“When the bones are good, the rest don’t matter.” ~Maren Morris
When something is called the “Ultimate Biohack” it definitely catches my attention. Biohacks are great tools or information to help you upgrade your health quickly. So, when I saw that Osteostrong was calling themselves the “Ultimate Biohack,” I knew I needed to learn more.
Osteostrong has the latest technology (Robotic Musculoskeletal Development System) that helps people build strong bones by triggering the body’s natural ability to strengthen specifically targeted bone structures. According to the research, there needs to be 4.2x the body weight, as pressure, to trigger a healing response (osteogenesis) and increase bone density. 4.2x the body weight is based on a study of the pressure needed to trigger new bone growth in the hips specifically. Osteostrong has taken the liberty, and rightly so, to generalize this to the other bones in the body. While it might not be exact, or proven just yet, for me, it’s enough evidence to at least try this biohack—especially when I heard that it also helps with blood sugar levels too! I wasn’t expecting that.
A force of 4.2 multiples of body weight is the minimum required force to trigger bone growth in the hip joint (the most important place to avoid fracture) and peak forces with adults in conventional resistance exercise only show 1.26 to 1.54 multiples of body weight (1).*
It turns out when you build stronger bones, your body can handle larger, stronger muscles. One of the reasons we lose muscle mass as we age is because we lose bone density so the muscles decrease in size so the bones aren’t overtaxed.
Below are charts taken from the Osteostrong website:
In a little over 6 months, I’ll be 40. Bone density decreases with age—especially after menopause (in women) and I want to stay ahead of the curve. Metabolism also slows as we age, and larger muscles burn more calories. For those two reasons alone, I’d be interested in increasing my bone density, but I also have an almost 60 lb, solid, 5-year-old son who loves to run and jump on me. Having stronger bones that can hold stronger muscles is a must. As it is, I can barely pick him up! I can’t afford to have my bone density decrease, and therefore my muscles decrease— I love his knock-down snuggles!
In addition to needing to be stronger for my family, I have also been concerned about early-onset osteoporosis. My mom had severe osteoporosis in her late 40’s early 50’s—and even if it is not genetic, I know there are other underlying causes that could place me in the same boat as her. Plus, when I was 16 years old I broke my lower back (bilateral fracture of my L-5) playing soccer and it took years to recover. The diagnosis was weak bones. So, having the opportunity to build stronger bones based on research seemed like a no-brainer.
By the way, did you know that a broken hip later in life is correlated with a shorter life expectancy? (See the article at the end for more information on that).
After looking into Osteostrong, I decided to try it out because who doesn’t want to age more gracefully in one minute a week?!
At the first session, they do an assessment of your overall physical capabilities like balance and such. It’s easy. They need to know where you are starting, to see where you are going.
Each time I go to the gym I spend a total time of about 15 mins.
First, I do a warm-up on a vibe plate (vibrating machine), which means I just stand there. This signals my whole body to get activated and engaged in what might be coming up next. It essentially confuses the muscles because it is vibrating at a rapid rate (approx 30 times a second). It also provides a great way to move lymph around the body. I believe that technology was created by NASA for their astronauts to build muscle faster, but don’t quote me on that.
After the warm-up, I visit each of the 4 machines. At each machine, I check in and see my stats from the last week, as well as my best week and my first week. This helps to mentally set you up for where you are going. I enjoy that feature a lot. It definitely provides a lot of motivation, and I activate a “You can do it Amy!” mindset.
Once the equipment is adjusted to me, I practice what I’m going to be doing on that machine. I make sure all my muscles and bones are lined up and nothing hurts before I go really hard. I then spend 15 seconds doing the actual exercise. This is where I breathe heavily and exert a lot of effort. At the end, I see my results. I can see if I triggered the healing response or the rapid healing response. I can see if I beat any records and then I usually high-five my coach Lee, because, well, he is awesome and so encouraging!
In the 2 months that I have been going there, I’ve increased my functional bone performance by 146%. Take a look at the graphs at the bottom of the page. When you first start out, they tell you to go easy, because it is your first time doing the machines and you don’t want to injure your body (even though that is unlikely). So, based on the info that I went easy the first time, I’d say my increase is more like 115-125%. Still a huge increase, and most of the time I trigger rapid osteogenesis.
What’s cool about these machines is that you are not lifting anything—you’re using “axial compression of bone to emulate the effect of impact *.” There are no weights above you, so you don’t have to feel like you need to get out from under something. You can just push as hard as you can and then release. You don’t have to worry about reserving energy for getting out from underneath the weights. You just tap out. This makes it safer for you to go hard and fast and then when you can’t go anymore, just release. I like that. Plus, no weights to have to re-rack.
At the very end, you do a cool down and get to play a fun game of eye-hand coordination while you stand on the vibe plate. This helps you to build your balance.
I should mention, that I live in the Boulder, Colorado area, and this location is in Boulder, and we have the top athletes in the world here training. A lot of them use this very facility to give them an edge. I feel lucky that one is right up the street from me. If you are interested in this biohack, you might want to look at the locations page to see if one is near you.
OsteoStrong members easily, safely and without injury or pain, achieve in forces in excess of 5 to 12 times their own body weight.*
They also have a Biocharger at the Boulder location, which is totally awesome in my opinion. The Biocharger is a machine that sends a frequency to your body that helps you to reboot and/or release what is needed on an energetic level. There is some science behind it which you can find here.
The Take Away:
I have to admit, I really do feel stronger. I also feel more capable of handling the knock-down snuggles (victory!). It also feels good to know what I can do physically. I love the challenge of seeing what I “lifted” and trying to break that record. I love any chance I get to test my mindset. My coach Lee is always amazed that I can beat my records. I swear it is because of my mindset. This place is cool.
*taken directly from Osteostrong website.
Note: I am not affiliated at all with Osteostrong. I just wanted to share a great biohack that is working for me and my family. Please only try at your own risk.
Below is my personal progress report after 9 sessions: