Despite the fact that bones respond favorably to high impact exercise and high-intensity resistance training these types of exercise are typically avoided in women with osteoporosis due to concerns that heavy loading of ‘fragile’ bone may result in increased risk of fracture. The LIFTMOR trial (Watson et al 2017, J Bone Mineral Research) calls into question this traditional belief that osteoporotic females should not lift heavy weights.
This high-quality trial investigated the effects of an 8-month, 2x/week high intensity, progressive resistance and impact weight-bearing training (>80-85% of 1 rep max) in women with osteoporosis compared to women participating in low-resistance (<60% 1 rep max) exercise targeting mobility and balance. The high-intensity exercisers gained bone mass where their low-intensity counterparts lost bone mass. The high intensity group also had significant improvements in measures linked to fall risk as well as height.
Importantly, in the over 2600 high-intensity training sessions, only 1 mild adverse event was noted and that participant returned to high intensity training to complete the study without concerns.
High-intensity exercises included (*all exercise sessions supervised by a physical therapist):
Jumping chin-ups with drop landings
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