Osteoporosis Exercises for Spine Strength | 2 Physical Therapy Exercises

Osteoporosis exercises for spine strength and posture at home with Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway.

These 2 osteoporosis and osteopenia exercises help you safely strengthen spinal muscles and improve posture to reduce the risk of spinal fracture. These osteoporosis exercises for spine strength are suitable for most individuals with osteopenia and mild osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis exercises should be pain free during and after exercise. Cease exercises that cause physical discomfort.

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Physiotherapist-guided pelvic floor safe exercise workout.

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Physiotherapist-guided exercises & techniques that:

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Osteoporosis Exercises for Spine Timestamps

0:17 Osteopenia and osteoporosis exercises for spine strength
1:32 Spinal extension exercise
3:10 Prone alternating arm and leg raises
4:56 Number of spine exercises for osteoporosis

Osteoporosis Exercises for Spine Strength and Posture

Osteoporosis and osteopenia exercises for spine strength include strengthening exercises for the spinal extensor muscles and postural muscles. Physiotherapy strength-training exercise that are structured to target the spinal and postural muscles are indicated for osteoporosis treatment to improve and preserve bone mass1.

There are two ways that strength exercises for the spine can assist with osteoporosis management.

1. Improved Posture

Strengthening the muscles of the upper and middle back can improve posture. Good upright posture is important for reducing loading on the spinal vertebra.

Slumped forward rounded shoulder posture increases the compression forces acting on the vertebra in the upper and middle back which can result in osteoporosis wedge fractures in the spine (shown below).

Osteoporosis Wedge (Compression) Fracture

2. Bone Loading

Spinal extension exercises can load the spinal vertebra. Bone loading through structured resistance or strength training exercises is one method of increasing and maintaining bone density. Bone cells called osteoblasts lay down new bone in direct response to appropriate bone loading.

No. 1 Osteoporosis Exercise for Spine Strength

Spinal extension exercises have been reported to improve spinal extensor strength and quality of life in women with osteoporosis2. This prone extension exercise strengthens the spinal extensor muscles in the lower back and the postural muscles in the middle back. Posture correction exercises can reduce the risk of osteoporosis wedge fractures in the thoracic spine (upper and middle back).

Spine Extension Exercise

  • Commence lying down prone on your belly
  • Use 1-2 pillows to support the hips and pelvis
  • Both feet remain in contact with the ground throughout this exercise
  • Slowly raise your chest and shoulders just off the ground
  • Keep exercise movement slow and smooth
  • Avoiding overarching (hyperextending) the lower spine as you extend backwards
  • Keep the chin tucked throughout
  • Lower your chest and shoulders slowly back down to the ground

No. 2 Osteoporosis Exercise for Spine Strength

The alternating arm and leg raise exercises strengthens some of the spinal muscles including lower back muscles and upper/middle back muscles that help to promote good upright posture.

Alternating Arm and Leg Exercise

Beginners Modified Exercise

  • Start lying prone using 1-2 pillows placed beneath the hips and pelvis for comfort
  • Rest the forehead down to touch the supporting surface
  • Slowly raise one leg held straight backwards lifting the thigh just off the ground
  • Slowly lower this leg back down
  • Repeat this same action with the other leg

Exercise Progression

  • Raise one leg backwards lifting the thigh just off the ground
  • Simultaneously raise the opposite arm
  • Keep the forehead in contact with the ground
  • Avoid raising the arm and leg too high to avoid hyperextending the lower back
  • Lower the leg and arm down to the ground
  • Repeat this extension exercise with the same alternate arm and leg

Number of Osteoporosis Exercises for Spine Strength

Spinal extension exercises can be repeated up to 10 times in a row, 1-2 times daily. Keep the number of osteoporosis and osteopenia exercises within your range of personal comfort.

Research suggests that incorporating a range of different osteoporosis exercises performed 2-3 times/week is most effective for improving bone health3.

More Osteoporosis Exercises

2 Osteoporosis Exercises for Hips at Home (Video)| Prolapse Safe

Osteoporosis Exercises for Core Strength


  1. Bennell, K., Khan, K. & McKay, H. (2000). The role of physiotherapy in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. MANUAL THERAPY, 5(4), pp. 198-213. doi:10.1054/math.2000.0369 https://doi.org/10.1054/math.2000.0369
  2. Hongo, M., Itoi, E., Sinaki, M. et al. Effect of low-intensity back exercise on quality of life and back extensor strength in patients with osteoporosis: a randomized controlled trial. Osteoporos Int 18, 1389–1395 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-007-0398-9
  3. Pinheiro, M.B., Oliveira, J., Bauman, A. et al. Evidence on physical activity and osteoporosis prevention for people aged 65+ years: a systematic review to inform the WHO guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 17, 150 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-020-01040-4
  4. Spinal wedge fracture image By BruceBlaus. Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014”. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29849178

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