Ithaca Trainer: Quick Tip Friday

By George Thorogood and the Destroyers


Let’s talk about Osteoporosis and Osteopenia.  It may not be glamorous, but it is important.  This week I wrapped up my second presentation on the topic.  We needed to add the additional date because there was more interest than we could handle with just one session.  Whether you’re male or female, 21 or 81… it’s important to think about your bone health.  If you’re under the age of 28... this is the time to load up on bone density.  Cut back on soda, make sure you’re getting calcium in your diet, and start resistance training… you are still in bone-building years.  After that age, we’re working with what we’ve got for the rest of our lives.

Some important points:

  • Exercise has been proven to build osteocytes (which causes bone formation)
    • Check with your MD, PT or trainer before starting an exercise program
  • Working your posterior chain (back/butt/hamstrings) and other extension (pulling back and up) exercises will decrease your risk of vertebral (bones in your spine) fracture and that quasimodo hump
    • Posture is extremely important– I’m talking to you desk jockies and texting-neck junkies
      • Soft knees, head up and back, weight even over the feet, and neutral pelvis… the back of your pants shouldn’t sit much higher than the front
  • RESTRICTIONS: If you (or someone you know) has an osteoporosis fracture, you shouldn’t lift more than 5lbs for 3 months.  Even without a fracture, someone with osteoporosis shouldn’t lift more than 20lbs.  Those with osteopenia (the precursor to osteoporosis), have a little more flexibility… they can do multiple reps of 25-50lbs and single reps of 75lb-100lbs.  Osteoporosis and osteopenia are based on a sliding scale, so these numbers have big ranges.  But it’s important to remember the risk vs reward of any movement or exercise.
  • Fall prevention is huge!  Keep up with strength training and make sure to involve controlled balance training as well.  A simple way to add this into your daily life is to brush your teeth on one foot in the morning, then switch to the other foot at night.  This will help strengthen the legs and your brain’s ability to react when you do need to catch yourself.
  • Your strength exercises need to be challenging. While walking and yoga are good everyday activities to stay in shape, you need to do resistance training (something more than gravity, like cables, dumbbells, and bands) at least 2x/week
  • Avoid movements that force you to twist the spine or fold at your middle.  There are other ways to do these actions!! If you have questions, let me know.
  • The first fracture is usually in the wrist, while minor this should be a big red flag.  It is very difficult to recovery from fractures in the spine and hip.


The follow are some of my base level strength assessments for Osteoporosis/osteopenia

#1  Wall Slide

– Can you keep hold your elbows and back of hands against the wall in the “Touchdown” position?  Heels don’t need to touch the wall, but hips, upper back, and head do.

#2  Sit to Stand without assistance

-Can you stand from a chair and sit back down without using your arms or hands?  Try doing this 10 times in 30 seconds.

#3  Single Leg Balance without assistance

– Can you stand on each foot, one at a time, for 30 secs?

#4  Plank on Hands

-Can you hold your body steady using your palms and feet for 30 seconds? If you can, build up to 60 seconds

Try these assessments out and let me know how it goes!


2 thoughts on “Ithaca Trainer: Quick Tip Friday

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s