Though initially skeptical, we tried the OsteoStrong machines for bone strength to find out how they work, and how they differ from simple weightlifting.
Bones, like all parts of bodies, will adapt to correctly applied stress. The essential thinking here is that your body always wants to be prepared for something greater that may cause a catastrophic failure in the future. This is how muscle building works. If there is stress applied — picking up a heavy weight — the body will adapt by adding more muscle tissue up to one’s biological maximum. The same is true with bones, with the difference that bone grows more slowly than muscle.
When I first heard of this company and their machines, I just didn’t get it. Why go to a special studio to use their machines for a few minutes when weightlifting could have the same effect? It seemed a bit silly to me. This is me committing the classic error of prejudice before a thorough investigation. In other words, I had passed judgment on something I knew very little about.
Trying the OsteoStrong Machine
It all changed when a couple of weeks ago I had a chance to actually try the machine. I get it now. This technology is brilliant. The way the machines work — and there are versions for legs, arms, and other body parts — is that the machine is set in a way that the body can apply maximum force at a preset angle. More force applied means more stress on the bone, meaning faster and more effective bone growth.
“I was able to push a Herculean 1200 lbs”
I was asked to sit in a chair of what looked like a fixed chest-press machine in the gym. My arms, when holding the handles, had about a 15-degree bend in them. The trainer told me this was the angle at which I could apply my maximum force. There is an output meter that indicates how many pounds of force I was applying. The procedure is simple: just push as hard as you can for about 10 seconds. One push is all that was needed. I was able to push a Herculean 1200 lbs, which is 6 times what I could do at the gym. That means my bone is being signaled to adapt to a huge force while, at the same time, I am not hurting myself in any way. Trying to bench press 1200 lbs is insane.
I could see these machines as excellent for anyone in need of strengthening bone —osteoporosis patients, athletes, injury recovery patients. It is a great technology that hacks our body’s natural adaption processes. My lesson: don’t dismiss things I don’t fully understand.