

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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 www.daphnestevens.com.

Member Comments

  • Great article! It's funny and touching and so inspiring! Thank you! I've always been committed to running and walking - but I've always known I SHOULD add some weight/strengthen
    ing exercises to my routine. This article has inspired me to take action! - 4/3/2016 8:26:18 AM
  • At first I didn't like the use of the word failure. I had always heard it called fatigue. But then I thought about your point - that not stopping and just pushing on through might lead to injury. And I got it. That in all things in life - there is a point when you need to stop and rest and try again later, or else you will fail and might injure yourself. Thanks for the invaluable tip. - 4/2/2016 12:42:04 PM
  • Kudo's to you and this "Power House" article. Many years ago I was given the same information and doubted it but did it anyway(the source was reliable). They also suggested the calcium & vitamin D3 thing.
    It's all paid off! I'm 71 and can still handle a good amount of weight during my workouts (anywhere between 4 and 18 lbs) .
    Recent Dextra found ostiopina but nothing major and I'm able to keep up my workout "menu" : ) Life is good but its better when you LISTEN to the folks in the know. -shoreido- - 4/2/2016 10:50:42 AM
  • KAM1953
    Good for you! I love you perspective. - 4/2/2016 9:55:09 AM
  • I cried after reading this. Thank you. - 4/2/2016 2:18:37 AM
  • FROGSMILE
    I love this article! It is very well written and thought provoking--and maybe, action provoking. Can't get any better than that! - 2/29/2016 5:56:36 AM
  • I had never heard that expression - working to the point of failure. I like it! - 12/1/2015 8:59:01 AM
  • If you're going to go to the gym and use the equipment, MEET WITH A TRAINER. If your form is poor, or you're lifting too much weight, you can seriously injure yourself. - 11/30/2015 8:48:47 AM
  • I too need to watch out for this, heredity is wonderful. But i never knew resistance training would help. Thank you for the great article and the prayers. - 6/24/2015 10:56:38 AM
  • 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 article...so 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
  • JUDYERAE
    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
  • BACKNBUSINESS
    Great article
    - 3/31/2014 8:41:28 AM

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