Weekend Challenge: Swinging Back Toner - Save Our Bones

The Weekend Challenges have received many positive responses from the community. So I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for your participation and enthusiasm!

Today, I’m happy to bring you this weekend’s challenge, the Swinging Back Toner. It’s a fantastic exercise that prevents loss of height caused by poor posture or compressed vertebral discs. It works your back and core, which are literally central to your body’s posture and stability.

Why: This exercise strengthens the back and core muscles, promoting better posture. In addition to slimming down your appearance and helping increase bone density, the Swinging Back Toner also helps keep your vertebrae aligned and prevents height loss.

You see, people “shrink” as they age because the spongy discs between the vertebrae lose their water content as we become less active. This condition is associated with aging, but it’s likely the effect of decreased activity as we get older. Lack of movement and misalignment can bring about degenerative discs at any age.

Working your back muscles as described in this exercise strengthens and aligns your spine, helping to keep your back supple and strong and improving your posture. Strong muscles are important – the action of muscle on bone improves bone density. The stronger your muscles, the more (and better) they will work to build your bones.

And here’s another perk: you’ll feel more confident in sundresses and swimsuits if your back is nicely toned.

The Swinging Back Toner is a great addition to your bone-building exercise regimen. Here’s how to do it.

How: To perform this exercise, you’ll probably be more comfortable lying on a mat or carpeted floor. You’ll need two dumbbells of whatever weight you find comfortable for your level (usually 1 to 5 pounds). Or you can also use 1-pound cans of food, one for each hand.

  • Lie on your back and bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor.
  • Hold your dumbbells or cans straight up toward the ceiling.
  • Contract your abdominal muscles and, with elbows slightly bent, slowly lower the dumbbells or cans down and past the top of your head.
  • Keeping your abs contracted, raise the weights back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 3 sets of 20 or as many as you comfortably can.

Advanced Version Of The Swinging Back Toner

When you’re ready for the advanced version, you will still start out lying on your back. Then,

  • Bend and raise your knees, stopping when your thighs are straight and your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Your legs will be at a right angle. This is called a “tabletop position.”
  • Proceed as described above.

As always, please share your Weekend Challenge experience with the community by leaving your comment below. Sharing tips and suggestions helps keep everyone encouraged on the journey to natural bone health!

Till next time,

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Diane Grant

    I love all your extra info and your additional exercises. I like to print them out so I remember them but the colour you use for the actual exercises is very faint. Could you use a darker colour. I would be grateful.

    • Customer Support

      Diane, if you highlight, copy, and paste the text into a Word document, you can change the font color to whatever you like. 🙂

  2. Alice

    On Jan. 15, 2014, I took reclast and am now suffering many side efforts. I need your help. Deeply worried about jaw pain. I love to exercise. Always makes me feel better, takes the leg pains away. Can you help me? Will never take drugs again. I am 68 yrs old, weigh 122, am 5ft3″. I love the outdoors and live on a farm. We put away vegetables all summer for the winter.

  3. Joanna Molloy

    I’m delighted with the exercises you send us. I’ve already lost 6 inches in height, have severe osteoporosis and been discharged in disgrace by the hospital consultant for refusing to take their drugs-it’s all they have to offer. I ‘m 40 plus 42 but taken for 65, which upsets me because it’s over 60. I find the exercises empowering. A trainer at the gym was admiring the kayaking one you sent us. and I like the spinal stretch. I have osteoarthritis in my spine and knees so getting down and up off the floor is very painful. This is my first communication to the programme though I joined in 2012. I have recommended the programme to several people with osteoporosis here in the U.K. thank you for the newsletter.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Joanna, I am so glad you find the exercises helpful. You are obviously a fighter, and kudos to you for being strong enough to stand up to the hospital’s attitude about your not taking drugs!

  4. Jackie Jones

    Thank you Vivian for all of your valuable, helpful posts.
    I truly appreciate ALL of them and particularly enjoy the excersises.
    In 2007, at the age of 53 – I collapsed while I was shovelling snow – taken to hospital on a back board – then sent home with no exray – just a prescription for pain pills and anti-inflammatories and told to see a chiropractor.
    (It turns out I had suffered a spinal compression fracture)
    Over the course of 4 years I had done what I was told and was seeing a chiropractor and ended up with three more compression fractures.
    The pain I endured was tremendous and left me severly depressed…
    There were days, weeks and months that I could barely walk with the pain.
    Finally I was diagnosed with severe osteoporosis and in 2011 had a vertebraplasty on just the last fracture area. (It was too late to treat the other fractures)
    I was put on Forteo injections for 2 years after that.
    Now I just do your excersises, eat healthy and refuse any more drugs prescibed by a doctor. I feel SO much better than I have for years and am walking daily.
    There is no longer any pain (unless I do too much lifting) but my strength and balance are improving greatly!
    Your books, videos, recipes and excersises are truly beneficial for everyone.
    Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart.
    Happy Easter to you and yours Vivian 🙂

    I am now only 4 ft. 9 (having lost 3 inches in height)

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Jackie, a heartfelt thanks to you for sharing your insipiring story. I am so glad to hear that you are free from pain and building healthy bones!

  5. Ali

    Hi Vivian,
    I was diagnosed with osteoporosis and prescribed Fosavance (which I think is Fosamax with vitamin D) in December 2013. I was 53 and pretty sad about what might lay ahead. I bought the drug but have never taken it after reading about the possible side effects. My sister-in-law pointed me to your website. I bought the save our bones program and have been educating myself in the PH balanced diet. I am grateful for your program. I exercise pretty regularly and your weekend tips are a great motivator and reminder for why and how we can strengthen ourselves naturally. And when I wonder if I should be taking Fosavance – yes doubt does occur routinely, the community reminds why I shouldn’t. Thank you.

  6. Betty

    Thanks again for a new one for me anyway. Will try this one along with my other back exercises. I read somewhere in osteoporosis literature that if we have severe (which I have) osteoporosis we shouldn’t flex our spine, but I bend to the floor each morning do squats and back exercises almost every day. So far so good. I hope I am doing the right thing. Happy Easter to all those who celebrate this important event for Christians this weekend.

  7. Fran Lapinskie

    I have been doing this exercise for years and I never miss a day and always use 5 lbs weights. Thanks for all the exercises, I truly enjoy them. I had to take it easy for a six weeks as I had a downhill skiing accident. The good news is that I did not break any ribs. They were sure sore but not broken. I believe it is the exercises that are keeping my bones strong. I quit using fosomax a few years back and I believe it takes a while to get your bones back after the damage that fosomax does. I still have trouble with the jaw but it is not continuous. Thanks again for all your reports and exercises. fran L

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      So good you didn’t break any ribs, Fran! Stay fit and eat a balanced diet as explained in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. I’m sure your bones will “recover” from any damage caused by Fosamax!

  8. Joyce

    Thanks for all your helpful material – exercises, food choices, etc. Appreciate it all.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome, Joyce! And I thank you for being an active Save Our Bones community member.

  9. Ms. L. Carmel

    Hi! Vivian,

    Thank You Very Much For Trying To Keep Our Bones Healthy, Even On The Weekend!

    And As Always – Take Care, And Stay Well.

    Love, Leslie ( Ms. L. Carmel)

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thanks for your feedback, Leslie, and a big hug to you!

  10. joy markman

    Hi Vivian, I would like to know if the Paleo diet is good for the osteoporosis person?
    Can we eat raw cheese, or must we leave out all dairy?
    Please answer me.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Joy, you can follow a paleo diet if you adapt it to the 80/20 pH balance plan. And you don’t need to leave out all dairy… Again, it has to do with maintaining the pH to keep your bones strong 🙂

  11. Helen

    Thanks, Vivian, for another very good exercise to help us improve our bones. I also want to mention that I ordered and just received your recipe book, Bone Appetite, and I’m looking forward to trying the recipes. Thanks for sharing all your research with us. Helen

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Enjoy your bone-healthy homemade meals, Helen!

  12. Cheryl

    Hi Vivian – Thanks for all your good work!
    I’m in physical therapy for some neck issues now, and this is one of the exercises I do. At this stage I’m just using actually two 3-foot long dowels but I imagine I’ll progress to heavier weights eventually. This exercise is very similar to one we do in Silver Sneakers at my local YMCA.

  13. carla riffel

    I love exercises I can do lying down because it doesn’t strain my neck! my chiropractor told me that exercises, even with weights, done lying down do not increase spinal bone mass. (ie this exercise would help my arms but not my spine). what are your thoughts on this?
    thanks for all you do to help us!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Great point, Carla! This exercise strengthens your back muscles and aligns your spine to improve posture. While it’s not centered on building spinal bone mass, remember that stronger muscles apply more pressure on bones, thus increasing density 🙂

  14. Vicki

    I’ve always done these dumbbell pullovers at the gym because they just feel so good but now that I know the additional benefits I like them even more. Thanks for all the tips. Having been diagnosed in the early stages of osteoporosis at the age of 52 I have much fear about my future health and mobility.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      If you’re being proactive about your bone health, Vicki (and it sounds like you are!), then you have nothing to fear. 🙂

  15. Pamela Thompson

    I think this exercise is very good and I’m combining it with other exercises for my hips which now need exercising after having had both hip bones replaced 17 years ago due to avascular necrosis.

  16. Ambleton Wray

    I found the info very valuable and will be of great benefit to individuals and could help lower back pains

    • Janet UK

      Me too! I will try this for the whole of my spine! I have serious osteoporosis and I think I’m under 5ft now! Nobody sends me for scans anymore! My weight is only 6st 8 but i have only ever had back and rib problems! These were found when I hurt my back and was sent for xrays in 2007! Just weaning off prednisalone for polymyalgia! I think I’m getting there!

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