Weight Vests: Using “Hypergravity” to Strengthen Bones

by Mary Jo Gustin, DC

At Pacific Coast Sports Medicine, we take bone health seriously. Our innovative, one-of-a-kind osteoporosis prevention and reversal program, OsteoBlast, utilizes various modalities that increase bone density while minimizing risk of fracture.

A new addition to our OsteoBlast bone-building program is the weight vest.  While weight vests are not a new invention in the world of sports performace—being used by athletes for many years to improve strength, speed and agility in sports—we have integrated weight vests with our whole body vibration therapy so our patients can experience “hypergravity.”

Two core components of any bone-building program are gravity and weight-bearing exercise on a regular basis. The forces and loads placed on our bones while performing these weight-bearing activities—like running and resistance training—are required in order for the inner part of bones where the trabeculae are developed to become denser.  Without this weighted pressure, bones do not efficiently sense the need to replace themselves when they wear out.

In order to increase the effectiveness of our vibration therapy modality, Power Plate, we are now directing certain users to don a gravity vest, thereby enhancing the effect of gravity by increasing the weight to the body.  “Hypergravity” simply means adding weight to the body.

The vest includes small weights that are easily removable so the amount any individual uses varies and is based on patient tolerance to a maximum of 10% of body weight.  This allows us to increase the amount of gravity the individual experiences without needing to increase the velocity of the platform movements.  Even though the Power Plate is extremely safe to use and has few contraindications, the gravity vest adds one more margin of safety to our program.

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