ISO free weight bone health guidance
September 22, 2012 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Safe, at home free weight program for bone health? ISO recommended videos, DVDs, diagrams, etc.

I am a female over 45. I'd like to start doing a safe, at-home free weight program for bone health and osteoporosis prevention. I have two five-pound weights, and know a few exercises, but I don't have a good plan yet. I've googled around but have found it hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Also, I'm kind of dyslexic about directions and shapes, so for me it is good to have instructions with both words and pictures. So diagrams with words or videos with talking are good.

I also have a gym membership, and have used this video for gym workouts, to give an example of a very clear instructional video. (I would be open to buying Melio's book and video but it seems overpriced for what I need.)
posted by ClaudiaCenter to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You will probably outgrow those 5 lb weights very quickly. Lifting heavy is what preserves bone. Does your gym offer any personal training? I think it's easier to learn what to do by watching someone show me how and then doing it myself.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:31 AM on September 22, 2012

I started at the Netflix Gym (aka, my living room) to months ago and have found to be an amazing resource -- no gross ads, no gross machismo design; just very straightforward and well-organized information about muscles and how to build them. In the exercise directory, it's organized by area then muscle, and is broken out into sections further by what equipment you have. Each exercise has an animated gif demonstration. Here's an example of the hammer curl.

From their examples, I build myself a workout by customizing the "exercise tracker" template in Apple's Numbers; I'm sure there's Excel ones too if that's your preference. (It has a cell that tracks how much weight I've lifted total, which is fun to plug into this equivalency site and see that I've moved more than an entire space shuttle!)

You will want to get heavier weights, but they're reasonable at Target/KMart/wherever.
posted by mimi at 10:03 AM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to chime in and say that you'll soon need heavier weights, but I know that's not helpful. In order to gain the benefits of increased bone density, you'll need to axially load your body. Essentially, you need to stress your bones enough so they react by strengthening themselves. You'll want to do big major lifts that compress your trunk. Think back squats.

Look up Wolf's law. That's the theory which explains your body's reaction to axial loading. Open chain exercises like bicep curls or leg extensions won't work. Instead, you'll need to focus on the classic powerlifts: Overhead Press, Squat variations etc.

I'm guessing many untrained women can probably lift 30 lbs overhead and squat at least 45 on the back. Weights much less than that won't really give you the response you want.

Remember, there's nothing special about weights. What other heavy things are in your house? Bags of potting soil? Large plants? Logs out back? Some heavy yardwork would probably do more good than just relying on the 5 lb dumbbells. There are lots of options out there.
posted by Telf at 9:49 AM on September 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks, all. Lifting heavy (>30) free weights at home seems potentially dangerous to me. I think for now I'm going to focus on yoga (downward dog etc. is supposed to be good for bones), and my gym workout with weight machines. Got a name for an over-40 female trainer as well.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 12:15 PM on September 29, 2012

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