Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Effects of combining of upper and lower body resistance training on lumbar loading

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  • Osteoporotic vertebral fractures are a common and costly public health problem with a high occurrence in older women due to menopausal-onset bone loss. Recent findings suggest that mechanical loading created by upper body resistance training can stimulate bone growth in the lumbar spine, reducing osteoporosis-related bone loss and associated fracture risk. However, there are little loading data on which to base an exercise-based osteoporosis prevention program. This study therefore determined how different combinations of upper and lower body resistance training exercises affected lumbar loading in middle-aged women. Kinematic and kinetic data were collected while 20 women, aged 37 to 50, performed bilateral biceps curls with 2.3 kg dumbbells, bodyweight squats, squats while wearing a 4.5 kg weighted vest, and a combined squat-plus-curl exercise. Using these data, peak compressive and anterior shear loads on L1 at the T12/L1 joint and on L5 at the L5/S1 joint were estimated using a biomechanical model and were compared between exercises. Combining the biceps curl with a squat produced significantly larger compressive loads at L5/S1 and larger anterior shear loads on L1 than when performing the biceps curl on its own. Static resistance in the form of the weighted vest created significantly larger compressive loads at L5/S1 (2002 ± 402 N) and larger anterior shear loads on L1 (682 ± 134 N) than did bodyweight squats. Contrary to our hypothesis, peak lumbar loads associated with adding dynamic resistance, in the form of the biceps curl, to a squat did not differ from those for bodyweight squats or for squats with the weighted vest. These results indicate that, for this population, adding static resistance to the upper body in the form of a weighted vest is the best choice, of the exercises studied, for inclusion in an exercised-based osteoporosis prevention program. However, for the low level of added resistance studied, the associated lumbar loads may not be sufficiently large to promote bone growth.
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