Table of Contents

Today, you will learn some of the most common kyphosis exercises to avoid and why a kyphotic posture could lead to health problems.

You will also learn about different types of bones in your body and your spine. You will better understand why our spines are vulnerable to compression fractures.

Lastly, you will learn five great starter exercises to strengthen the muscles supporting your spine and posture.

Kyphosis Exercises to Avoid

If you have osteoporosis, osteopenia or low bone density, you need to avoid exercises and movements that put you in flexion as these movements increase your chance of vertebral compression fractures.

Some of the many kyphosis exercises to avoid include:

  • Crunches or sit-ups
  • Pilates 100’s
  • Lat pull-downs behind the head
  • Toe touches
  • Toe touches with a twist
  • Spine roll-downs or roll-ups

I have written a detailed blog article on Osteoporosis Exercise Contraindications (commonly known as kyphosis exercises to avoid or osteoporosis exercises to avoid).

Kyphosis Exercises to Avoid

Kyphosis Exercises

In Exercise for Better Bones, I show you how to modify many of your activities of daily living and make them safer for your bones.  I also describe a wide range of Posture building exercises. These are ideal for someone who wants exercises for kyphosis. Some of the exercises include:

  • Chin Tuck Stretch
  • Shoulder Tuck Stretch
  • Chest Stretch on the Floor
  • Arm Reach Stretch

In total, I have identified fifteen exercises for kyphosis in Exercise for Better Bones.

To understand why kyphosis exercises need to be avoided and why other exercises are necessary to build bone, you should have an understanding of the different types of bone in your body.

Bone Types and Compression Fracture

We have two types of bones: trabecular and cortical. The vertebral bodies of our spine are composed of a higher ratio of trabecular bone than most other bones, which makes them more vulnerable to compression fractures.

Once you have one compression fracture, your risk of another fracture increases. Thus, reducing the risk of the first fracture is essential.

Whether you wish to avoid your first compression fracture or future compression fractures, two key ingredients are needed:

  • Avoid movements that bring you into flexion.
  • Progressively strengthen your spinal muscles.
cortical and trabecular cancellous bone of the spine

Peak Bone Mass

Many of you know you reach peak bone mass between 25 and 30. As we age, women will lose bone at a faster rate than men. The cause of bone loss due to menopause is called primary osteoporosis. Depending on your genetics, nutrition, and exercise, your rate of bone loss during this period can vary.

How to Prevent Kyphotic Posture and Kyphosis

As mentioned above, if you have low bone density or osteoporosis, unsafe exercises can lead to compression fractures

However, it is essential to realize that daily activities with poor body mechanics can put our spine at an even greater risk. Our daily activities occur hundreds of times more frequently than formal exercises. When you improve your body mechanics, you automatically start improving your posture and protecting your spine.

The video below shows how to lift and carry babies and young children.

Kyphosis Exercises and Movements To Avoid

Certain movements, especially movements of flexion have been shown in studies to greatly increase your risk of vertebral fractures. The movements that bring you into flexion include sit-ups, toe-touches, and crunches.

In my book Exercise for Better Bones, I have a whole section committed to safe movements that you can incorporate into your activities of daily living as well as your exercise routine. I also identify specific movements you should avoid.

In my book Yoga for Better Bones, I identify (for both yoga practitioners and instructors) the yoga poses that require modification and those that should be avoided for people with osteoporosis.

Exercise for Better Bones Book

Activities of Daily Living

I mentioned earlier, unsafe exercises can cause fractures of the spine. But it’s not just exercises that we need to be concerned about, it’s all of the activities that you do day in and day out.

How you lift up your grandchild, how you feed your dog, how you pick up your groceries — all of those movements can cause microtrauma to your spine, or not. Learning to move with safe body mechanics is an important part of the Exercise for Better Bones program and these are covered in the Activities of Daily Living section of the book.

We provide hundreds of examples from working in your kitchen, making your bed, picking up your grandchildren, feeding the dog … that gives you tips and ideas to start incorporating into your day to day life.

In tomorrow’s tutorial, we’re going to look at the key principles that are needed when you’re looking at a bone building exercise program. Look forward to seeing you then.

Perfect Posture

A perfect posture has many benefits. Here are just a few:

  • Reduces your risk of back, neck, and shoulder pain.
  • Improves balance and reduces the chance of a fall.
  • Promotes a positive self-image.

Posture and Osteoporosis

Good postural alignment is especially important for individuals with osteoporosis and low bone density.

Simple movements you do everyday can lead to small fractures to the spine.

For example, poor postural alignment when you cough, sneeze, or reach for something can cause micro trauma to the spinal column. Over time, these micro traumas can add up and eventually lead to vertebral compression fractures.

Poor posture contributes to poor balance. Good posture plays an important part in balance and is one component that helps reduce your risk of a fall.

The Source of Poor Posture

Why don’t more of us have a perfect posture? Because many of the activities we do in today’s modern world involve forward flexion.

Activities such as reading in bed, using a mobile phone, gaming, texting, sitting for hours hunched over a laptop computer, knitting, crocheting, and many more encourage forward flexion.

Many people take this forward movement into their exercise and leisure activities. Unfortunately, this reinforces poor postural alignment.

Unless we make adjustments to our environment or correct our posture, over time we weaken and stretch certain muscles and tighten other muscles. This muscular imbalance leads to poor postural alignment.

There are ways to correct the imbalance so that we have our best posture.

Today's Exercise

Join me as we use Physical Therapy postural strengthening exercises on your back and tummy to improve your posture and help you hold your body tall against gravity.

These postural strengthening exercises requires a regular belt, a pillow and two hand towels. 

Kyphosis Exercises to Avoid Conclusion

In this discussion we covered a number of topics related to kyphosis exercises to avoid. Hopefully you feel more knowledgeable about the topic. You learned about the kyphosis posture and how to avoid it, and we listed kyphosis exercises to avoid and in a related blog post covered osteoporosis exercise contraindications.

Tomorrow’s Lesson • Exercise Principles

Tomorrow’s lesson will cover the four key exercise principles of an osteoporosis exercise program. Stay tuned!


March 5, 2017 at 12:01am

Margaret Manley

I find your tutorials most helpful but have to keep going back to the original webset. I have left my email as I am very keen to do what I can to help myself.

It helps so much when you know more about the way the body walks and I find your talks easy to understand.

I once again give my name and email address and hope to hear from you on. A regular basis.
Many thanks fo

April 10, 2017 at 5:07am


this lesson helped me a lot,all the above mentioned info was so helpful, but knowing that good body mechanics and avoiding flex posture is something important for patients with OP, is the interesting part to me,
looking for the coming lesson

June 16, 2017 at 9:28am

Lisa Prugh

I have signed up for online tutorials, have received the introduction. Have received the Stop the Stoop BUT NO VIDEO ATTACHED?
Can you please advise. Thank you, Lisa Prugh

June 16, 2017 at 11:11am

Richard Martin replies

Hi Lisa: the video is embedded in the blog.

October 20, 2017 at 10:03am


I do not see the video showing the correct exercises, I see only the video with Ms Martin speaking?

October 20, 2017 at 10:47am

Richard Martin replies

Hi Wendy: We have a page dedicated to video demonstrations of correct osteoporosis exercises. You can find it here. We will be releasing more of the videos in the future.

January 12, 2018 at 8:44pm

Linda Zaferis

Hello, have recently purchased your 2016 edition of Exercise for Better Bones. There is no chapter titled Activities of Daily Living, please advise. The tutorials are very informative.Thank you, Linda

January 13, 2018 at 10:14am

Richard Martin replies

Hi Linda: Thank you for purchasing Exercise for Better Bones and congratulations on committing to the health of your bones. The Activities of Daily Living Guide is not in the book. It is available on our site for free as a PDF. The link to get the PDF is noted in Exercise for Better Bones.

I will send you an email with the link since you have not found it in the printed book. Be on the look out for an email from me. My apologies for the confusion.


January 27, 2018 at 1:27pm


I have multiple fractures what exercisers can I do

March 30, 2018 at 1:05pm

Judy Parker

I went to my lap top and to my browser and now I got the video. :) ...Also, I ordered the book, Exercise for Better Bones. Thanks!

August 7, 2018 at 10:29am

Mohammed idrees mudassir

Hey i am 16 year old kid and i want to grow my height so can you help me out for it .
I request you to tell some exercise and diet for me.

September 30, 2018 at 10:46am


I am 66 with bad osteoporosis and ga e been put on prolia. Had pain after the second shot and have chronic sinusitis which prolia seemed to make worse. I really don’t want to take the third shot what would you recommend ?

September 30, 2018 at 9:26pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Connie,
I was at a Bone Research Annual Meeting this weekend wondering the same thing and so I asked a recognized medical doctor who has written and presented about Prolia the following question:
"What do you tell someone who has received two or more Prolia injections?"
Her response was:
"Once a patient received two or more Prolia® injections there is a risk for the presence of the rebound effect at its discontinuation. As far as it is known, there is no difference between the rebound effect after two or more injections. So, if Prolia® is otherwise well tolerated, and the treatment indication is clear (what should be if the doctor has proposed it), there is no reason to stop it precociously because of the existence of the rebound effect. On the contrary, I would say that it is a very efficacious treatment, and once initiated with two or more injections, the patient should take advantage of its benefits. What is very important is: that injections are strictly given every six months, and that no injection is forgotten. Also, when it is decided to stop Prolia®, it should always be done in a controlled way, with a very close follow up by the treating physician, who will explain the patient the protocol to be followed."
All the best,

May 21, 2019 at 1:01pm

Dawn Chadwick

I was hoping to find some exercises specifically for correcting kyphosis. I dont have any fractures as far as I'm aware. Do you have some suggestions please

May 28, 2019 at 10:29pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Dawn, Sorry for the delay in responding here is a blog you might find helpful: Also, there are numerous exercises you may find helpful in Exercise for Better Bones. Wishing you better posture.

April 30, 2020 at 9:50am


Hi, I’m 33 with osteoporosis, because I had a serious accident and the healing takes years. I wondered to know if I avoided to kyphosis exercises?

May 6, 2020 at 10:55am

Richard Martin replies

Hi Taraneh. It is in your best interest to consult with a Physician or Physical Therapist who can address your questions. You situation is too specific for us to address in a comments section. Thank you and stay safe.

May 6, 2020 at 3:43am


Hi, have you checked my comment?

August 31, 2020 at 6:00pm

Charlie Dierkop

Would raising your arms high and holding on to the top of the door frame and letting your body hang off the ground be useful or harmful?

September 13, 2020 at 3:26pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Charlie, Sorry for the delay in responding. Hanging from a secure bar at the top of a door frame is not harmful except possibly to your shoulders. If this is part of a routine that you like to do the "traction" of your spine which is created when you hang is actually a healthy way to unweight your spine. However, in doing so you should keep your shoulders "actively engaged in the process". Actively engaging your shoulders would be equivalent to the feeling you have when you just start a pull-up. There is little to no perceived motion except within the shoulder joint itself. I hope this is helpful to you.
Keep strong and stay safe.

November 6, 2020 at 3:01pm


is using an inversion table good for those with osteoporosis?

November 6, 2020 at 5:56pm

Richard Martin replies

Progress gradually. The challenge is locking and unlocking the table without going into flexion.

May 11, 2021 at 5:39am

Catherine Frew

Hi. I have osteoporosis of the spine, diagnosed through Dexa 5 years ago. No meds (yet). My problem with your kyphosis exercises seems daft - but I get sick and dizzy lying flat on my back. I discovered this at pilates classes about 16 years ago. I now have hearing loss - not sure if it's connected. Could I try these exercises with a pillow under my head, maybe in bed? Or are there upright alternatives? Thank you. Loved the first (heel drop) exercise.

May 11, 2021 at 8:15am

Richard Martin replies

Hi Catherine. You should consult with a Physiotherapist, specifically one who treats vertigo issues. Thanks.

November 11, 2021 at 8:45am


Maybe this is a dumb question, but the video for 5 exercises to improve your posture, in the beginning credits it says "episode 11". I received this as the "day 2" video in my email. So did I miss a bunch of episodes in between? Cause it seems to me the exercises should proceed in a sequence? I'm a little confused.

November 11, 2021 at 10:47am

Richard Martin replies

That video is part of a different series, however, since it is focussed on posture and that is the theme of this post, we felt it would a good addition.