Tips For Trainers, By Trainers: GYROTONIC® Modifications For Someone With Osteoporosis

Blog Content Tips for Trainers // May 01, 2017

By Dr. Justine Bernard – Physical Therapist and GYROTONIC® Master Trainer

There is a lot of fear surrounding the diagnosis of osteoporosis: porous bones, and, yes, the very real risk of fracturing a bone (which doubles with an osteoporosis diagnosis).

This is why the exercise modification for someone diagnosed with osteoporosis is generally to avoid flexion or curling of the spine.

However, it is not that simple.

The more informed you are as a teacher, the more confidence you can instill into your clients to get moving, breathing, and returning strength and pliability to their bones. Additional benefits include improving balance and a prolonged life!

One of the easiest, and one of my favorite, modifications is to do hamstrings on the floor. We work on the floor because getting on and off the Gyrotonic benches can cause excessive flexion with compression of the spine for someone with osteoporosis.

Here are some simple steps I use:

  1. Get on and off the floor with an elongated spine.
  2. Go from standing to kneeling, with use of hands if needed.

This position allows a client to get up from hamstring series without curling and compressing the spine.


  1. Side-lying, roll with long spine onto back.
  2. Reverse to get up.

This position gives feedback from the floor assist, with re-education of posture using the principle of the fifth line.

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3 thoughts on “Tips For Trainers, By Trainers: GYROTONIC® Modifications For Someone With Osteoporosis”

  1. says:

    We should be aware of the important points in this article about this modifications by someone with osteoporosis. This would really mean a lot. Thanks for sharing this one out.

  2. Justine says:

    HI Maria great question.. With 85 year old with Osteoporosis of the spine, focus on narrowing, posture and balance. Has this person had a previous fracture? Do you happen to know their t-scores? Were they doing the Gyrotonic Method before the diagnosis?
    Here are some ideas from the Level 1 material:
    Narrowing sequence on a stool, focus more on the first section with elongation and then into spiral with curl. Cue them to elongate the spine and get taller as they curl, so it may feel a bit smaller but more elongated. Avoid pulsation and waves, for now, because it’s too much flexion. I’m being cautious as I don’t know this person. Do the upper body series with an upright spine instead of a bowed spine, and same with the leg series. You can do the sideways seated series sitting to strengthen the hips. For hamstrings, if possible, do them on the floor (see Osteoporosis video) or on a massage table so they can roll to the side instead of curling up.
    NO simple curl-ups. Upper body openings facing away from tower is very good for posture.
    The level one unwinding is excellent (stepping, figure 8, standing eyes closed) for balance and coordination. Spot the client, you want them to lose their balance and find their balance, but you do not want them to fall.
    You may want to find someone who has taken the Applications for Osteoporosis course for more details as there are many factors to consider.
    Keep them moving.
    I hope this is helpful.

  3. Maria says:

    My client has 85 years and has been diagnosed with osteoporosis in the spine and neck.
    What shouls avoid?
    Gyrotonic is not a good idea?

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