Teach core exercises that are appropriate for people who have osteoporosis.
Exercise guidelines call for people with osteoporosis to avoid flexing or twisting the spine (National Osteoporosis Foundation 2015). This makes training the core a little more challenging. Planks (side and prone) and bridges are both great options, but they can get boring. The exercises below safely target the core without spinal flexion or twisting.
Stand sideways to wall, hands centered on stability ball. Arms are straight, at shoulder level. Press hands into ball, and tap each foot back (alternate).
- Press hands into ball consistently.
- Lead with hips, and lengthen spine.
- Keep shoulders down.
Regression: Use beach ball or small, soft ball.
Progression: Share one ball with partner. Instead of tapping feet, do alternating reverse lunges.
Change it up:
- Partners stand at right angles. Partner 1 holds arms at shoulder level, palms together. Partner 2 places hands against back of partner’s hands and applies pressure. Partner 1 taps feet, applying principles and cues from above.
- Perform partner move with resistance tubing.
- Change direction of foot tap: Tap to side or diagonally front or back.
Anchor or share tubing with partner. Both partners face same direction. Stand so that tube is taut; arms are shoulder level, straight in front, centered in middle of chest. Make circles with tubing, away from partner.
- Maintain taut tube.
- Keep lower body still, knees slightly bent.
Regression: Only one person makes circles.
Progression: Stand on one foot.
Change it up: Change tempo (fast or slow).
Wood Chop Variations
Modify regular standing medicine ball chops by performing them without lower- body movement. Hold medicine ball with both arms above right shoulder, and pull on diagonal across body to left hip.
Cues: Keep lower body still, knees slightly bent.
Regression: Perform with hands together, no ball.
Stand on one foot. Perform move explosively.
Change it up:
- Perform same move with partner and tubing.
- Start with ball at hip and pull up and across diagonally.
- Vary tempo (fast or slow).
Lie supine, legs straight in air, perpendicular to floor. Hold medicine ball with both arms straight, centered over chest. Keep spine neutral, and lower one leg toward ground, moving ball across body to opposite leg.
- Keep head on ground.
- Do not allow back to flex or extend.
Regression: Do movement without ball, or with bent knees.
Progression: Move ball to same side of body as leg. Lower both legs toward ground (only as far as neutral spine can be maintained); hold legs still and move ball side to side.
Change it up: Hold ball in R hand, arm extended close to ground above head, palm facing up. Keep arm still and lower L leg.
Resistive Dead Bug (not pictured)
Lie on back, knees in tabletop. Place R hand on L thigh. Use R hand to apply resistance against L thigh. Keep L arm straight in air above shoulder. Maintain hand pressure and neutral spine, and lower R foot toward ground.
Cue: Lower leg only as far as neutral spine can be maintained.
- Keep L foot on ground while applying resistance with R hand.
- Place beach ball or soft ball on L thigh if it is too hard for student to reach thigh with R hand. Push into ball with R hand; hold ball on L thigh while R leg moves.
Progression: Perform with both legs straight.