How Do I Develop Strong Bones (Video)?

If you followed me for any amount of time you probably know that I have three interests, running bones, and coffee. And if I ever have an opportunity to put those three things together in a video, I’ve got to take advantage of it.

I’ve talked to you before about the importance of having strong bones for endurance athletes and I want to get into the specifics of that today and how we can optimize our strength plans to get the most from a bone standpoint. The nice thing for me, there’s a lot of similarities between making a good cup of coffee and having an optimal strength plan from building strong bones.

There’s a study done by Robling and colleagues a few years ago, that looked at the optimal way for us to load our skeletons. What they did was they took a bunch of rat ulna’s and they squeezed them together to simulate loading their body with day-to-day activities. They had two different groups, the first group got loaded 360 times in a row consecutively. The second group got loaded 90 times and it was separated across four different sessions throughout the day. So the loading cycles were the same there was just a different way of implementing them. Both of these groups got stronger, but the group that got separated out to multiple sessions during the day had much stronger bones than the group that got all of it at once. And we think that’s kind of highlights the idea behind running being predictable, having it being this long activity and how that’s not as beneficial for our skeleton as something like soccer or basketball.

Bones get bored quickly and they don’t like doing predictable things, they like some variety. This has really important implications for how we go about lifting in the weight room. And the funny thing is the elements of a good strength program are very similar to the elements of a good cup of coffee. When I make coffee at home, I normally make a pour over that is this little device that sits on top of your coffee cup,, you put some grounds in the top of it, put water over it, and that makes a cup of coffee.

There’s a few key components when it comes to making this good cup of coffee. The first thing that we want is we want good quality stuff. We want good beans, we want a good grinder, we want good water, and we want to make sure that we have all of that present before we start. That’s very similar to how we want to choose good exercises from a bone health standpoint, when we’re in the weight room. This is heavy loading that happens quickly, it’s big movements that load the bones that have to work a lot when we run, those are good quality exercises. Good beans and ingredients, good quality exercises.

We can get more specific. It’s not enough to have just good ingredients, we want a good method when it comes to making our product. When you make a pour over it takes time and it takes patience. Once you grind up your beans and toss them into your filter, you place them into your pour over, and then you put a little bit of water on the grounds, not too much. And then you wait and then you put more water on there and you wait and you wait and you wait, and then you put more water on there and you wait. This takes a few minutes, it takes time. It’s a lot different than just using a Keurig and pressing a button and then get your coffee. There’s a method to get the desired outcome that we want.

We see the same thing when we’re going into the weight room. In an ideal world, we separate our sessions out during the day we don’t lift and run at the same time, we wait. So we’re going to run in the morning, ideally, we’re going to lift in the afternoon. We’re going to separate those sessions by at least three hours and maybe up to eight hours, that takes planning and that takes time. What we see is that this gives our bones an opportunity to reset and recover from the first session of loading so they can be ready to adapt again, but it takes patience.

Now, once we get into our strength session, there’s even more specifics that we can go into. When you’re performing a set of split squats, I want to make sure that you recover fully from each set. So if you do three sets of eight split squats with a good amount of weight, I want to make sure that you’re fully recovered between each set. That takes more time, we can’t rush through this. But those breaks and that time to wait, allows our bones to recover a little bit so hopefully we get a better outcome from it. When we go in the weight room, we’re not going to spend a ton of time because again, our bones get bored if they’re doing the same thing. For me that’s two to three heavy lifts with breaks in between each set and breaks in between the extra your sizes and then we get on with our day.

So let’s recap. If we want good coffee, what do we want? We need good ingredients and we need a good method. If we want to choose a good strength plan to have stronger bones, we want good exercises and a good method. When we put all that into someone’s training plan we’re allowing their body enough time to adapt and get stronger so hopefully their training and racing goes better. Thanks so much for watching. I hope you found this helpful. Make sure to like, subscribe, comment with any questions below and have a great rest of your day.