How to Strengthen Tendons and Ligaments

Strong tendons and ligaments are necessary for bodybuilding and sports that involve stress on your joints. Efforts to strengthen must progress slowly and carefully. A program that plunges into muscle development or mass building without allowing ample time for supportive structures to gain strength can lead to serious injury.

A woman is training with a resistance band. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Dense Connective Tissues

Tendons and ligaments are dense connective tissues made of collagen or elastic fibers that run parallel to each other, creating strong cords. Tendons attach muscles to bone. Ligaments connect bone to bone to form joints -- such as knees, elbows, hips and ankles.

Tendon and Ligament Adaptation

Muscle contractions stimulate your tendons and ligaments to become stronger and to grow in thickness. But it takes time, as these connective tissues are less metabolically active than muscles. It takes approximately 10 weeks of regular resistance exercise to strengthen your tendons, and it takes longer for them to thicken. You can expect up to 20 percent increase in strength and thickness of your ligaments and tendons with regular training.

Prevent Injury to Ligaments and Tendons

Prevent injury during your workout by always warming up with five to 10 minutes of aerobics or low-intensity resistance training. Allow your body to recover for 48 hours before working the same muscle groups. Consult a professional trainer or coach for personal training recommendations.

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