What Exercises To Do With Osteoporosis? Hip Hinge… Lunge Series…

Today, I want to talk about osteoporosis. I started talking about this a couple of weeks ago, and I went over the contraindications of osteoporosis in a Pilates mat class. I want to go over that a little bit, but I want to build on that a little bit as well, because I’d spent more time talking about what not to do that time. Now, I’m going to spend a little bit more time talking about what to do. But let’s review what not to do.

If you have a diagnosis of osteoporosis, and your bones are demineralized, or they have less density within the vertebra of the spine. What you want to avoid in general is flexion, bending forward. So you want to avoid crunches. You want to avoid situps. You want to avoid doing the hundred in Pilates. You want to avoid Teaser in Pilates. You want to avoid rounding down to touch your toes. Again, these are things that you want to avoid because of the demineralization and the wedging of the vertebra where you can then fracture the vertebra fairly easily.

Now, I don’t want to scare you, but it’s one of those things that this is the one time where you have a brittle back. If you have osteoporosis, we want to be cautious, and we want to avoid those things that are going to be detrimental because what happens is you don’t know … Osteoporosis, you never know the severity of it. Until you have a fractured vertebra, and you’re out of commission for eight to 12 weeks. Until then, you don’t even know it’s a big deal, so we want to teach you some things to prevent that from happening.

Now, the next thing I want to talk about is what to do, and what to do is weight-bearing, bone-building exercises. What do I mean by weight bearing? Your body weight. The most important one is standing and working in this way. Now, I’m going to go on a little tangent here for a second. I had a patient recently went to her doctor, and her doctor … She told her doctor she was going to start coming in here to do some Pilates and some strengthening with me, and her doctor said, “No, don’t go to physical therapy, go to aquatic therapy.” where in water, you’re unweighted. So I don’t understand that idea. You want to be doing weight-bearing exercises.

Let’s go into what to do with having someone with osteoporosis, some simple-bone building, weight-bearing exercises. So come on over Jared. We got Dr. Jared in the house today, and what we’re going to do is we’re going to use this simple little dowel. It’s a wooden dowel. It’s about five bucks at Home Depot. But guess what else you can use, a simple broomstick or a golf club or whatever. So hold this behind your back, Jared, and I want you to hold it to where your fist is in this position like that.

Like this?

Yeah, that’s right. Now, in that position like that, what’s going on here is we’ve got a little bit of feedback for Jared so that he knows where his spine is in space. So now, I want you to turn and face me, and now in that position, perfect. What I want you to do is I want you to show him a hip hinge, and what this is-

Give me a bad one.

Let’s show him a bad one first. Okay, so this is a bad thing that you want to avoid. He’s just moving and bending his spine, so that’s the flexion that I was referencing earlier that we want to avoid. Now, show them a hip hinge of what should happen where the hips in the butt move. Yes. There we go. Now, bend … Yep, that’s right. So now, show them what they should do when it goes time to sit to stand, if they’re going to sit down in a chair.

Like a lunge?

Yeah. Not a lunge, but just like they’re going to sit … Let’s say a chair is right behind you.


There’s not, but let’s just say you’re going to sit on that chair.

Make sure there’s not …

Yeah, there we go. So there, it’s a little bit of like, let’s take that same hip hinge of going down to a chair, okay? So with that stick, it’s keeping the whole spine straight. He’s keeping the back in a good neutral position, and he’s able to do some bone building of the hip and spine.

All right.

Now, scoot back just a tiny bit more and face the camera, and let’s go through a little lunge series now. So with the lunge series, the … Yeah, there we go. The stick’s right behind the back still, again, for feedback. If we’re flexing away … There goes Dudley… If we’re flexing away from that stick, it’s pretty apparent and pretty noticeable. So what I recommend to do is about 20 reps of the hip hinge, the way he first showed it. Then do 20 reps of the hip hinge going down to a chair and then do 20 reps of the lunge each of those, and we’ll say two sets of 10. He kind of ooh-ed when I said, “20.”


Let me get this back up. There we go. So with that said, those are just some simple things that you can do at home with a broomstick. You got something laying around like that. Come here, Dudley. If you don’t have anything, again, $3, $5 at Home Depot, at Lowe’s or whatever.

Or find a stick out of the woods.

That’s right, but make sure it’s not too crooked like your spine.

Ooh, shots fired.

So with that said, if you have been told you have osteoporosis, what has your doctor told you to do to help it other than give you Boniva or give you medications? I’d be curious. Put in the comments below what you’ve done or what has been helpful for your osteoporosis situation. I have a lady now. I’ll tell a quick story, and then we’ll wrap it up. I had a lady that I’ve been seeing for PT. She came and saw me the first summer we opened 13 years ago. Since then, she’s been doing our Pilates classes I’d say once a week while she was working.

Then now that she’s retired, probably twice a week, maybe three times a week for the last, say, five years. But what’s happened is that she used to have osteoporosis on Boniva or whatever … Fosamax or whatever. I can’t remember. Then what happened over the course of a few years is she was osteoporotic … osteopenia, excuse me. She went from osteoporosis to osteopenia, which is better than osteoporosis. Osteopenia is that you’re getting close to osteoporosis. Then she stopped. Over the next five years, she was able to get off of all of her medication.

Now, she’s no longer on medications at all for osteoporosis. She has a little osteopenia in one hip. The other hip has cleared up, and the thoracic vertebra has cleared up. So, this is a 13-year process though. I’m not saying this was immediate, and this didn’t … The changes that she saw took many, many, many, many years of commitment to doing weight-bearing exercises and learning what to do and how to do it right.

So with that said, get your weight bearing on, go practice these exercises, and let us know in the comments what you think, and if these are any help to you. All right, guys. You all have a fantastic weekend, and we’ll see you all next week. Bye now.

Call 512-215-4227 to tell us about your Osteoporosis journey! We will listen and hear you… and then offer the best next step for your specific condition…

Co-Owner / Physical Therapist at CORE Therapy and Pilates
Stephen Dunn, a pioneer in physical therapy, merges Pilates and Gyrotonic approaches with hands-on therapy for comprehensive injury prevention and rehabilitation. His innovative methods prioritize holistic well-being.
Stephen Dunn
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