Pilates For Osteoporosis And Bone Strength

Pilates For Osteoporosis – Buff Bones

Buff Bones is a trademark product of Incorporating Movement. It was developed by Rebekah Rotstein. It is a medically endorsed, full body exercise system for bone and joint health. It integrates Pilates, strength training, functional movement, and therapeutic exercise with bone strengthening and balance techniques, and is safe for those with osteoporosis. The workouts are adaptable to varying levels and age ranges and follow a research supported design. 

Pilates for Osteoporosis – Buff Bones: Class Objectives

Develop a deeper understanding of the body by focusing on posture, bone strength, muscle tone and fascial integrity, flexibility and mobility, plus balance. We strive to increase kinesthetic awareness, improve functional fitness, and increase self confidence. This is how our Pilates based class is helpful for those with osteoporosis. 

Understanding Bone Health and Osteoporosis

Bone is a living tissue which continuously regenerates itself in process known as remodeling. Bone formation is greater than bone resolution (breakdown) during youth and adolescence allowing us to build maximum bone density. Estrogen is one of the major preservers of bone tissue, keeping our bone breakdown in check through the middle years. Menopausal and post menopausal women experience the loss of bone tissue due to the loss of estrogen. This puts them at a greater risk for osteoporosis. Specific actives like Pilates for osteoporosis can improve bone density. Building strong bones is possible. 

4 ways to build bone strength are with impact, changes in direction, speed, and force. 

Skeletal alignment is important for bone strength because it:

  1. Improves force transmission through the bones.
  2. Reduces chance of falling.
  3. Reduces chance of spinal fractures. 

Bones are regenerated and strengthen through forces acting on them when you are weight-bearing, doing resistance exercise, and impact activities. In our Pilates for Osteoporosis/Buff Bones class we incorporate these activities. We also focus on core strength and balance which are foundations of Pilates. 

The most common sites for fractures to occur are:

  1. The Thoracic spine.  T5-T10, mostly anterior aspect of the discs.
  2. The wrist
  3. The femur in the hip. 

Buff Bones is done with no forward flexion, especially in the laying  down (supine) exercises. Lateral and rotational exercises are reduced.

The Foundations of Buff Bones

In nose /out mouth. Deep diaphragm work. Posterior and lateral breathing.

Neutral Spine
Promotes optimal loading of joints along the kinetic chain when standing.

Contraction of pelvic floor, deep Ab.’s and low back muscles as well as diaphragm involvement.  (Like zipping up tight jeans)

The Hip Hinge
Neutral Spine movement from the hips. Strengthens back and glut.’s.

Safe spine position for daily activities.

Push/Pull Concept
Opposition- energy in both or all directions. Creates stability and strength.

Exercise Sections

1- Grounding

  • Toe lifts and ankle sways
  • Sky reaches
  • Lowering to the Mat

2- Supine Warm-up (Spinal Unloading)

  • Shoulder press
  • Pelvic tilt (Imprint)
  • Low Bridge
  • Hamstring Stretch

3- Abdominals (lying on your back)

  • Single leg circle
  • AB. press
  • Single leg stretch
  • Scissor legs

4- Prone (laying on your stomach- working the back muscles)

  • Swan
  • Single leg kick
  • Lotus

5- Side-Lying (for the hips and legs)

  • Side lying leg lift (parallel)
  • Side lying kick (front & back)
  • Side lying leg circle
  • Side lying adductor leg lift

TRANSITION to other side  – V SIT
Repeat above pattern with the other leg.

6- Quadruped ‘Table’ and Prone   (working arms and buttocks)

  • Weight shift in neutral 
  • 4 point kneeling (plain or with balance challenge)
  • Grasshopper
  • Swimming
  • Push-ups  (Wall, Knees Down or Full)

7- Standing  (weight bearing and balance)

  • Heel lifts
  • Side stepping
  • Grape stomping
  • Bicep curls  (2 or 3 lb. wights for the next 5 exercises)
  • Deltoid lifts
  • Pull-ups (zipper)
  • Triceps
  • Hip Hinges (Squats)
  • Heel drops
  • Stretches (standing to stretch but also to improve our balance balance)
  • Hamstings
  • Calves 
  • Hips 
  • Inner Thighs
  • Hip Flexors


References- Buff Bones Notes, training and manual

For more information www.buff-bones.com

Also: www.betterbones.com