Weekend Challenge: Single-Leg Instability Pump - Save Our Bones

One of the things I really focus on with the Weekend Challenges is variety. I’m really thrilled to share with you each weekend a new and highly effective exercise for increasing bone density, improving balance and strengthening key muscle groups.

Today we’ll look at the Single-Leg Instability Pump. Despite its rather long name, it’s a simple exercise that targets your core and legs, promoting stability, strength, and balance.

Why: If you want to avoid osteoporosis drugs, it’s vital that you incorporate exercise into your bone-healthy lifestyle. This is because the action of muscle on bone stimulates your skeleton to build stronger, denser bones at the area of impact. So exercises like the Single Leg Instability Pump, which target fracture-prone areas (such as the pelvis), are perfect for building bone strength and density where you need it the most.

Balance is also a crucial component in preventing falls and fractures. The moves in this exercise are excellent for enhancing balance, because you work on one leg at a time. It targets your core and thigh muscles, which connect to your hips. Stronger hips are crucial for balance and increased bone density in this vital area.

Strong, flexible legs also help you catch your balance and avoid a fall.

How: Begin by standing near a chair with your feet hip-width apart. Then:

  1. Place your left hand on the back of the chair.
  2. With your left leg slightly bent, raise your right leg back to hip height, and flex your foot so the bottom of your foot is flat. Your leg and foot will stay in this position throughout the first set of repetitions.
  3. Hinge forward at the hips, holding on to the chair for stability.
  4. Keep your chin level as you bend forward. Keep going until your torso is parallel to the floor. (Make sure the chair is far enough forward that your head can come down.)
  5. Squeeze your right glute as you come back up and return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat 15 times, and then switch legs and do 15 more reps.

Advanced Version Of The Single-Leg Instability Pump

For a more challenging take on this exercise, begin as above, with feet hip-width apart. Instead of holding to a chair (but keep the chair in place just in case), do the following:

  1. Place your hands on your tummy, fingers interlaced.
  2. Bend forward at the hips and come up as described above, but keep your hands on your tummy throughout the 15 reps.

Part of your journey to better bone health is staying motivated and inspired. That’s why I want to encourage you to share your experience with the Single-Leg Instability Pump by leaving a comment below.

Enjoy your weekend!

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Mary

    Vivian, another vote to encourage you to develop weekend exercise videos !
    Thanks for all you do !

  2. Janet J.

    Thanks for your sharing the exercises with us and all the other tips on bone density health. I’m 72 and exercise regularly and 35 yrs. ago started acquiring healthy habits small increments at a time. I’ve been aware I have osteopenia for almost 20 yrs. I caved in to scare tactic after a second broken bone. 5yrs on Actonel didn’t help. the Dr. took me off. I Didn’t think any other drug would be helpful, it was the cost of the drugs that made me say no. After I broke 2 more bones, The Dr. suggested Prolia. The Dr. said Medicare would pay for it. It was several months after starting Prolia I came across your website by accident. Since Starting Porlia, I’ve had 2 or 3 bone density test. Only the last one showed a little improvement. Since starting Prolia I’ve been concentrating on eating more calcium. Greek Yogurt, Almond Milk. Reading and looking up other foods with high Calcium in them. Now I need to get off Polia and see if my habits are the reason of a little increase of bone density. I find this scary.

    Thank You , Vivian

  3. yvonne wong

    with the excercises, how many repeats is required for each, and when we raise our leg how long should we hold on, please advise. Once I have read it on a chinese article, to cook chicken feet with ginseng slices is good for the bones , would that be a good suggestion? Always looking forward for your updates and Email.
    Regards Yvonne

  4. Kathy

    I want to thank you for all the information that you share with those of us concerned about our bones. Your information is valuable and an encouraging resource. I share many these small exercises with my family. I encourage them to address the aging process now with preventive measures. Your information is, I believe critical. I have been using your bone program for a little over a year. It is becoming a way of life for me, getting stronger every day!!!

    Thank you I am so grateful.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are most welcome, Kathy, and I thank you for being a part of the Save Our Bones community! You are an inspiring example of how the Program can become part of your daily lifestyle. 🙂

  5. Joyce

    Busy over weekend but anxious to check for these today! Thanks much for all your wonderful and helpful information including these exercises.

  6. Christine

    Thank you for all your help & advice. Much appreciated. The exercises are great. I also do yoga & exercise classes which all keep me fit.

  7. JDR

    Have been on your diet trying to keep PH LEVELS correct but I take Prilosec for acid reflux. Nothing I do keeps me from having acid reflux but the Prilosec. What can I do to get off the Prilosec
    Since it interferes with my bone density. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Faith

      I no longer take Prilosec. I take Sucralfate (generic for Carafate) in the morning and at bedtime. Usually this controls the reflux. When it does not, I eat a small amount of honey, perhaps a half teaspoon

    • LeeAnne

      Drinking Kefir may help along with probiotics. Chewing gum may help with heartburn flare ups. Sometimes drinking too much water with meals flushes out the natural coating in your throat that can make heartburn worse. Small sips of water or beverage between each bite helps. Your doctor may know of some natural remedies that work. I once heard eating apples or apple cider vinegar helps. We drink water with lemon juice in it every morning 20 minutes before breakfast. If none of these work you may need to revisit your doctor.

  8. shula

    Thanks for the beautiful, simple, exercises.

  9. R-Edward

    I am a male 68 at nest birthday.
    I was diagnosed with mild osteoporosis a while ago.
    Following your recommendations have improved the readings
    and I’ve joined the local gym for Yoga and Pilate classes.
    I am however subject to ever thinning skin condition resulting in easy and regular bruising and bleeding cuts and ruptures of the skin.
    My condition is not is not hemophiliac as would be nose-bleeding etc. and the bleeding is easily controlled and stopped and heals very quickly.

    Thin Skin problem??
    Any advice will be appreciated.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Congratulations on your improved bone density, R-Edward! It’s very encouraging to the community when Savers share their positive experiences. 🙂 I have not researched the skin condition you’re talking about, but I hope you can find some answers.

  10. joy markman

    I had a back operation in 1989, I am now 66yrs. old. The physio who looked after me after the operation showed me how to change certain exercises so that I would not hurt my back, & although, through the years I have had back problems, I have now reached a wonderful strong back, without taking any medication ( I refused point blank). My rutine is 4x @ gym & 2x walking for an hour, on Saturdays, I enjoy myself doing what I want to! I am on fracture line, but now I am trying Vivians way. Joy

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Joy, I am glad you were able to work with someone who could customize back exercises for you! It’s so important to take your individual health needs into consideration when developing your personal regimen.

      • noelene

        wonderful and so good to do

  11. CAROL B

    Several years ago I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis, but a well known heart specialist told everyone not to take any of the Osteo drugs ever. I am 77, have a severe spinal curvature, but I do your exercises and keep active and so far no fractures. Thank-you so much for all of your help.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Carol, what a wise heart specialist! Keep up the excellent work. 🙂

  12. Jan

    Thanks as ever Vivian. On a positive note to all of us who are not able to do these exercises right away, just do as much as you can and don’t worry if it’s not a lot at first. The thing is to keep trying and exercise regularly, that’s what I do and as Vivian says, you will see improvement. And it is so encouraging when you do.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Love your words of wisdom, Jan!

  13. Zee

    Are any of the exercise you have shown available in a video

  14. Denise L.

    Hi Vivian,

    I love your exercises and am thankful that you share all this valuable information. Would you ever consider making an exercise video? I find that I personally do better with exercising when I can watch someone doing the exercise moves.

    Thank you again for sharing your expertise!

    Denise L.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thanks for the suggestion, Denise. I’m certainly considering the video option!

      • Ann

        I vote for the video, too! And you can Put it on YouTube! Or Netflix!

      • Linda

        A video would be much more motivating than several separate exercises, even though I have copied them all into one folder. I think it would be quite popular!

        • LeeAnne

          I agree a video would be really nice. 🙂

          • Ildi Urban

            Yes, yes YES !!!! Video Please !

  15. Pam

    Hi Vivian,
    I do have osteoperosis and have never taken any drugs. My doctor tried the scare tactics byt fortunately I had some some homework. I said nope. A couple of years ago I was having bad neck/shoulder pain. I could hardly turn my head. I started doing some of your exercises and “exersising with Mike”. The pain has gone away and I have had some good falls. Mostly from by bike and landing on the very solid pavement. Also landed on my head and shoulder once skiing on very solid snow, it was a very fast and hard landing. I have not broken anything except pride in any of the falls. Thank you Vivian. We all value and appreciate your help more than you may ever know.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Great to have you in the community, Pam! That’s what I call good natural bone health! Live your life to the fullest without fractures… and never suffer from horrible drug side effects…

  16. kim

    Whoa! That was surprisingly challenging! It hit areas I am not currently working, and when I did it with no hands, I could only do 3… Thanks for this great exercise!

  17. Judy

    Aha, at 73 I thought I was in great shape, active and no medicines. Well on first try I could only do “4” single-leg instability pumps, but betcha I’ll be doing 15 before it’s over, thanks for the wake up!

  18. mary

    Vivian, I pay a trainer (who works primarily with my heart-patient husband) to demonstrate and practice this type of exercise with me. You, by freely sending the Weekend Challenge Exercises, are serving in a similar capacity. We should take every advantage of your generosity, by doing the exercises and saving our bones. Thank you!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I’m so glad you stay on top of your bone health, Mary! And I appreciate your kind words… I really try my best to give our community everything they need to build their bones 🙂

  19. Karen

    Hi Vivian,

    I have been taking Evista for about 4 years for osteoporosis in my spine. I am 57. My hips are fine. I have also been using your program. What are the dangers of Evista? (I had reactions to Fosamax and Actenol)

    Thanks, Karen

  20. Celestina Marie

    Great routine! Thank you for sharing these weekend exercises!!

  21. Joan

    single leg stability pump.
    the diagram shows the right hand on the chair?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Good eye, Joan! Fortunately, the exercise works equally well regardless of which hand you use to hold on to the chair (and you can also use both hands if needed) 🙂

  22. Janet B.

    Hi Vivian,
    I had a dexascan 2 weeks ago and found I have osteoporosis in my lumbar area of my back. I also, have osteopenia in all the other areas which the scan was done. I exercise 3-4 times per week and am doing less cardio which seems the way to go for fat-burning. I’ve had 2 lumbar surgeries in the past 10 years and wondered if that is the cause of my osteoporosis. Thanks for all your great tips !!!!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome, Janet! And thanks for sharing your inspirational story with us, Janet.

  23. Glenn

    Thanks Vivian
    I exercise at the gym twice a week, sometimes 3 times, but I particularly enjoy and get benefit from your weekend exercises.
    They are deceptively challenging at times ….I know they are doing me good.
    Please keep it up and again, thank you so much. I discovered you over a year ago now and immediately dumped the Fossmax id been prescribed .Never looked back.
    I will be 73 in June.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      So good that you stopped Fosamax, Glenn! And I’m glad you like the challenges… keep practicing them, and you’ll see results 🙂

  24. Shailendra

    Excellent! You are doing a great service, keep it up.

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