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Bone-Building Exercises

  • Rick Lew

    In Your 30s: Must-Do Moves

    For fitness, the more "good" stress you put on your skeleton, the stronger it becomes. Try these moves from Ellen Barrett, a personal trainer and member of the Family Circle Health Advisory Board, with the heaviest weights you can manage.

    Canoe Move: Strengthens your entire lower body

    Starting position: Stand upright with feet together, holding one 5- to 8-pound weight in each hand at your left hip.

  • Rick Lew

    Canoe Move Action

    Laterally jump to the left, "canoe-ing" the weights to the right hip. Repeat 20 times, alternating side to side.

  • Rick Lew

    Dance-Fever Flex

    Dance-Fever Flex: Fortifies your core muscles

    Starting position: Stand with most of your weight on the left leg. Hold a 5- to 8-pound weight in the left hand, arm stretched up at a 45-degree angle.

  • Rick Lew

    Dance-Fever Flex Action

    Squeeze the right knee up to meet the bending left elbow. Keep your back straight. Repeat 10 times then switch sides.

  • Rick Lew

    Tip-Toe Press

    Tip-Toe Press: Tones from head to toe, especially the upper body

    Starting position: Stand with feet parallel and elbows bent out to the sides. Hold 5- to 8-pound weights in each hand.

  • Rick Lew

    Tip-Toe Press Action

    Roll onto your toes as you reach your arms straight up. Keep abs engaged. Do two sets of 10 for a total of 20 repetitions.

  • In Your 40s: Must-Do Moves

    As you enter your 40s and approach perimenopause, you will inevitably start to slowly lose bone density and strength. This process causes no visible symptoms. Making changes to your fitness routine now will shore up your body against the drop in estrogen levels at menopause that dramatically increases the risk for a break due to osteoporosis.

    Lunging Shoulder Lift: Builds hamstrings, glutes and shoulders

    Starting position: Stand upright with feet together and arms down by your sides holding 5-pound weights.

  • Rick Lew

    Lunging Shoulder Lift Action

    Lunge with your right leg and lift both arms up to shoulder height, elbows bent at 90 degrees. Repeat with the left leg. Aim for two sets of 10 lunges, alternating legs.

  • Rick Lew

    Crisscross Abs

    Crisscross Abs: Fortifies the core

    Starting position: Lie on your back with arms (holding 5-pound weights) crisscrossed at the chest. Extend your legs out in front of you, lifted 45 degrees off the ground, with toes pointed and abs engaged.

  • Rick Lew

    Crisscross Abs Action

    Scissor your right leg in over the left, then the left leg over the right. Alternate for a total of 20 repetitions.

  • Rick Lew

    Balancing Arm Circle

    Balancing Arm Circle: Improves balance while toning the upper body

    Starting position: Balance on one leg, holding 5-pound weights, arms out to the sides, palms down.

    Action: Circle arms clockwise 20 times, then repeat counterclockwise. Switch legs and do another set.

  • Rick Lew

    In Your 50s: Must-Do Moves

    In the 5 to 10 years right after menopause bone loss is rapid. It's estimated that postmenopausal women lose up to 3 percent of their bone mass every year. Getting plenty of exercise remains of the utmost importance. Women over 50 should work on moves that increase balance and flexibility to reduce the risk of a fall that could result in a life-threatening break.

    Chair Squat: Helps with balance and works the lower body.

    Starting position: Stand upright in front of chair, with arms relaxed at sides, holding 3- to 5-pound weights.

  • Rick Lew

    Chair Squat Action

    Sit hips back, almost-but-not-quite into the seat, while reaching arms up and forward in front of your chest. Slowly return to the starting position. Aim for 20 total repetitions.

  • Rick Lew

    Seated Crunch

    Seated Crunch: Increases flexibility and invigorates the core

    Starting position: Sit upright in a chair with feet planted on the floor. Hold 3- to 5- pound weights next to your shoulders.

  • Rick Lew

    Seated Crunch Action

    Press the right arm up and lower the left arm down while bending slightly to the left. Hold for one inhale and then switch sides. Alternate for a total of 20 repetitions.

  • Rick Lew

    Arm Slice

    Arm Slice: Stretches and tones the upper body.

    Starting position: Sit upright in a chair with feet planted on the floor. Holding 3- to 5- pound weights, bring arms up overhead, palms facing forward.

  • Rick Lew

    Arm Slice Action

    Exhale and "slice" the arms down and slightly back behind you. Picture your collarbone spreading apart. Inhale and return to starting position. Repeat 20 times.

    Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the May 2008 issue of Family Circle magazine.