Osteoporosis: Pilates for Strong Bones

By Elisa Withers, Co-founder of APPI Clinics, Physiotherapist, Pilates Instructor.


Half of all women and one fifth of all men will suffer an osteoporotic fracture. Osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. It’s a ‘silent disease’, usually symptom free until it’s in its advanced stages. Most people don’t know they have it until after having a fracture. However, there is a lot you can do to minimise your risk factors and manage Osteoporosis.

Pilates for Strong Bones

Pilates offers many benefits for anyone with either Osteopenia (pre osteoporosis bone loss) or Osteoporosis and offers a brilliant platform for strengthening bones and preventing fractures. However, we always recommend working with a teacher who has undertaken specialist training to ensure a deep understanding of bone health and its implications for exercise.  It’s important to understand that many of the more traditional Pilates exercises are not safe for those with Osteoporosis and many others require modification and the trained eye of an experienced teacher to make sure they are done properly.

How Pilates for Strong Bones can help you

Done correctly, Modified Pilates exercises can help people with weakened bones by:
• Maintaining bone density as we exercise the body against gravity and resistance.
• Increasing strength and muscle mass through spring resistance on the reformer and dumbbell weights and resistance bands in the mat classes.
• Improving balance to crucially help prevent the risk of falls and fractures.
• Improving range of motion to help the body move efficiently and avoid unnecessary strain.
• Improving posture.

At APPI clinics, we adopt a ‘’Strong, Steady and Straight’’ approach to Pilates for Osteoporosis:


We use weight bearing exercises and use resistance through ground forces and small equipment to for:

  • Core abdominal and back strengthening to help posture and alignment and reduce the strain on the spine itself.
  • Hip strengthening to create muscle mass and better support the hip joints and prevent fractures.
  • Wrist strengthening to better support the joints and help prevent fractures.
  • Ankle and foot strengthening for better balance control.


Exercises for balance and falls prevention are fundamental for anyone with Osteoporosis. Functional Pilates in standing and on varying ‘wobble’ surfaces assist our balance reactions form a key part of the training programme.


Pilates is founded on retraining ideals for posture and alignment. For those with Osteoporosis, it’s even more important that exercises are aimed at improving posture to reduce unnecessary strain on the spine. Our Strong Bones approach focuses on:

  • Exercising the upper back into extension to reduce the forward kyphosis so often associated with Osteoporosis.
  • Re-training shoulder blade control to improve upper body posture and allow free movement of the shoulder itself.

Get in touch

Any questions? Ready to get started? Contact us at hello@appiclinics.com or speak to us at Hampstead on 0207 795 6560 or Wimbledon on 0208 879 7711.