Weight Bearing Exercises; What Are They? + 40 Exercises To Try

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Weight bearing exercises are a crucial component of any well-rounded fitness routine. These exercises involve supporting your body weight through your bones and joints, helping to strengthen them and improve overall bone density. In this article, we will explore what weight bearing exercises are, their benefits, and provide a comprehensive list of 40 exercises to try.

What Are Weight Bearing Exercises?

Weight bearing exercises, also known as weight-bearing or load-bearing exercises, are activities that require you to support your own body weight through your bones and joints. These exercises stimulate the bones, muscles, and connective tissues, promoting bone growth, and helping to prevent osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weak and brittle bones.

Examples of weight bearing exercises include walking, running, dancing, jumping rope, hiking, and stair climbing. However, it’s important to note that not all exercises are weight bearing. Non-weight bearing exercises, such as swimming and cycling, do not put direct stress on the bones and joints, and therefore do not provide the same bone-strengthening benefits.

The Benefits of Weight Bearing Exercises

Weight bearing exercises offer a myriad of benefits beyond just improving bone health. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key advantages:

  1. Increased Bone Density: Weight bearing exercises place stress on the bones, stimulating bone growth and increasing bone density. This is particularly important for individuals at risk of osteoporosis or those looking to maintain healthy bones as they age.
  2. Improved Muscle Strength: Weight bearing exercises engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, helping to build overall strength and stability. This can enhance athletic performance and reduce the risk of injuries.
  3. Enhanced Balance and Coordination: Weight bearing exercises require coordination and balance, as your body weight must be properly distributed. Regular practice can improve proprioception and reduce the risk of falls, especially in older adults.
  4. Weight Management: Weight bearing exercises burn calories and help maintain a healthy weight. When combined with a balanced diet, these exercises can contribute to weight loss and body composition improvements.
  5. Cardiovascular Health: Many weight bearing exercises, such as running and hiking, elevate the heart rate and provide cardiovascular benefits. Regular aerobic activity improves heart health, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

40 Weight Bearing Exercises to Try

Now that we understand the importance and benefits of weight bearing exercises, let’s explore a variety of exercises you can incorporate into your fitness routine. These exercises target different muscle groups and can be modified to suit various fitness levels:

Upper Body Weight Bearing Exercises

  1. Push-ups
  2. Plank
  3. Tricep dips
  4. Bear crawl
  5. Burpees
  6. Mountain climbers
  7. Handstand push-ups
  8. Bench press
  9. Shoulder press
  10. Renegade rows

Lower Body Weight Bearing Exercises

  1. Squats
  2. Lunges
  3. Step-ups
  4. Deadlifts
  5. Calf raises
  6. Box jumps
  7. Wall sits
  8. Bulgarian split squats
  9. Glute bridges
  10. Hamstring curls

Full Body Weight Bearing Exercises

  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Burpees
  3. High knees
  4. Tuck jumps
  5. Medicine ball slams
  6. Battle ropes
  7. Kettlebell swings
  8. Thrusters
  9. Clean and press
  10. Treadmill sprints

Incorporate a mix of these exercises into your routine to work out different muscle groups and achieve a well-rounded workout.


Q: Are weight bearing exercises suitable for everyone?
A: Weight bearing exercises can be beneficial for most individuals, but it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or injuries.

Q: How often should I perform weight bearing exercises?
A: It is recommended to engage in weight bearing exercises at least 3-4 times a week for optimal bone health and overall fitness. However, listen to your body and adjust the frequency based on your individual needs and goals.

Q: Can weight bearing exercises help with weight loss?
A: Yes, weight bearing exercises can contribute to weight loss when combined with a balanced diet and calorie deficit. These exercises burn calories and help build muscle, which can increase metabolism and aid in weight management.

Q: Can weight bearing exercises improve posture?
A: Yes, weight bearing exercises that target core and back muscles can help improve posture by strengthening the muscles that support the spine and promote proper alignment.

Q: Can weight bearing exercises prevent osteoporosis?
A: Yes, weight bearing exercises are known to stimulate bone growth and increase bone density, which can help prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures.

Q: Can I do weight bearing exercises at home?
A: Absolutely! Many weight bearing exercises can be performed at home with little to no equipment. Bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups are excellent options. You can also incorporate household items, such as water bottles or resistance bands, for added resistance.

Q: Should I consult a fitness professional before starting weight bearing exercises?
A: It is always a good idea to seek guidance from a qualified fitness professional, especially if you are new to exercise or have specific goals or concerns. They can help design a safe and effective program tailored to your needs.

By incorporating weight bearing exercises into your fitness routine, you can reap the numerous benefits they offer, from stronger bones and muscles to improved balance and overall health. Start slowly, listen to your body, and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts for long-term success.

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