8 Osteoporosis Exercises for the Gym

Many gym osteoporosis exercises are excellent for building bone strength, improving balance and strengthening muscle. A well designed gym exercise program incorporates weight bearing exercises and strength training for osteoporosis. However, certain exercises, when done improperly, can increase your risk of fracture.

In the video, I demonstrate 8 gym and weight bearing exercises, and how they should be performed to maximize bone building while reducing risk of fracture.

Eight Exercises for Osteoporosis

  1. Lat Pull Down:  I demonstrate both the wide grip and reverse narrow grip lat pull down. These are excellent weight training exercises. A couple of points: First, with the lat pull down you need to pay attention to the bench height. Many times the bench height has been set higher for men and you will need to make the appropriate adjustments. Second, avoid drawing the bar down behind your neck. This is bad and can cause stress on the neck and the shoulders and can increase the amount of flexion in the back.
  2. Preacher Curl and Standing Biceps Curl: The Preacher Curl puts the spine into a compromised position and can increase flexion. This curl should be avoided. Instead I recommend the Standing Biceps Curl. The biceps curl is a great weight training exercise.
  3. Rowing Machine: The Rowing machine is a great cardiovascular weight bearing exercise. I demonstrate how to set up and execute the row.
  4. Leg Press: A nice alternative to the squat and a great weight training exercise. You need to pay special attention to the seat arrangement to make sure you are not leaning forward and make sure you maintain good alignment and posture throughout the exercise.
  5. Tricep Cable Pull Down: This is an excellent weight training exercise and a great alternative to tricep extensions on the floor or on the ball.  Pay attention to your alignment, isolate the triceps and try to avoid overloading the weight.
  6. Elliptical Trainer: The elliptical trainer provides a great cardiovascular exercise workout and is an excellent weight bearing exercise. Make sure you avoid leaning forward as you hold the upright bars. Keep your posture perfect.
  7. Chest Press: The chest press is an alternative to the push up and a weight bearing exercise. However, it can compromise your posture. There are a few modifications you need to be aware of: keep your alignment, do not let your elbows come back past your shoulders and push forward with your arms and chest – not your abdominals.
  8. Free Weights: Free weights are a weight bearing exercise. However, you must handle the free weights with proper body mechanics. In the video I demonstrate some important tips on handling free weights.

If you follow these guidelines you will improve your bone health (and overall health) while practicing safe exercise habits. For a more comprehensive osteoporosis exercise program, I encourage you to consult the MelioGuide Exercise for Better Bones program. Good luck with the gym exercises for osteoporosis!


  1. Pat Heydon says

    Hi Margaret & Richard,
    Just wanted to let you know that the web site looks awesome! I liked the gym equipment workout tips…
    Question about bicept curl – you suggest putting one foot on a bench – why? I could probably guess but wanted to know your thoughts.
    I also liked the final tip on putting the weights away and the idea that the exercise (and posture considerations) don’t end until the weights are put away.
    Sorry I missed you at ball class – my hips are in bad shape and we leave Tuesday for NZ…

  2. Jill Seviour says

    Hi Margaret,
    Great video… so practical and well explained. I hope you took time out to relax in Bermuda or is that word not in your vocabulary?

  3. says

    Hi Pat,
    Thanks to your very significant contribution we have been able to upgrade the site.
    As far as the bicep curl, when you are lifting heavier weights, 80% plus of your maximum, placing one foot up takes some of the strain off your low back without reducing the weight training benefit. This concept is similar to placing a foot up when ironing (an activity I try to avoid), doing meal preparation etc. as demonstrated in all the “daily activities” – which you also so graciously modeled for! Have a wonderful trip. Remember to bring our hiking poles!

  4. says

    HI Jill,
    It is great to know the videos are being seen across the East Coast! Our vacation was in the Bahamas and we had a terrific time – replenished my Vitamin D levels!
    Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback. You have a place to stay if you decide to visit Ottawa.

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