Skip to main content

Effects of unilateral strength training and detraining on bone mineral density and content in young women: A study of mechanical loading and deloading on human bones

Abstract

This study assessed the effect of unilateral strength training at 80% one repetition maximum and of detraining on bone mineral density (BMD, g/cm-2) and bone mineral content (ΣBMC, g) in young women. Twelve female physiotherapy students trained their left limb by leg press an average of four times per week for 1 year followed by 3 months of detraining. Twelve students served as controls. Repeated bone measurements were performed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry of the lumbar spine, femoral neck, distal femur, patella, proximal tibia, and calcaneus. The training increased the muscle strength of the trained limb, and the BMD of the same limb showed a nonsignificant but systematic increase in distal femur, patella, and proximal tibia, and in ΣBMC of the five measured limb sites (considered an index of the total osteogenic effectiveness of the training). Simultaneously, the muscle strength increased in the untrained limb as an evidence of cross-training effect. A corresponding small but systematic increase was also seen in BMD of this limb as well as in ΣBMC. After the cessation of training, leg extension strength was retained but BMD and ΣBMC of the trained and untrained limbs declined towards baseline values in 3 months. The BMD and ΣBMC values in the control group showed an increasing tendency during the follow-up but the changes were less than 1%. The differences of the changes in BMD and ΣBMC between the left and right limb in the control group, as well as between the same limb in the training and control groups were nonsignificant. The findings of this study indicate that unidirectional strength training, intensive enough to induce substantial strength gain, is not an effective stimulus to increase BMD and BMC in young, physically active women. The unilateral training model turned out to be feasible in these subjects, producing a definite cross-training effect in muscle strength and a trend of similar effect in BMD. Further development of the unilateral training model, and studies to test if training produces adaptation in nonloaded bones (i.e., a crosstraining effect), are also warranted.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1.

    Rubin CT, Lanyon LE (1984) Regulation of bone formation by applied dynamic loads. J Bone Joint Surg 66A:397–402

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Frost HM (1992) The role of changes in mechanical usage set points in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis. J Bone Miner Res 7:253–261

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Lanyon LE (1990) Bone loading—the functional determinant of bone architecture and a physiological contributor to the prevention of osteoporosis. In: Smith R (ed) Osteoporosis LR Printing Services Ltd. London, p 63

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Lanyon LE (1992) The success and failure of the adaptive response to functional load-bearing in averting bone fracture. Bone 13:S17–21

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Granhed H, Jonson R, Hansson T (1987) The loads on the lumbar spine during extreme weight lifting. Spine 12:146–149

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Heinrich CH, Going SB, Pamenter RW, Perry CD, Boyden TW, Lohman TG (1990) Bone mineral content of cyclically menstruating female resistance- and endurance-trained athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 22:558–563

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Nilsson BE, Westlin NE (1971) Bone density in athletes. Clin Orthop 77:179–182

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Virvidakis K, Georgiou E, Korkotsios A, Ntalles K, Proukakis C (1990) Bone mineral content of junior competitive weight lifters. Int J Sports Med 11:244–246

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Heinonen A, Oja P, Kannus P, Sievänen H, Mänttäri A, Vuori I (1993) Bone mineral density of female athletes in different sports. Bone Miner 23:1–14

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Peterson SE, Peterson MD, Raymond G, Gilligan C, Checovich MM, Smith EL (1991) Muscular strength and bone density with weight training in middle-aged women. Med Sci Sports Exerc 23:499–504

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Pruitt LA, Jackson RD, Bartels RL, Lenhard HJ (1992) Weighttraining effects on bone mineral density in early postmenopausal women. J Bone Miner Res 7:179–185

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Notelovitz M, Martin D, Tesar R, Khan FY, Probart C, Fields C, McKenzie L (1991) Estrogen therapy and variable-resistance weight training increase bone mineral in surgically menopausal women. J Bone Miner Res 6:583–590

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Snow-Harter C, Bouxein ML, Lewis BT, Carter DR, Marcus R (1992) Effects of resistance and endurance exercise on bone mineral status of young women: a randomized exercise intervention trial. J Bone Miner Res 7:761–769

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Huddleston AL, Rockwell D, Kulund DN, Harrison BR (1980) Bone mass in lifetime tennis athletes. JAMA 244:1107–1109

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Jones HH, Priest JD, Hayes WC, Tichenor CC, Nagel DA (1977) Humeral hypertrophy in response to exercise. J Bone Jt Surg 59A:204–208

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Pirnay F, Bodeux M, Crielaard JM, Frachimont P (1987) Bone mineral content and physical activity. Int J Sports Med 8:331–335

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Wolman RL, Clark P, McNally E, Harriers M, Reeve J (1990) Menstrual state and exercise as determinants of spinal trabecular bone density in female athletes. Br Med J 301:516–518

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Kannus P, Haapasalo H, Sievänen H, Oja P, Vuori I (in press) The site-specific effects of long-term unilateral activity on bone mineral density and content. Bone

  19. 19.

    Angus RM, Sambrokk PN, Pocock NA, Eisman JA (1988) Dietary intake and bone mineral density. Bone Miner 4265–4272

  20. 20.

    Heinonen A, Sievänen H, Viitasalo J, Pasanen M, Oja P, Vuori I (in press) Reproducibility of computer measurement of maximal isometric strength and electromyography in sedentary middle-aged women. Eur J Appl Physiol

  21. 21.

    Sievänen H, Oja P, Vuori I (1992) Precision of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in determining bone mineral and content of various skeletal sites. J Nucl Med 33:1137–1142

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Smidt GL (1973) Biomechanical analysis of knee flexion and extension. J Biomech 6:79–92

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Hungerford DS, Barry M (1979) Biomechanics of the patellofemoral joint. Clin Orthop 144:9–15

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Frost HM (1987) Bone “mass” and the “mechanostat”: a proposal. Anat Rec 219:1–9

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Frost HM (1993) Suggested fundamental concepts in skeletal physiology. Calcif Tissue Int 52:1–4

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Lanyon LE (1987) Functional strain in bone as an objective, and controlling stimulus for adaptive bone remodelling. J Biomech 20:1083–1093

    Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Rubin CT, Lanyon LE (1987) Osteoregulatory nature of mechanical stimuli: function as a determinant for adaptive remodelling in bone. J Orthop Res 5:300–310

    Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Whalen RT, Carter DR (1988) Influence of physical activity on the regulation of bone density. J Biomech 21:825–837

    Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Turner CH (1991) Homeostatic control of bone structure: an application of feedback theory. Bone 12:203–217

    Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Kannus P, Alosa D, Cook L, Johnson RJ, Renströn P, Pope M, Beynnon B, Yasuda K, Nichols C, Kaplan M (1992) Effect of one-legged exercise on the strength, power and endurance of the contralateral leg. A randomized, controlled study using isometric and concentric isokinetic training. Eur J Appl Physiol 64:117–126

    Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    White MK, Martin RB, Yeater RA, Butcher RL, Radin EL (1984) The effects of exercise on the bones of postmenopausal women. Int Orthop 7:209–214

    Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Smith EL, Gilligan C, McAdam M, Ensign CP, Smith PE (1989) Deterring bone loss by exercise intervention in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Ann Intern Med 108:824–828

    Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Brewer V, Meyer BM, Keele MS, Upton SJ, Hagan RD (1983) Role of exercise in prevention of involutional bone loss. Med Sci Sports Exerc 15:445–449

    Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Krolner B, Toft B, Nielsen SP, Tondevold E (1983) Physical exercise—a prophylaxis against involutional vertebral bone loss. A controlled trial. Clin Sci 64:541–546

    Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Aloia JF, Cohn SH, Ostuni JA, Cane R, Ellis K (1978) Prevention of involutional bone loss by exercise. Ann Intern Med 89: 356–358

    Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Tommerup LJ, Raab DM, Crenshaw TD, Smith EL (1993) Does weight-bearing exercise affect non-weight-bearing bone? J Bone Miner Res 8:1053–1058

    Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Dalsky GP, Stocke KS, Ehsani AA, Slatopolsky E, Lee WC, Brige SJ (1988) Weight-bearing exercise training and lumbar bone mineral content in postmenopausal women. Ann Intern Med 108:824–828

    Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Lane NE, Bloch DA, Hubert HB, Jones H, Simpson U, Fries JF (1990) Running, osteoarthritis, and bone density: initial 2-year longitudinal study. Am J Med 88:452–459

    Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Häkkinen K, Sinnemäki P (1991) Changes in physical fitness profile during the competitive season in elite bandy players. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 31:37–43

    Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Häkkinen K (1993) Changes in physical fitness profile in female basketball players during the competitive season including explosive type strength training. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 33: 19–26

    Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Snow-Harter C, Whalen R, Myburgh K, Arnaud S, Marcus R (1992) Bone mineral density, muscle strength, and recreational exercise in men. J Bone Miner Res 7:1291–1296

    Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    Elickhoft JA, Molzlyck L, Gallagher JC, Staczy DJ (1993) Influence of isotonic, isometric and isometric and isokinetic muscle strength on bone mineral density of the spine and femur in young women. Bone Miner 20:201–209

    Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Dalsky GP (1987) Exercise: its effect on bone mineral content. Clin Obstet Gynecol 30:820–832

    Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    Häkkinen K (1989) Neuromuscular and hormonal adaptations during strength and power training: a review. J Sports Med 29:9–26

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Vuori, I., Heinonen, A., Sievänen, H. et al. Effects of unilateral strength training and detraining on bone mineral density and content in young women: A study of mechanical loading and deloading on human bones. Calcif Tissue Int 55, 59–67 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00310170

Download citation

Key words

  • Bone mineral density
  • Bone mineral content
  • Unilateral strength training
  • Females
  • Dual-energy
  • X-ray absorptiometry