Weekend Challenge: The Balancing Split Squat

This weekend I share an exercise that strengthens your bones in key areas, such as the femur, pelvis, and more. It also improves balance, which obviously gets more important as we age.

Speaking of aging, did you know that how you perceive your age plays a significant role in staying healthy in your later years? It’s been scientifically proven, and we’ll take a look at two studies that discuss this fascinating mind-body connection.

Now let’s get started with a description of the muscles worked in the Balancing Split Squat, and why it’s so good for your bones and balance.


A squat works some key muscle groups in your lower body, helping to build bone density in the pelvis, femur, knees, and ankles.

  • The glutes (buttocks) are the largest muscles in your body. They are, in fact, the primary muscle group that allows humans to walk upright. So it makes sense that they are vital for standing straight and having a strong, balanced gait.

    In addition, working the glutes puts healthy pressure on the pelvic bones, building strength and density and increasing fracture resistance.

  • The quadriceps (quads) are comprised of 4 muscles in the front of the thighs. Squats target these muscles, strengthening and stabilizing the knee joint and hips and building bone strength in your femur.

    When you do a squat, you can place your hand on your thighs and feel these muscles working hard.

  • The hamstrings run through the back of each thigh thighs, and are made of 3 muscles. They work antagonistically with the quads, so your entire upper leg gets a workout with the Balancing Squat.
  • Your calves get a workout when you do squats, specifically the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles. This helps strengthen the bones in your lower leg and your ankles.
  • The torso is also engaged when you do squats, particularly your lower back muscles (erector spinae) and the muscles that run along your sides (the transverse abdominals).

When you consider the delicate act of balancing, you can see how all of these muscles are utilized to maintain an upright posture and avoid falls.


You’ll want to have a chair or wall nearby as you learn this exercise, so you can hold on to something, if necessary.

  1. Stand with one leg back and one forward, as in a lunge (we’ll talk about the difference between a squat and a lunge in a moment). Toes should be facing forward. The forward foot should be flat and the back foot should be far enough back that your heel is off the ground.
  2. Hold your hands out in front of you, turned slightly out to the sides with your elbows slightly bent (as if cradling a really large ball).
  3. Drop your back knee down to a few inches off the floor; your front knee should not bend past your toes.
  4. Come back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat 8 to 12 times, or however many times you feel comfortable.
  6. Switch legs and repeat another set of 8 to 12.

You might be wondering why this is called the Balancing Squat rather than the Balancing Lunge. I’ll explain.

The Difference Between Squats And Lunges

The main difference between these two exercises is where most of your weight is placed.

Today’s exercise is a split squat, and most of your weight is concentrated on the front leg. The back foot is lightly touching the floor, but not taking much weight.

In a lunge, your weight is distributed evenly, and you’re coming down and back up with your front and back legs working equally.

Both squats and lunges help promote balance, and research is clear that as we age, balance is more important than ever. Amazingly, research also suggests that our personal perception of our age is equally vital in preserving our overall health (including bone health).

You’re Only As Old As You Feel – Really!

A remarkable study evaluated 47 men and women aged 63 to 82 years old, all of whom walked without assistance and considered themselves healthy. Then, while participants played a computer game, researchers periodically flashed a screen with either a positive (such as “wisdom”) or negative (such as “decrepit”) reinforcement about aging stereotypes. The words flashed too fast to be seen, but the messages sank in.

The results are fascinating. Those who received positive reinforcement about aging actually showed an increase in walking speed and swing time, while the negative reinforcement group showed no change.

Researchers noted that:

“The observed improvements in gait were related to the positive intervention, but were not related to age, gender, health status, or psychosocial status.”1

This is important, because it clearly shows that the positive reinforcement had a very real effect on the physical health of the participants.

The study concludes that…

“Interventions designed to enhance perceptions of old age may prove beneficial in helping to improve gait and functional independence among older persons. In the future, positive changes in society’s view of aging may also help to reduce and prevent age-related declines in function…”1

More Research Confirms The Health-Promoting Effect Of Positive Self-Perception

Another study spanned an 18-year period and included 433 participants. Researchers examined the participants’ beliefs about their own aging, and evaluated their functional health.

They found that those with positive self-perceptions about their age had greater functional health, which led them to conclude that

“[…] the way in which individuals view their own aging affects their functional health.”2

Amazingly, scientists found that those with positive age stereotypes actually lived 7.5 years longer, and recovered from periods of disability much faster as well.2

How You Can Find That Positive Self-Perception

It’s evident that your beliefs and attitudes about aging can go a long way toward improving your quality of life in your later years. So how can you get there?

If you don’t have a positive outlook regarding aging, then it’s time for a change of mindset. Start with your “vocabulary” – when you think of age, associate it with words like “sage” or “wise,” and consider what a wonderful resource the older population is. Spend time with other seniors who are active in their community and have an upbeat attitude.

Another powerful way to change your perception of aging is to get involved in activities typically associated with youth, like exercising on a regular basis, which gives you more energy and makes you feel and look younger.

The good news is that the Save Our Bones approach incorporates the whole body, which includes the mind. Abundant research points to the positive mindset that exercise promotes, including elevated mood.

With the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System you’ll be achieving a youthful perception of yourself all the while you’ll rejuvenate your bones and body.

Enjoy the weekend!

Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!

Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.

Learn More Now →


1Hausdorff, J.M.; Levy, B.R.; and Wei, J.Y. “The power of ageism on physical function of older persons: reversibility of age-related gait changes.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. November 1999. 47(11): 1346-9. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10573445

2Levy, B.R.; Slade, M.D.; Kasl, S.V. “Longitudinal benefit of positive self-perceptions of aging on functional health.” The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. September 2002. 57(5): P409-17.Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12198099

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19 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. NANCYB March 10, 2018, 12:34 pm

    Hello! Enjoying your exercises. In the Densercise routine, after completing four weeks of exercises in 3 sets three days a week, does one simply start over, or else begin to freely choose one’s favorites indefinitely? Thanks for your advice.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 10, 2018, 12:56 pm

      Hi Nancy,

      At the end of the four weeks, you simply begin again with Week One. Of course, you can add in or substitute Weekend Challenges for some of the “Densercises” if you’d like to change it up a little. 🙂

  2. Sharon May 11, 2015, 11:51 pm

    I’ve been having a lot of pain in my hips and since I had a fall about a month ago, I’ve had to go the chiropractor every week to help relieve the pain. I tried The Balancing Split Squat and felt immediate relief from the pain, so I thought I’d wait an extra day before going to the chiropractor. The next day I did the exercise again a couple of time during the day and felt immediate relief from the pain, so I put off going to the chiropractor again. I am very grateful for your program and even though I swim a couple of times a week, I’ve decided that because I go so much relief from this one exercise, that I would begin to be more serious about doing these exercises during the other days of the week. Thanks Again.

  3. Janet May 4, 2015, 11:25 am

    Oops sorry think I pressed the wrong button so here is a repeat. I follow you avidly and now aged 70 would love to exercise as in your programme. However, I do walk and stretch but with two hip replacements and fused neck, I am limited on making any hip movements/bends less than a 90 degree angle or over use of neck turns. I take your advice and only go as far as I can with exercises such as squats etc. Do you have a section in your Dancercise that reflect limitations on movement?

    • Customer Support May 4, 2015, 12:27 pm

      Hi Janet,
      That’s great that you are so motivated to exercise. 🙂 Densercise has such a wide variety of moves that it’s highly likely you’ll be able to design your own exercise “menu” that fits your needs. There are many moves that do not involve squats or large ranges of motion. Remember, Densercise is risk-free – you can purchase it, look it over, and if it doesn’t fit your needs, simply return it for your money back. 🙂

  4. Rita Clemans May 3, 2015, 3:00 pm

    Vivian: I want to thank youfor all the Weekend Challenges, look forward to them each week. Just had my 2 yr. bone Density test. Went to see my bone Dr. and because I refused to take the drugs he prefers, he no longer will be able to help me. Will turn me over my family Dr. I have been following your program a year this month. I have been following PH food balance and taking TrueOsteo. I feel so much stronger, able to do my yard work & keepup my home. I am 82 take no medication, annual blood work” very healthy report”
    Thank you again, God Bless. Rita

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA May 3, 2015, 3:37 pm

      Rita, it warms my heart to hear stories like yours. Thank you for sharing your experience with the community so others can be encouraged as well!

  5. Teresa ochoa May 3, 2015, 1:56 pm

    That is an excellent exercise for balancing, and strenght, which I practice often, holding, 3 or 5 pound weights in my hands.
    These exercises, are very important because we need to learn to balance, well, as many of us are diagnosed with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis due to a bad fall.
    Please continue to show, exercises, and give us more guidance, on diet, and supplements.
    We all need to share comments, here, so we can help each other, with ideas.
    Thanks Vivian. Since, I follow ur advices, I feel stronger.

  6. CAZ May 3, 2015, 9:35 am


  7. shula May 2, 2015, 5:05 pm


    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA May 3, 2015, 1:05 pm

      You are most welcome!

  8. Kelsey Fickling May 2, 2015, 4:51 pm

    Hi Vivian, I so look forward to your weekend challenges; I try them all; think about them more than doing them; but I’m told that even thinking them through can be beneficial . Thanks for your continuing good work. Blessings.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA May 2, 2015, 9:05 pm

      I am so glad you look forward to the challenges, Kelsey! And there’s nothing wrong with visualizing yourself exercising successfully. 🙂

  9. Raquel May 2, 2015, 12:40 pm

    Hi Vivian,
    I’ve always dedicated myself in following your program all through the years I joint in. There were two bone density scans done in between. The first finding was stable without any worsening of the osteoporosis and I was glad as my MD was anticipating a worse result without Boniva Rx that she prescribed. I searched and tried a natural Calcium supplement called Advance Calcium by Compassionate product for 2 years keeping to observe the your Bone Program. Last bone scan although I have no complaints whatsoever showed a worsening one. My MD is on me to take the conventional drugs but I have adamantly declined. My MD is watching me for another two years without her script as I commit that I will get better with yours. Could you help me with your natural calcium alternatives please ?

    Thanks for reading this. I had been so amazed and grateful to read all your e mails. God bless.

    • Marly Wexler May 2, 2015, 12:56 pm

      Dear Raquel,
      There is a supplement that works very well and has a lot of research behind it, called EZORB
      You can find it on the internet through whatever search engine you use.. i.e..google… when I first took it I had been diagnosed with osteopenia and osteoporosis, and after six months, that diagnosis changed, and I no longer have either. It definitely works. So there is one possibility for you.. Best of luck. Marly

  10. Eric R. May 2, 2015, 5:52 am

    Hello, I’m new here on the board here, I hope every one here finds this information as useful and enjoyable as I do, it’s wealth of information on this topic of bone health really, it is a fantastic place for information and diet, and exercise and good sense idea’s for daily activities.

    I am so glad I found out about Vivian’s work from a friend who passed on a copy of health magazine had a small reference made about her work and website in an article. This all occurred only after I had broken my left leg below the knee in both the tibia and the fibula at the tibial plateau, and then ended up with 12 screws and one large plate put into my tibia, and I guess the fibula just mended itself. But my left hip is now becoming a real problem and so with the information here and my therapists help I have about the best place on earth with this website being available 24/7, how can a fail?

    So far it’s been a very slow recovery but I made it this far, it’s the last few months that are the hardest. And I’m not really that close yet to being stable bone wise, my DEXA numbers ran as low as -1.7 my worst, to -1.0 not good but the best I had.

    I have epilepsy and for several years I went from Dilantin, which didn’t work for me, to Zonegran which made me loose weight I didn’t have to loose as I am quite thin quite normally, and then I was prescribed Phenobarbital, all three reduced bone density badly for some people, I am one of them. I was never on all three at the same time save for a tapering period of time at my Doctors scheduled dosing.

    Had my Doctors monitored this 5 years sooner I very well could have avoided a year plus recovery from a fracture that wouldn’t have occurred in a highly likely way. One look at me should have told my physicians, Here’s man of small stature and a slight weight bone structure, we better monitor his DEXA scan readings every year with a cut off at a predetermined safe level, but that didn’t happen, and so here I am. I hope no one else has to find out the hard way what happens when your Doctors fail to monitor your bone health due to epilepsy medications increased risks. Do your own research online on all anti seizure medications your doctor prescribes and tell him about your concerns before assuming they know exactly how your doing for bone health without checking your bone density first.

    A doctor in the health care facility I live in put me on Fosamax ! Holy cow bat man! From what I know now, that is a terrible class of drugs! At that time I knew little about this drug, and as soon as I knew what it is all about chemically in relation to your bone health it’s a nightmare, it can do to a lot damage to your bones in a very bad irreparable way. Do your research here about these drugs. So I put my foot down and said absolutely not, no way am I going to take into my body what for in many industrial ways is a purified form of a corrosion inhibitor class of drugs once discovered was useful for corrosion inhibition in underground pipes. Bisphosphonates are just bad news in a pill. My other Doctor who is my primary now just as soon as he got her prescription copy just simply just about jumped out of his skin.

    Sorry for the rant, but my options are dwindling fast right now, but I am looking at having to have my hip replaced soon, and yet I can’t until my bone density is back up from where it was last time it was checked, it’s that critical for me. If it doesn’t improve then not only am I at increased risk for more fractures and stuck in a wheel chair for what very well be the rest of my life. I have been denied disability SSD SSI, and Medicaid. If I had known then what I know now type of thing.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA May 2, 2015, 11:21 am

      Thank you for your contribution, Eric. I know the struggle with the Medical Establishment has been difficult for you, but you are clearly on the right track now. Keep researching, and don’t be afraid to take your health into your own hands. Keep learning!

  11. Glenn May 2, 2015, 4:13 am

    Thank you Vivian
    You are a breath of fresh air every week-end.
    I turn 75 in June, take zero regular medication and love getting your weekly exercises. I go to the gym twice a week and incorporate your exercises into my routine.
    I was diagnosed with ostroporosis a year ago and put on those awful drugs until I found your website and joined your programme. I’ve been on the improve ever since I chucked the drugs and followed your programme.
    Can’t thank you enough and please keep up the good work.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA May 2, 2015, 11:18 am

      Glenn, thank you so much for sharing this encouraging news about your bone health journey! Congratulations!

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