Weekend Challenge: The Height Preserver - Save Our Bones

I’ve been practicing the Height Preserver for the past year, and I notice a great improvement in my posture. In fact, I feel great after each time I do it, so I’m really thrilled to share it with you today.

It’s an “active decompression” exercise, because its primary functions are to stretch the spine and separate the vertebrae, which helps to keep them aligned. This is the key to preventing height loss and reducing back pain.

In addition to flattening the back, the Height Preserver strengthens the thigh muscles, particularly the quadriceps. It also helps align and stretch the shoulders.

Why: The spine and shoulders are essential components to correct posture. Proper posture, in turn, is crucial to standing at your full height and preventing kyphosis (Dowager’s Hump).

Active Decompression Counteracts The Effects Of Age And Gravity

Spinal decompression is a specific type of exercise that spreads the vertebrae out to counteract the effects of gravity. Unlike most other mammals, human beings walk upright on two legs, so our spines undergo a unique kind of stress.

Over time, the spongey, shock-absorbing discs between the vertebrae begin to thin and deteriorate. This is usually blamed on age, but it’s largely due to lack of exercise, poor nutrition, and/or excessive heavy lifting.

While age does have something to do with disc degeneration, it simply means that as you get older, you need to be more deliberate about preserving and building this vital tissue.

Disc Degeneration Results In Height Loss And A Hunch-Backed Appearance

It’s not uncommon to lose several inches in height if your vertebrae are pressing together due to thin or compressed discs or due to osteoporotic spinal compression fractures.

Periodic spinal decompression restores the space between the vertebrae, allowing your discs to rebuild and preventing loss of height and kyphosis.

In addition, the Height Preserver relieves lower back pain that’s often caused by compressed vertebrae.

Check with your healthcare provider before you practice this exercise if you’re prone to vertebral stress fractures or are currently recovering from vertebral stress fractures.

How: You’ll need to be near a door or tall stable cabinet – something with a ledge over your head that you can get our fingers over.

  1. Stand facing the door or cabinet, feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Reach up and place your hands over the top of the door.
  3. Slowly bend your knees down into a squat, as you feel a gentle stretch along your spine and in your shoulders.
  4. Hold for 20 to 90 seconds (or as long as you comfortably can), then go back up into a standing position and relax for a few minutes.
  5. Repeat three times. You can practice this exercise multiple times a day.

Gravity: Friend And Foe

As I mentioned above, gravity’s slow downward pull compresses the vertebrae over time, and this can cause disc degeneration and height loss – especially when you do not use your back to perform bone-building exercises that keep it strong and supple.

If you’re familiar with the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, then you know that the action of gravity and muscle on bone stimulates bone growth. That’s why weight-bearing exercises are so important for building youthful bone density. These two opposing aspects of the earth’s pull create a “gravity paradox.”

Densercise™ covers both aspects of gravity in the wide variety of moves it offers. You’ll find exercises that make full use of the action of gravity on bone, such as Marching Jacks and the Side Lunge. But you’ll also find exercises that counteract the damaging effects of gravity, such as the Arm & Leg Lift, Super Woman, Flying Snow Angels, and many more.

Please take a minute to explore more about Densercise™ by clicking here. It’s completely risk-free – if you’re not satisfied with this revolutionary exercise system for any reason, simply request a refund within 60 days.

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Comments on this article are closed.

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  2. Pat


    I wanted to know if the back strenthener exercises are still valid as I have had 2 kyphoplastys and have several fractured T and L vertabrae. Stomach bulge, loss of space and height are obvious. Anything down the pike to help with this?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Pat,
      I am glad you are tuning in to the Weekend Challenges! This exercise information is intended for the general public, which does not take the place of advice from a doctor or physical therapist who is familiar with your particular health history. You don’t want to hurt yourself!

  3. Maria Mohan

    What is the most healthy cooking utensils (pots) to use when you have severe osteoporosis?….I am a member of the community.

  4. Edna

    I have been doing this decompression for a while now, it’s great. A traumatologist and a quiropractor recommended this to me. Just hang 😉 For people that can’t reach the top of a door because of height, reach out to anything you can reach and bend your knees your spine will love it.


  5. Chuck S

    It seems like you could use a chinup bar, if you have one. If you’re too short to reach the top of the door, maybe you could put a towel over the door and hang with it.

  6. Dee B.

    What a great site, Vivian! I always enjoy your exercise tips and reminders. Question: I haven’t tried yoga yet, but would like to start. Should I look for a class designed for people with low bone density? By that, I mean, are there movements that should be avoided? Thanks in advance.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Yoga is excellent for osteoporosis, Dee! If you haven’t yet, I suggest you search “Yoga” on this site for more information. As far as moves to avoid, a good rule of thumb is, if it feels uncomfortable – stop. 🙂

      • Dee B.

        Thank you, Vivian!

  7. Mary Bennett

    Change of subject. Can you re-post the information on Flu Jab horror please? Mary.

  8. Marlene Villar

    Dear Vivian,
    Thank you for this weekend challenge exercise.
    It was very good and I did it at my book-case.
    I will include this in my daily routine.
    Take care always. Marlene

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Another good idea for a location for this exercise Marlene!

  9. Jacque La Vista

    I love all your helpful exercises and info. Is their anyway to get a hard copy of the Densercise book? I have the pdf copy but find it hard to keep refering to my computer to get throgh the 60 pages.

  10. Liz

    Thank you for providing the means to print out your fine advice!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are welcome, Liz. It’s sometimes helpful to have things in hand. 🙂

  11. Betty

    I do some stretches and bend to the floor once a day, squats etc. Is this one ok for severe osteoporosis? Guess I will try it and ease the stretch gradually. Thanks.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Take it slowly is a good idea, Betty – let us know how it goes!

  12. Ita

    Thank you, Ita.

  13. shula


  14. Kaylene

    My problem is my right shoulder is frozen. Any suggestions? Also how do you save your cartilage, just had to have right hip replacement and don’t want the left to need it. I am only 54 yrs young too.
    Thankyou so much

    • Mary g

      In response to your froze shoulder. I was at a friend’s home and met her neighbor who said she had suffered for a couple years with a frozen shoulder (had been to chiropractors , accupuncturists, doctors, etc). What worked for her was finally a accupunturist who did cupping. Apparently it only took a couple sessions of cupping and the frozen shoulder was gone.

    • Marlene

      I have had 2 frozen shoulders. They are now fine. I went to physical therapy and received a bunch of exercises to do daily including band stretch and pully over a door. You also while laying down try to pull a broom handle over your head . They are others I can’t remember. A good physical therapist can help you.

    • Suzanne

      I read somewhere recently, sorry I can’t remember where, that if, whenever you get out of bed, you put both feet to the floor at the same time, you will never need a hip replacement. I know it sounds quite simplistic but at least it is something I can do easily, so I have been doing it ever since. When I started doing it I realized that until then I had always put one foot to the floor after the other so more weight on one side than the other and I guess we mostly always get out of bed on the same side so are very much putting all the weight every day on just one side.

      • Ruth

        I put both feet on the floor when I get out of the car as well

      • Suzanne

        Ps Oops, sorry. This reply was meant to be to the person who had had one hip replacement and didn’t want to have another.

  15. MT

    This exercise is similar to hanging from a tree limb, which I sought earlier for spine exercises from the Internet/Web/Cloud. 🙂

  16. Carol

    Thank you Vivian, I love this exercise. Because I’m 5′ tall and cannot reach the top of my doors, I found if I stand facing my refrigerator and hold on to the top, it works great for me!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Great idea, Carol! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Leslie

    I can’t reach the top of the door (I am 5’2″) so I used two plastic hooks (the kind that are placed over the top of the door and hang down – the hooks are not pointed but flat), It still does not feel optimal as to reach the hooks I have to stand on my toes. Any suggestions for us short people?

  18. Diane

    What if you are 5′ short, can’t reach the top of the door

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You can use anything with a ledge that’s over your head, Diane and Leslie – a china cabinet, entertainment center, etc. 🙂

  19. Sue

    Should any weight be taken in the arms/hands at all? Or do we take all our weight in our thighs?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You will find that the weight is distributed through your thighs and ankles, Sue. The purpose is to take weight off of the spine and shoulders so they have a chance to realign and spread out. 🙂

  20. Magpie O'Regan

    Thanks Vivian, this is brilliant, just what I needed to unkink my back and shoulders, and so easy and, almost, effortless. I can feel the benefit already and I’ve only done it once! Do make sure you wedge the door open though as it tends to swing shut if you don’t … Ouch!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Good tip, Magpie – you don’t want the door to close on you!

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