10 Easy Core Exercises for Osteoporosis to Supercharge Your Bone Health Journey

Updated: January 12, 2024

Core exercise

Brace yourself. Today, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. A secret that will revolutionize the way you think about building and maintaining a strong core. 

Here’s the deal, you absolutely can transform your core and protect your precious spine  even if you have osteoporosis. Join me as I reveal the 10 quick and easy moves that will help you do just that. 

Now let me tell you, these moves aren’t just about your core. They’ll also rev up your mobility, strengthen your lower body, and set those glutes ablaze! Here’s the best part: all of these exercises can be completed in a mere minute. Yep, you heard me right. A measly minute! 

And all from the comfort of your home. Plus, our core exercises for osteoporosis include seated and standing moves. So if you have difficulty getting down on the ground, we’ve got you covered.

So what are you waiting for? Get ready to transform your core and reclaim your strength, one minute at a time!

How Core Exercises Differ From Abdominal Strengthening Exercises

Let’s clear up a common confusion. You see, the term ‘core exercises’ often gets mixed up with all abdominal strengthening exercises. But here’s the deal — core exercises go beyond just the abs. They target the muscles surrounding your core, including the abdominals, spinal muscles, and pelvic floor [1][2].

Now, here’s the thing, especially if you’re dealing with osteoporosis. Some intense abdominal strengthening exercises, especially those that focus on the upper abs, can put added strain on your spine and pelvic floor [3]. And that’s a big no-no. We don’t want to add fuel to the fire.

So, when it comes to core exercises for osteoporosis, we need to be smart. We want to work those abdominal and spinal muscles without rounding the upper back or twisting and flexing the spine.

There’s no need to turn ourselves into human pretzels. After all, we’re not looking to audition for Cirque du Soleil here! It’s about improving your core while avoiding any unnecessary strain so you can keep your spine happy and healthy.

So the moves you need to avoid when you have osteoporosis include:

  • Abdominal curls or sit-up exercises
  • Crunches (side crunches or lateral bends)
  • Reverse crunches (legs raised and buttocks lifted)
  • Double leg raise exercises (e.g. “bike legs” and “The Hundred” – a Pilates move)

These movements have the power to overload those delicate vertebrae in your spine, leading to those dreaded spinal fractures [4].

The Bone Health Benefits of Core Strength

Core exercises can help the management of osteoporosis by:

  • Improving balance
  • Reducing the risk of lower back pain
  • Improving spinal strength and support
  • Improving pelvic strength and support
  • Making everyday activities easier to perform

Plus, they help improve upright posture [5]. And in the words of Joseph Pilates, “Good posture is the key to good health and ultimate confidence.”  

And who couldn’t use a little extra confidence? The confidence to embrace your body. The confidence to feel in charge of your health. And the confidence to enjoy activities trusting your body’s strength will support you. 

That’s why we love core exercises. These moves can help you stay active and independent so you can keep doing the fun things you’ve always enjoyed. 

In fact, research shows having a strong core reduces the incidence of falls from loss of balance [6][7][8]. And you know what that means. Better balance results in a reduction in the risk of a fall and fracture.

Now let me share with you a fascinating study conducted by Japanese researchers. It revealed a significant finding: elderly women who experienced back pain and falls had notably weaker abdominal strength compared to their counterparts who didn’t suffer from back pain or a history of falls.

Their paper stated:

“Previous studies have indicated that trunk muscle strength decreases with chronic low back pain, and is associated with poor balance, poor functional performance, and falls in older adults. Strengthening exercises for chronic low back pain are considered the most effective intervention to improve functional outcomes [9].”

Increasing your core strength provides the stability you need to maintain your balance during movement [10][11][12].  So you can stay active and independent and keep doing the fun things you’ve always enjoyed.

planking core exercise

The Key to Unlocking Your Core’s Power

Alright, listen up, I’ve got a golden nugget of wisdom to share with you. It’s all about the transverse abdominis (TVA), the hidden gem that holds the key to a rock-solid core [13][14]. This bad boy is no joke. We’re talking about the deepest, most powerful muscle in your abs, the one that plays a crucial role in keeping your core rock solid.

Picture this: the TVA is like a fortress, a fortified wall protecting your lower back and supporting your abdomen. It’s nature’s way of giving you a built-in corset, ensuring stability and strength when you need it most. But wait, there’s more! 

The TVA doesn’t work alone. It teams up with the internal and external obliques, those awesome muscles flanking your abdomen, to create a dream team of core power [15][16].  They’re like the Batman and Robin of your abs, making magic happen! 

When they’re strong they provide stability to your lumbar and lower thoracic spine. And let me tell you, that stability is a game-changer. It helps reduce pesky lower back pain that can really cramp your style [17][18].

These mighty muscles also play a key role in maintaining your balance during movement. As you know, better balance means a lower risk of nasty falls that could lead to fractures.

core exercise

 How To Activate Your Core Abdominal Muscles

Now, pay close attention because I’m about to reveal a game-changing technique to target that TVA muscle. Imagine yourself zipping up a pair of skin-tight jeans. Feel that sensation as you draw your belly button towards your spine, engaging your TVA like never before. 

It’s like a magical tightening, cinching everything in and giving you that extra oomph. Exercises that are particularly good at targeting the TVA include the plank, table top march, and modified bird dog — all featured below. And they’re ALL super easy.

You can’t get more simple than the plank. It’s like having a really intense staring contest with the floor! But don’t underestimate any of these moves because they’ll pack a punch that’ll knock your socks off. 

Each exercise in this post is specifically designed to boost the muscular strength of your transverse abdominis and internal and external oblique muscles. This increased load, over time, improves bone density by helping your bones become more weight bearing.

You’ll love how easy it is to strengthen your core and improve your mobility and bone health with these moves!

Guidelines For Safe Core Exercises

But first, let’s cover a few basic guidelines.

  • Be gentle and listen to what your body tells you.
  • Avoid any movements that cause or increase pain.
  • Avoid rounding the spine — keep it in a neutral position.

Now let’s dive into some core strengthening techniques. To perform these moves you’ll need a yoga mat and a timer. Also, you’ll need a chair to perform a few of these exercises. You’ve got this!

10 Core Exercises for Osteoporosis

1. Forearm Plank – 2 Versions
  1. Get down on your forearms, keep your palms facing up, and lower your body. Next, rest on your knees, drop your hips down, and tuck your tailbone. You should feel your core engage.  
  2. Push down with your arms and then pull in as if you’re going to pull the mat together. And this should help you activate your core. From there you can extend one leg or both legs.
  3. Pick the appropriate version for you. Then go ahead and do that for 20 seconds. Make sure you’re breathing in and out. Push your heels back into an imaginary wall. 
  4. Take a 20 second rest. You can lie on your belly, just bring your hands down. You can shift your hips a little bit from side to side. Just make sure to breathe. 
  5. Now do the plank again for 20 seconds. And remember you can always go down onto your knees. Just make sure that your back doesn’t curve and that your belly stays pulled in. And keep your tailbone tucked. 
2. Side Plank — 3 Versions
  1. Lie on your side and prop yourself up on your forearm. Your shoulder should be positioned a little bit over your elbow. Keep your hand at a slight angle. Your hips and knees should be stacked on top of each other. 
  2. Now lift your hips up. Think of this move as creating a little bridge underneath your abdomen. 
  3. From here you can lift your top leg out to the side. Or if you’re feeling spicy, you can straighten your legs, lift yourself up, and then raise your arm. 
  4. Pick the appropriate version for you. Then hold the position for 30 seconds on each side. 
  5. Make sure your belly stays strong and that your shoulders aren’t going up toward your ears. Keep lifting the hips up, breathe, and hold. Then lower the hips. Now we’ll do the same thing on the other side.
3. Table Top March
  1. Lie down and pretend like there’s a little piece of paper underneath your back. Press your lower back down onto that piece of paper like you’re smushing it down. You’re going to feel your abdominal muscles engage when you do that. 
  2. Continue pressing down towards the floor and keep your belly strong. Lift your legs up and bend your knees so it’s stacked right over your hips. 
  3. Keep your arms up, straighten one leg, and then the other. Don’t drive your knees toward your chest. 
  4. Straighten one leg, straighten the opposite arm, and then come up and repeat the movement. Do this exercise for one minute. Keep alternating sides as you go.
4. Bridge with a March
  1. Lie on your back, bend your knees, and plant your feet into the ground. Push your lower back down. Keep your belly strong, lift your hips, and then march one leg up. Then march the other leg.  
  2. You should feel your glutes engage when you lift up. Don’t let your hip shift from side to side. Imagine that you have a glass of water right on your abdomen and you don’t want that water to tip over. 
  3. Keep your belly button straight up towards the ceiling. Keep your glutes and belly strong. Make sure to breathe. 
  4. Now place your hands on your belly and lower down. Then do the windshield wiper leg movement from side to side. Do this move for one minute. 
  5. Then roll onto your side and press yourself up. 
5. Seated Ab Hold
  1. Sit at the edge of your chair. Cross your arms over your chest or extend them straight in front of you. And lean backward until you feel your abdominal muscles kick in. 
  2. Now hold that pose for one minute. Try to keep a nice, long spine and tuck your tailbone slightly so you can feel those core muscles kick in. 
  3. Make sure to breathe. And engage the belly muscles as you go back. You’ve got 20 more seconds. 
  4. If you want to make this a little more challenging, you can try to lift your legs up or lift one knee. 
  5. You can do this for 30 seconds and then the other knee for 30 seconds if you’d like.
6. Standing March
  1. Stand next to your chair and hold onto it for support. 
  2. Next, bring your knee up towards your chest. Bring it up and down. As you bring the leg up you’re working your core muscles. 
  3. Do this move for one minute. Focus on squeezing your core muscle. Pull your belly button up and in. 
  4. To make this more challenging, you can lift the arms up and try not to sway. So don’t move your hips from side to side. 
  5. Stay strong in your torso. Hold the pose for 15 more seconds. Pull the belly in. In addition to strengthening your core this move will help improve your balance.
7. Standing Side Bend
  1. Place your arms by your side. And slightly bend your knees. 
  2. Now lean to one side and then the other. This move will help engage the outside of your abdomen. 
  3. Remember, you’re just leaning straight to the side. So try not to bend backwards or hunch forward. Just stay tall as you move from one side to the other. 
  4. Pull your belly button up and in. And go down as far as you’re comfortable.
  5. To make this move a little more challenging you can hold weights in your hands as you bend from side to side. Do this move for one minute.
8. Modified Bird Dog
  1. This move is similar to a plank position. So you’re going to lean on your forearms. Then you’re going to lift one leg and then the other. 
  2. You can also lift one arm and the opposite leg as long as you’re on a stable surface. If a chair is too low for you, feel free to do this move on a higher surface like a counter. But if you decide to use a chair, make sure your chair is pushed up against a wall so it doesn’t move. 
  3. Hold the move for one minute. Avoid arching your spine, just keep everything nice and strong. 
  4. Another way to do this move is to prop yourself up using your hands instead of your forearms. 
  5. Then lift one leg and the other. You can also lift one leg as you raise the opposite arm. Repeat this move for a minute.
9. Mini Squat
  1. Hold onto the back of your chair and stick your butt back. Then squat and rise. This move will engage your core and butt muscles as you stand. 
  2. Do this move for one minute total.
10. Sit to Stand
  1. Stand in front of your chair. Pull your belly button up and in. Hold your arms out and lower your butt so that it touches the chair. 
  2. Squeeze your butt as you stand up. The faster you go, the more you’re going to work those core muscles. 
  3. You can do these as fast or as slow as is comfortable. You can use your arms to help push you out of the chair. 
  4. Do this for one minute. This move is great for improving your lower body strength while improving your core.

That wraps up our 10 best osteoporosis core strength exercises. Aim to do these moves three to five times a week to help:

  • Strengthen your core
  • Improve your posture
  • Protect your spine
  • Improve your mobility
  • Strengthen your lower body
  • Aid in stress reduction
  • Allow your bones to become more weight bearing

Remember, you can also improve your core by maintaining good posture and not being sedentary. So do your best to stay active throughout your day.


Engaging in core exercises is a simple and incredibly effective approach to building and sustaining a rock-solid core. And let me tell you, when you’re dealing with the challenging condition of osteoporosis, having a strong core becomes absolutely critical.

And just think of all the other benefits. A healthier spine, enhanced mobility, improved bone health and glutes that are firing on all cylinders. 

Navigating through life with grace and confidence, knowing that your core is there to support you every step of the way is all within your reach. It only takes a few minutes a day to transform your core and reclaim your strength.

For more information on bone health and healthy-living tips, sign up for our newsletter for regular tips and updates.


Is core exercise good for osteoporosis?

Yes, core exercises allow you to focus on strengthening your core while protecting your spine. They’ll also help improve your mobility, strengthen your lower body, and fire up those glutes.

What core exercises are safe for osteoporosis?

Safe core exercises are ones that don’t round the upper back or twist and flex your spine. Instead, they will boost the muscular strength of your transverse abdominis, internal and external oblique muscles while protecting your back.

What are the best ab exercises for osteoporosis of the spine?

Safe and effective exercises that engage your abdominal and spinal muscles without risking your spine’s health include:

  • The plank 
  • Table top march
  • Modified bird dog
  • Standing march
  • Standing side bend
What exercises should be avoided with osteoporosis?

If you have osteoporosis the abdominal exercises you need to avoid include:

  • Abdominal curls or sit-up exercises
  • Crunches (legs raised)
  • Reverse crunches (legs raised and buttocks lifted)
  • Double leg raise exercises (e.g. “bike legs” and “The Hundred” – a Pilates move)
Should you do crunches if you have osteoporosis?

Crunches, or sit-ups, involve forward flexion, which means bending forward. This forward bending motion puts unwanted pressure on the vertebrae in your spine. And that’s a recipe for fractures. We definitely don’t want that!


  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/multimedia/core-strength/sls-20076575#:
  2. https://www.physio-pedia.com/Core_Strengthening 
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/what-exercises-should-be-avoided-with-osteoporosis#situps-and-crunches 
  4. Setor K. Kunutsor, Sarah Leyland, Dawn A Skelton, Laura James, Matthew Cox, Nicola Gibbons, Julie Whitney, and Emma M. Clark, “Adverse events and safety issues associated with physical activity and exercise for adults with osteoporosis and osteopenia: A systematic review of observational studies and an updated review of interventional studies,” J Frailty Sarcopenia Falls. 2018 Dec; 3(4): 155–178, Published online 2018 Dec 1. doi: 10.22540/JFSF-03-155
  5. Noelle M. Selkow, PhD, ATC, Molly R. Eck, MS, ATC,1 and Stephen Rivas, MS, ATC1, “Transversus Abdominis Activation And Timing Improves Following Core Stability Training: A Randomized Trial,” Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2017 Dec; 12(7): 1048–1056., doi: 10.26603/ijspt20171048
  1. Dawn A Skelton, Karen L Barker, Emma M Clark, Sarah De Biase, Susanne Arnold, Zoe Paskins, Katie R Robinson, Rachel M Lewis, Jonathan H Tobias, Kate A Ward, Julie Whitney, Sarah Leyland, “Strong, steady and straight: UK consensus statement on physical activity and exercise for osteoporosis,” National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK
  2. Kwon-Young Kang, PhD, “Effects of core muscle stability training on the weight distribution and stability of the elderly,” J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Oct; 27(10): 3163–3165, Published online 2015 Oct 30. doi: 10.1589/jpts.27.3163
  3. Dae-Sik Ko, PT, PhD, Dae-In Jung, PT, PhD, and Mi-Ae Jeong, “Analysis of Core Stability Exercise Effect on the Physical and Psychological Function of Elderly Women Vulnerable to Falls during Obstacle Negotiation,” J Phys Ther Sci. 2014 Nov; 26(11): 1697–1700, Published online 2014 Nov 13. doi: 10.1589/jpts.26.1697
  4. Satoshi Kato, Hideki Murakami, Satoru Demura, Katsuhito Yoshioka, Kazuya Shinmura, Noriaki Yokogawa, Takashi Igarashi, Noritaka Yonezawa, Takaki Shimizu, and Hiroyuki Tsuchiya “Abdominal trunk muscle weakness and its association with chronic low back pain and risk of falling in older women,” BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2019; 20: 273., Published online 2019 Jun 3. doi: 10.1186/s12891-019-2655-4
  5. Dae-Sik Ko, PT, PhD, Dae-In Jung, PT, PhD, and Mi-Ae Jeong, “Analysis of Core Stability Exercise Effect on the Physical and Psychological Function of Elderly Women Vulnerable to Falls during Obstacle Negotiation,” J Phys Ther Sci. 2014 Nov; 26(11): 1697–1700., Published online 2014 Nov 13. doi: 10.1589/jpts.26.1697
  6. Zachary Smrcina, Sarah Woelfel, and Christopher Burcal, “A Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Core Stability Exercises in Patients with Non-Specific Low Back Pain,” Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2022; 17(5): 766–774., Published online 2022 Aug 1. doi: 10.26603/001c.37251
  7. Urs Granacher, Albert Gollhofer, Tibor Hortobagyi, Reto W. Kressig, Thomas Muehlbauer, “The Importance of Trunk Muscle Strength for Balance, Functional Performance, and Fall Prevention in Seniors: A Systematic Review,” April 2013 Sports Medicine 43(7), DOI:10.1007/s40279-013-0041-1 
  8. Shih-Lin Hsu, PTS, Harumi Oda, PTS, Saya Shirahata, PTS, Mana Watanabe, PTS, and Makoto Sasaki, PT, PhD, “Effects of core strength training on core stability,” J Phys Ther Sci. 2018 Aug; 30(8): 1014–1018. Published online 2018 Jul 24. doi: 10.1589/jpts.30.1014
  9. Richard Ferraro, PT, PhD, Sarah Garman, DPT, Rebecca Taylor, DPT, J. Scott Parrott, PhD, and Jennifer Kadlowec, PhD, “The effectiveness of transverse abdominis training on balance, postural sway and core muscle recruitment patterns: a pilot study comparison across age groups,” J Phys Ther Sci. 2019 Sep; 31(9): 729–737., Published online 2019 Sep 5. doi: 10.1589/jpts.31.729
  10. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/21755-abdominal-muscles
  11. Seo-Yoon Park, Seunghue Oh, Ki-Hyun Baek, Sung-Soo Bae, Jung-Won Kwon, “Comparison of Abdominal Muscle Thickness between the Abdominal Draw-in Maneuver and Maximum Abdominal Contraction Maneuver,” Healthcare (Basel). 2022 Feb; 10(2): 251., Published online 2022 Jan 28. doi: 10.3390/healthcare10020251
  12. Noelle M. Selkow, PhD, ATC, Molly R. Eck, MS, ATC,1 and Stephen Rivas, MS, ATC1, “Transversus Abdominis Activation And Timing Improves Following Core Stability Training: A Randomized Trial,” Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2017 Dec; 12(7): 1048–1056., doi: 10.26603/ijspt20171048  
  13. Christine Lynders PT, OCS, CAFS, “The Critical Role of Development of the Transversus Abdominis in the Prevention and Treatment of Low Back Pain,” Rehabilitation And Musculoskeletal Health / Commentary, Open Access, Published: 29 August 2019

Article Comments

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  1. Margaret Filchak

    August 22, 2023 , 12:38 pm

    Wish you would give them in a printable format also.

  2. Megan @ AlgaeCal

    August 22, 2023 , 2:39 pm

    Thanks for sharing this feedback with us, Margaret! We’ve passed it on to our team right away and in the meantime, feel free to email [email protected] if you have further questions!
    – Megan

  3. Terri Whitesel

    August 22, 2023 , 6:55 pm

    do you have a YouTube channel that will allow me to pull up your videos on my Smart TV so I can exercise from my TV?

  4. Manja AlgaeCal

    August 23, 2023 , 7:48 am

    Great idea, Terri! While not all the exercises from our blog are featured on AlgaeCal YouTube Channel, you will be able to find some of them in our Bone Strength Exercises section here. We also have a Pilates Video Series here. I hope this helps!
    – Manja

  5. Mahin

    August 23, 2023 , 8:42 am

    The article for core exercises was very good and informative fore me , especially the exercises should avoided that always I was seeking for them because I do yoga , shaolin Tai chi and so others .
    Appreciate so much for sending it to me

  6. Annette Attard

    August 25, 2023 , 10:06 pm

    Thank you thank you a thousand times!! I have just found out I have osteoporosis of spine!!! I had no idea I had this.
    I want to do everything I can to help keep this problem from getting worse and even better after reading yr articles make it better!! Kindest regards Annette

  7. Shelby AlgaeCal

    August 28, 2023 , 12:34 pm

    Thank you so much for the lovely feedback on our articles, Annette! We’re so sorry to hear that you have bone loss in your spine but are so happy to hear that you’re committed to doing everything you can to support your bone health going forward. If you haven’t done so yet, please do feel free to reach out to our knowledgeable Bone Health Consultants over the phone at 1-800-820-0184 (USA & Canada toll-free) – we would love to provide personalized support to help you achieve your bone health goals. 🙂
    – Shelby

  8. JoAnn Jerdin

    September 10, 2023 , 10:29 am

    I have rounded shoulders which also affects my chest. Are there some exercises I can do to help my posture?

  9. Yoori AlgaeCal

    September 12, 2023 , 7:47 pm

    Thank you for reaching out, JoAnn! You’re welcome to try out our posture exercises HERE. A friendly note that we always suggest speaking to your doctor when adding in new exercises just to err on the side of caution. I hope this helps! 🙂

    – Yoori

  10. Nora Maya Kachaturoff

    December 30, 2023 , 12:35 pm

    Love this article!
    Easy to do exercises without equipment.

    On regimen with strontium, and although a “bad” patient, missing about half my doses, and only being on the supplements for eight months, did find a slight improvement in my bone mineral density, DEXA scan. I am looking forward to further details on the blood test, to evaluate Bone, health, in addition to the use of a DEXA scan.

  11. Yoori AlgaeCal

    January 1, 2024 , 4:42 pm

    We are so glad to hear that you’ve had an improvement in your bone density, Nora! Being more consistent with our program, we are hopeful that you will see even greater success :). If there’s anything we can do to support this, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-820-0184 (US & Canada Toll-free) or email [email protected]. We are happy to help!

    – Yoori

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,