The Best Squat Exercises for Osteoporosis

The Best Squat Exercises for Osteoporosis

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis is a disease where bones become more fragile and can be more susceptible to fractures. In addition to the wrist, most breaks occur in the hips and spine. Exercise, combined with a proper diet and calcium, can help strengthen bones in those areas. One of the most effective exercises for strengthening bones in the hips and spine are squats, and the best squat exercises are those that keep the spine and hips straight and more stable during movements. Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

About the Exercises
There are two types of squats that are best for people with osteoporosis--plie squats and those done on a Smith machine. Plie squats can be performed with or without weights. It is best to start off slowly as your body will need to get used to the movements. Plie squats will help develop muscles in your legs and buttocks, which will help better stabilize your hips and spine. You can strengthen your bones and surrounding muscles by doing just plie squats. But you may later consider doing squats on a Smith machine once you gain strength in your thighs and buttocks. These are large racks with a movable bar attached that you can put weights on. The Smith machine, unlike traditional squats, keeps your hips and back straight as you move the weight up and down. Placing your feet forward a few inches can take pressure off your back.

Plie Squats
It is best to start out using a sturdy chair or two doorknobs for support. This will enable you to take weight off your legs until you get used to the exercise. Start out in a wide stance with both toes pointed outward in a comfortable position. Keeping your back straight and knees in line with your toes and abdomen, bend your knees and inhale as you slowly lower yourself down about 6 to 8 inches. Exhale as you push yourself back up. Do 10 repetitions if you can. Start out doing the exercise just once. Later, do it up to three or four times. Do not go too far down as this will put too much stress on your hips and muscles. Once you gain some strength in your legs, you can do this exercise without support. Place small dumbbells on the top of your thighs to build more leg, back and hip strength.

Smith Machine Squats
Only do this exercise after you have gotten used to doing plie squats with dumbbells. Start with the weight of the bar. You can add weight as you get used to the movement. Grab the bar and position your feet slightly forward about shoulder-width apart. Duck underneath the bar and place it across the meaty part (trapezius muscle) of your shoulder behind your neck. Inhale as you bend your knees at between 45 degrees and 90 degrees. Exhale and come back up. Do 10 repetitions. Repeat the exercise three times (sets). Start with quarter squats (45 degrees) until you get used to the exercise.