The femoral neck, which is located near the top of the femur bone, is especially susceptible to fractures due to osteoporosis because it is the weakest part of the femur. Resistance exercises targeting the femoral neck and the surrounding muscles and connective tissues can help strengthen the bone and, thereby, decrease your risk for fractures. According to the Johns Hopkins Health Alerts website, these benefits are available even to seniors with osteoporosis. Visit your physician, however, before beginning an exercise program to discuss your individual circumstances and needs.
The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that the weighted squat is one of the most effective exercises for strengthening the femoral neck. It targets the hip and knee extensor muscles, including the gluteus maximus, hamstrings and quadriceps. Stand upright with your feet at least shoulder-width apart and toes directed forward. Hold dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing inward. Slowly squat down, flexing both your hips and knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then stand back up and repeat. Keep your spine straight throughout the movement. You can also wear a weighted vest instead of holding dumbbells.
Weighted marches strengthen the femoral neck through hip flexion and extension ranges of motion. The exercise targets the hip flexor muscles. While wearing ankle weights, stand upright with your feet 6 to 12 inches apart and toes pointed forward. Slowly lift your left leg to waist height, allowing your knee to flex to about 90 degrees. Place your foot back on the floor and repeat with your right leg. Continue alternating legs for your desired number of repetitions. You can also walk forward with each step if desired. Progressively increase the amount of weight over time.
Hip Abduction and Adduction
Hip abduction occurs when you move your leg sideways, away from your body, and hip adduction occurs when you move it back toward the center of your body. The muscles that facilitate these movements surround the femoral neck. To strengthen these muscles, lie on your left side with your legs extended and stacked -- right leg on top of left leg. Rest your head on top of your left arm. First, repeatedly lift your right leg 12 to 18 inches and lower it back down. Then, slide your left leg forward slightly and repeatedly lift and lower it, crossing it in front of your right leg. Do not allow your legs to rotate during either exercise. Perform the exercises with the opposite leg as well, while lying on your right side.
- "Basic Biomechanics"; Susan J. Hall; 2007
- MayoClinic.com: Osteoporosis
- American College of Sports Medicine: Strength Training Increases Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal Women
- American Council on Exercise: Side-Lying Hip Abduction
- American Council on Exercise: Side-Lying Hip Adduction
- Johns Hopkins Health Alerts: Osteoporosis Special Report