T Nation

Best Lifting for Bone Density?


My mom is 68 and in very good shape that said. She is interested in lifting to increase bone density and for long-term health, but I really don't know how to advise her given her goal of basically staying as healthy as possible for as long as possible, plus getting as broken-hip etc resistant as possible. Anyone know what an older lady should do to get her bone density and general health up? I can get her to squat and deadlift no problem, but what kind of weight/reps etc should she be using?


the higher the stress on the bone - the more it produces osteoblasts (bone building cells).

5x5 is a nice basic - or as heavy as she can go. tell her the heavier she lifts the stronger her bones will be.


My friend has been coaching a 57 year old woman. She's doing great and can lift more than any woman I know! (in person) I'd say get into lifting and show her this video for inspiration.

I agree with nimain on 5x5.


Middle aged and older populations need hypertrophy and power training more than anything else, as both of these tend to dimish yearly as we age past our forties, and are just as important if not more so than bone density interms of maintaining quality of life as we age.. I would foucus on compound lifts in the 8-12 range with a focus on power exercises.

Often times this demographic wont need more than ONE set for a particular lift to see results from session to session. The bone density wont be negated by moving the reps up.
Monitor her recovery and progress more than anything else for signs as to whether to up or lower the volume as she progresses.