Heinonen, A., Oja, P., Kannus, P., Sievanen, H., Haapasalo, H., Manttari, A., & Vuori, I. (1995). Bone mineral density in female athletes representing sports with different loading characteristics of the skeleton. Bone, 17, 197-203.

Competitive Finnish female athletes (N = 59), representing three sports with different skeletal loading characteristics, were compared to a very active non-specifically fit group (5+ training sessions per week) and a sedentary control group (<2 training sessions per week). Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry was performed.

Squash players, aerobic dancers, and speed skaters had significantly higher bone mineral densities at the sites of exercise loading associated with their sports than did either of the other two groups. High levels of general training which did not involve respeated specific intense loadings did not produce any increase in bone mineral density over sedentary individuals.

It is suggested that bone mineralization is only affected by high intensity efforts and loadings.

Implication. Training which involves high strain rates in versatile movements and high peak forces is more effective in bone formation than training with a large number of low-force repetitions.

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