Shorter Workouts for Strong Bones

Shorter Workouts for Strong Bones

14-SusieVideo2-31Short on time? Do shorter workouts! Sound appealing? Short, more frequent workouts can be as effective as longer workouts for strong bones!

I’m often asked, “Can I do shorter workouts if I don’t have time for a full strength training workout?”

The answer is, yes! You don’t have to do the whole workout at once to get the total benefit. BUT! There’s a catch. It’s important to split it up the right way if you can’t find the time for 2 full strength training workouts a week.

Work One Specific Major Muscle Group Each Day

To get the most out of your strength training and not turn it into an ineffective 15 minute “toning” routine, pick between arms, legs, or core only, in one workout. Doing all of the legs one day, arms the next, and core (back and abs) on the third day takes those areas of the body more towards fatigue than if you did one or two each of arms, abs, legs, and back. That fatigue is good because it stimulates the muscles to go through muscle hypertrophy and is the reason why you’ll be stronger your next strength training session. It’s a bit of exercise magic!

SusieVideo-13Go for Muscle Hypertrophy

Not using our muscles causes atrophy. What we’re going for with strength training is the opposite of atrophy, muscle hypertrophy. It occurs when you work a muscle a little harder that it’s used to, giving it a bit of an overload. This sets in motion a chain of events. Your muscle cells go through a revved up version of renewal, breaking down on the molecular level and then rebuilding themselves stronger. If you only do one or two exercises for each muscle group during your short workout, you won’t be working them long enough or hard enough to create enough of an overload for your muscles or bones.

Make It Progressive

We’re familiar with the term strength training, but technically, it’s actually called progressive strength training. When the weights you lifted or moves you did in your previous workout eventually gets easy, then it’s time to raise the intensity and lift a heavier weight or do a more challenging move. Your bones and muscles will benefit from the increased intensity. With short or long workouts, be aware if your weights or the exercises have become too easy so you can adapt accordingly.

Your Goal: A “Ceiling”

Through your weeks, months, and years of strength training, gradually increase the weights until you reach your ceiling where you can’t safely lift a heavier weight nor do more repetitions. That is a fine level to maintain for keeping your muscles and bones fit. As long as you get the equivalent of 2 full workouts a week, in shorter segments, you’ll still make good progress toward your goal.

These leg bands are very effective!Keep It Varied

Our skeletons respond well to variation, so once you get to that maintenance level, be sure to vary your workout, alternating between weights and resistance bands.

Effect on Bones

Keep your strength training progressive and varied, with short and long workouts, so that your skeleton pays attention to its job of supporting the soft tissues of the body. We’d be a big blob without our skeleton! Strength training for our muscles is truly strength training for our bones as well. It’s a reminder through exercise, nudging both muscles and bones towards the high level of strength that we want them to keep. Muscles and bones will cooperate, but we need to be the ones to initiate and continue the stimulus through regular strength training.

In my next blog post, I’ll give you more details on how to divide the workouts in my DVDs into shorter segments. To start with, be sure to always do a warm-up before any short workout. It’s very important! I’ll answer specific questions you might have about shorter workouts, so be sure to ask them in the comment section below.

Cheers!  –Susie

Comments (Scroll to the bottom to leave your comment)

  1. Hello Lillian,
    My 2-day a week strength workouts are on both of my DVDs, pictured in the upper right hand column of this page, are available through Simply click on the picture and it will take you to the correct page on Amazon.
    All the best,

  2. Question. I am in rehab for knee replacement and have been working with resistance bandz. However I am allergic to latex in the bands and developed a skin reaction on hands
    Are there bands without latex?

  3. Yes, there are latex free bands. Click on the store tab at the top of this page and click the dropdown arrow for resistance bands. The 4th option down are latex free.
    Best wishes with your recovery, Margi!

  4. Hi Susie
    Happy New Year for 2015
    I appreciate getting your E-newsletters – they really help 2 keep me motivated
    Jo-anne MacDonald

  5. Wonderful! It’s so important to stay motivated to keep up your exercise for life, Jo-anne! My parents, who are in their nineties, are in the midst of a move from their home of 52 years. They can still do a huge move like this (with the help of our big family) and continue to live independently because they have always been active. They continue to walk, swim, lift weights, use the stairs whenever possible, and use resistance bands.
    I’m so glad to hear that my newsletters are keeping you motivated.
    Happy New Year to you, as well!

  6. Do I need to purchase both DVD’s? If I do, would I do strength training 1 day a week and resistance training the other day of the week?

  7. Hello Mary,
    In my strength training classes, I have several workouts that I teach, 2 of which are now on DVD. Muscles and bones respond better with varied stimulus, so I mix it up, using bands, dumbbells, leg weights and body weight for resistance. Varying your workouts gives much better fitness than if you only do one type. Muscles and bones can get complacent if you always do the same exercises. They respond well when you change it up!
    You could pick one workout to do for a month or 2, get comfortable and make progress with that one, and then get the second DVD for the variation that it provides. It’s a very good idea to do both bands and weights. They each give a uniquely beneficial pull on your bones, stimulating your bone building cells to be more active. You can do bands one day and weights the 2nd workout in the week or any type of schedule, as long as you mix it up. It could be a week of bands and a week of weights or 2 weeks on weights and a week of bands. Strength training workouts only need to be done 2, maybe 3 times a week on non-consecutive days. Your muscles need a day or 2 to rest and rebuild themselves stronger after a strength training workout.
    All the best,