How and to what extent can one strengthen tendons, ligaments and bones (also thicken bones)?
August 21, 2005 8:01 PM   Subscribe

How and to what extent can one strengthen tendons, ligaments and bones (also thicken bones)?

I understand there is a supplement to strengthen ligaments, and calcium promotes bone density I believe, but besides dietary means Im looking at exercise techniques. Ive found differring opinions on the internet. Might aswell ask this also: does gaining flexibility strengthen or just stretch tendons?
posted by dino terror to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Weight-bearing exercises are good for building or maintaining bone density. Not merely weightlifitng, but also walking, jogging, and hiking (esp hill hiking), where you are bearing your full body weight as opposed to, say, bicycling or swimming.
posted by mono blanco at 8:31 PM on August 21, 2005


Hmm, good to know theres an age limit for building bones... I was watching the UFC and they were saying this guy used to be a lot heavier but he went down to a lower weight class and they were saying he's got the benefit of having heavy bones from the time that he weighed more...
And I thought I read about tendons that you want high weight and partial reps. Higher weight is obviously more risky. Im wondering if I should just weight train as normal or do extra heavy partial rep sets for my tendons.
posted by dino terror at 8:39 PM on August 21, 2005


Partial range repetitions only strengthen partial range of motion. They're generally unsafe...as they fool you into thinking you're stronger because you can use a high weight (usually in a pressing motion) during a point near lockout of a joint.

If your muscles are stronger, your tendon strength/ligament strength improves. Bone density must improve regardless of age, as osteoarthritic women have been able to regain bone mass in their 60s and 70s.

If you're done proper full lrange exercise, it will help flexibiilty. Now, that's the real key. Many exercise don't go through the full range of motion with balanced resistance.
posted by filmgeek at 10:00 PM on August 21, 2005


For example with bicep curls it isnt my bicep that limits me, its the tendons in that elbow joint. Maybe I dont have favourable point of tendon insertion for bicep curls. Doing a bicep curl just feels like all tendon. Maybe I need to find a different bicep exercise...
posted by dino terror at 10:44 PM on August 21, 2005


Vibration therapy has been shown to increase bone density significantly. You spend half an hour sitting or lying on this apparatus that vibrates gently. No, not that kind of apparatus. This therapy has the advantage of not requiring much fitness on the part of the participant, which is great for old people.
posted by randomstriker at 12:17 AM on August 22, 2005


Vibration therapy has been shown to increase bone density significantly. You spend half an hour sitting or lying on this apparatus that vibrates gently.

What's the science behind that?
posted by madman at 12:20 AM on August 22, 2005


What's the science behind that?

See for yourself.
posted by randomstriker at 12:41 AM on August 22, 2005


Summary of the science as I've heard it described elsewhere: bones respond to (non-damaging levels of) strain by becoming denser at the point of strain. Yer vibro-bed causes lots of bone flexing without stressing the softer tissue as much as actual activity would.

One theory I've read (not mentioned in the powerplateusa link, so maybe it's been discarded) is that bones are slightly piezoelectric and the osteoplasts lay down more bone where the existing bone is flexing most and generating the most current.

It sounds like there are lots of postulated mechanisms for it, but the basic "bone strain -> more bone" relationship seems well-accepted.
posted by hattifattener at 3:39 AM on August 22, 2005


My doctor told me walking was good. I always assumed lifting light weights was good for bones too. Of course I'm not in any official position to give medical advice. I just know what's working for me though.
posted by sjvilla79 at 4:09 AM on August 22, 2005


So can tendons and ligaments be strengthened? I'd always thought not, but a physicians' assistant _seemed_ to think otherwise (when I saw him about my sprained ankle a few months ago).
posted by amtho at 5:52 AM on August 22, 2005


Tendons, certainly with resistance training. Ligaments, a lot say no but there is disagreement about this amongst the cognoscenti.
posted by randomstriker at 12:25 PM on August 22, 2005


for bones, take a calcium supplement with vitamin d, and cut out carbonated beverages (which inhibit calcium absorption)
posted by radioamy at 3:49 PM on August 22, 2005


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