Weight Bearing Exercise and EMS

Weight-bearing exercise and EMS fitness

You’ve probably heard the term “weight-bearing exercise” from your doctor around the ages of 40-50 with no details on how to add this new habit into your life and routine. It’s around this age that exercise, specifically, resistance training, becomes increasingly important. We’ve covered the benefits of resistance training in another blog if you want to check it out here. 

It has always boggled me how nutrition and exercise are two of the main pillars of health, yet most medical doctors have little-to-no education in either topic. The emphasis on disease treatment, instead of prevention, is a mistake for the population’s well-being, but let’s put that debate aside for now.

What are weight-bearing exercises?

Weight-bearing exercise is a vague and simple term that describes any type of physical activity that requires you to support your body weight with your feet or hands

Examples of weight-bearing exercise include:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Weight lifting
  • Calisthenics
  • Gymnastics
  • Most sports: tennis, basketball, soccer, football, volleyball, pickleball, squash, golf
  • …and the list goes on

These exercises offer numerous benefits for your overall health and well-being.

What are the benefits of weight-bearing exercise?

Maintain bone density

Weight-bearing exercises help to stimulate the growth of new bone tissue, which can help to prevent osteoporosis and other bone diseases. This is because the stress placed on the bones during weight-bearing exercise causes them to adapt and become stronger over time. This is the main reason to include weight-bearing exercises in your routine. 

A note on bone density: You reach peak bone mass around ages 25 to 30, and then it mostly declines thereon. Weight-bearing exercise, resistance training, and proper nutrition which includes plenty of calcium and vitamin D are essential to decreasing the rate of bone loss. It’s also important to avoid smoking and limit alcohol intake. You may find this Mayo Clinic list of do’s and don’ts useful.

Improved muscle strength

Weight-bearing exercises are great for building and maintaining muscle strength. This is because they require your muscles to work against gravity, which can help to increase their size and endurance. This can help to improve your overall physical performance and make everyday tasks easier.

Improved balance and coordination

Weight-bearing exercises can help to improve your balance and coordination, which can reduce the risk of falls and other injuries. This is because weight-bearing exercise require you to maintain proper posture and stability, which can help to improve your overall balance and coordination.

In our previous blog about osteoporosis and osteopenia, we referenced a research study that claimed that it is not enough for an activity to be weight-bearing, it also needs to be intense for the bone to produce the necessary processes to maintain density. How intense? It’s hard to say, but starting with what you can handle and progressively increasing intensity is the only feasible recommendation.

You may be wondering, “why are so many people at risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis if most people perform at least one of the listed weight-bearing activities above?” It’s a very good question, and the answer lies in the intensity required to stress the bone enough to maintain its density

How can EMS fitness help?

Electrical muscle stimulation personal training is a unique offering for many reasons that we’ve been covering throughout our blogs, but one reason, in particular, is that EMS workouts are weight-bearing AND low-impact, AND as intense as you can handle.

EMS fitness is typically done with little to no weight, as the direct stimulation to the muscles is enough to elicit strength adaptations. Because of the advantage of the stimulation, heavy weights are not required to make significant progress in strength. However, if you enjoy utilizing heavier weights, your personal trainer can safely weave them into your session. 

Your personal trainer will make sure exercises are appropriate for your level, and then progressively increase intensities to continue to challenge you. The body only adapts when it’s presented with a challenge.

We’ve designed our electro-stimulation protocols to have a built-in progression, so even if you don’t feel like the exercises are harder, we got you covered!

A Note on Non-Weight Bearing Exercises: These Do Not Maintain Bone Density

Since we offered examples of weight-bearing exercises, we want to make sure you also see some non-weight bearing exercises. Don’t be fooled, there are forms of exercise that can be extremely tiring, yet still do not qualify as “weight bearing exercises” because they do not require you to support your own bodyweight. While we encourage you to get moving in any way possible, the following exercises will not help you maintain bone density.

Examples of Non-Weight Bearing Exercise (do not maintain bone density):

Swimming: Although swimming has many benefits such as keeping your core and back strong and endurant, and forcing your shoulders to move through a lot of its range of motion, it is not a weight-bearing exercise. The water supports most of your weight, and even though water offers some resistance for your arms and legs, it is not enough to maintain bone density long-term. It is a great low-impact activity so it helps keep your joints safe. I would still recommend anybody to swim regularly, but not as the only activity.

Cycling/biking/Spinning: Another great low-impact activity that is also joint-friendly and will keep your joints healthy. Unfortunately, it is not considered weight-bearing no matter how intense your Soul Cycle instructor tells you to pedal. The pushups on the handlebar don’t count either. That said, I would also encourage you to spin or cycle if you enjoy it, but don’t expect these activities to do much for your bone density.

Water polo: I tried to play water polo in high school and I thought it was the hardest sport I ever played. I played for a total of 15 minutes and thought I was going to end up sinking to the bottom of the pool. It requires a lot of leg endurance to keep afloat and strength to throw the ball around, and yet, it is still not weight-bearing. 

Trampoline*: This one carries an asterisk because although the surface, by design, has a lot of give in order to make you bounce, it is not nearly as hard as the floor so bouncing for a bit will probably not be enough to maintain bone density. However, most trampoline classes and routines will have you bouncing for a while and for the most part are considered weight-bearing indeed.

If you are interested in learning more about EMS and how to gain strength and maintain your bone density, book a free consultation with me here: https://calendly.com/conradfitness/30min


Director of Education and Technology



Bodybuzz combines Certified Personal Training with Electrical Muscle Stimulation, giving your body a deeper, safer, and more effective workout. 20 minutes twice a week is all it takes!

Our personal trainers will guide you through a custom EMS workout designed specifically for you. Whether you’re looking to build strength, lose weight, get toned, or recover from an injury or illness, we offer a safe, low-impact solution to help get you there.

EMS has now been FDA-cleared for use in the US and we are proud to be one of the first companies to introduce this technology. It is a full-body workout that uses a special muscle-stimulating EMS suit that sends low-level impulses to your major muscle groups to trigger muscle contractions. It’s a unique sensation that is painless and invigorating. EMS workouts are designed to achieve optimal conditioning, burn fat, develop strength, build muscle, tighten skin, combat cellulite, jump-start your metabolism, and restore your body’s natural balance.