When it comes to weightlifting and weight training, it’s safe to say that over the years, there have been some pretty radical claims associated with these, and similar, sports, hobbies and pastimes. People have claimed that weight training can stunt people’s growth, that it can enable a fat person to magically transform their fat into muscle, and that you can experience ‘roid rage’ by lifting weights, even if you’re not using any steroids or anabolic compounds in the first place. Needless to say, that these claims are totally bogus and without any merit or substance, having been made by people who simply have no idea what they’re talking about. Another claim many people were seemingly ready to laugh off as ridiculous, was one that claimed that weight training can actually increase bone density. At first, people laughed this off as ridiculous, but now, there’s strong evidence to suggest that it’s entirely true.
Does weight training increase bone density, and if so, how?
In a word, yes. Studies and research would strongly suggest, if not prove entirely, that lifting weights and weight training can actually increase a person’s bone density, thus leaving them with slightly bigger bones than they previously will have had. The next time a person claims they have ‘big bones’ don’t be so quick to laugh at them, unless they’re Eric Cartman from South Park of course, as he’s just overweight, despite what his mother may have him believe.
Resistance Training and increased bone density
Anyway, back on topic, and yes, studies and research have shown that weight and resistance training can indeed increase a person’s bone density over a prolonged period of time. This works in a number of different ways. For starters, when we lift weights, as our muscles are attached to our bones, we put both the muscles, and the bones under increased levels of stress. To compensate for this, the bones will actually be formed to adapt and increase in size ever so slightly, just to ensure they’re able to withstand this extra stress and pressure.
The Science Behind Increased Bone Density
The main way in which bone density increases however, is down to the fact that when we lift heavy weights, tiny microscopic tears appear in the bones. When we lift weights, tiny muscle fibers in our muscles become torn and rip away.
The body rebuilds these fibers even bigger and stronger than they were previously, which is how we build muscle. The same applies to our bones. When we lift weights intensely, the contracting muscles place extra stress upon the bones, and tiny little microscopic tears and cracks appear on the surface and inside the bones themselves. When we rest, the body rebuilds these tiny cracks and tears even bigger and stronger than they once were, thus increasing bone density even further.