Weekend Challenge: The Liftoff - Save Our Bones

This weekend’s challenge not only works many critical muscle groups, but it also improves your balance and your posture. It’s called the Liftoff, because in the advanced version, your arms are held outward and your leg is extended behind you like an airplane.

The Liftoff targets the back, shoulders, abdominals, glutes, and hamstrings – all instrumental in keeping your body upright and giving you a toned and more youthful look. It does not require any special equipment and you can practice it just about anywhere.

I’m really excited to share this double-duty exercise with you today, because it’s a great way to strengthen your bones while also working on your balance.

Why: As Savers know, good balance is vital to preventing falls that greatly increase the risk of fractures, regardless of the condition of your bones. In fact, a recent French meta-analysis confirms just how important balance-enhancing exercises are in preventing falls and fractures, and avoiding nursing home stays.

Interestingly, the study revealed another way in which regular exercise prevents fractures: it also improves cognitive function.

“It is therefore thought that exercise prevents injurious falls not only by improving balance and decreasing the risk of falling, but also by improving cognitive functioning, and the speed and effectiveness of protective reflexes,”1 the study concludes.

Quick reflexes can make the difference between reaching out and grabbing an object to stop your fall, and failing to react in time to catch yourself.

As you’ll practice the Liftoff, you’ll feel how this exercise effectively targets and tones key muscles groups, including your core muscles. A strong, supple core not only improves your posture; it also helps you absorb the shock if you do fall.

The Liftoff also strengthens your back, which improves posture and helps prevent Dowager’s Hump and other posture-related bone problems.

How: We’re going to begin with just one arm held out and the other holding to the back of a chair, and you can work up to the full-fledged “airplane” stance once.

Stand a few steps behind a steady chair, and then:

  1. Place your right hand on the back of the chair.
  2. Lean forward from the hips until your torso is parallel with the floor. This is called the hinge position
  3. Let your left hand dangle down with your fingertips pointing toward the floor.
  4. Now simultaneously raise your left hand directly out to your side while raising your right leg behind you.
  5. Your arm should end up straight out sideways, parallel to the floor. There should be a straight line from your head to your right foot.
  6. Stay in the hinge position and slowly drop your arm back down, and lower your leg to a few inches off the floor.
  7. Repeat this motion for 1 minute or for as long as you comfortably can, and then switch sides.

Advanced Version Of The Liftoff

Once you’re ready to move on to the advanced version, it’s still a good idea to have a chair back nearby, just in case.

Here’s how to do the advanced Liftoff:

  1. Lean forward into the hinge position.
  2. Let both arms dangle down.
  3. Raise both arms out to your sides while raising your right leg. Again, the goal is a straight horizontal line from the back of your head to your right foot.
  4. Lower your arms and leg back down.
  5. Repeat for 1 minute or for as long as you comfortably can, and then switch sides.

I know that today’s challenge will help you succeed in your bone-health goals. And please take a few minutes to share your Weekend Challenge experience with the community.

Let’s all encourage each other to build our bones, stay in shape, and prevent falls!

Till next time,


1 El-Khoury, Fabienne, PhD, et al. “The effect of fall prevention exercise programmes on fall induced injuries in community dwelling older adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.” BMJ 2013; 347:f6234. Web. https://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6234

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. martie evert

    I am delighted to know there is another way out!! However, I was on Fosamax for about 17 years, after a fall which fractured my pelvis. Then the doctor prescribed Fosavance, which is apparently better. Do you think I can dare go off the medicine? I live in South Africa and have just retired at 69. Thanks very much for this inspiring idea.

    God bless.

  2. June

    I enjoy all your emails, Vivienne, but I love these weekend challenge exercises. I am in my eighties but I am very fit. I
    do as much as I can as I really want to improve my balance.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      What an inspiration you are, June!

      • Rina

        Where can I buy your books, 72y and do not have credit facilities.
        Was also diagnosed with Osteoporosis.
        Lots of pain at times and need to start with the right exercise.

  3. Jane Shapiro

    I refer to your book often, and try to keep up with excercises and healthy eating. I’ve been told I need infusions for bone density health, but I am sticking to the Save Our Bones Theory!!!! Though I know I will have a tough time convincing my doctor, I know in the long run it is much safer and natural. Thanks for repeated encouragement!!

    • Zisis

      Trick Or Treat! Great pod cast. I can not believe that twice you got hit in the maze!! I love Scooby Doo and Bram Stoker too I saw the Johnny Depp film and loved it, I ralely need to read the book of The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow!!We dont ralely celebrate Halloween here in Ireland but I still love it, I love how the trees turn, I love the spooky movies and how I can read in front of a roaring fire!As for what you could be for Halloween, ahhh how about Zombie Fairy

  4. Pat B.

    Thanks for the exercises, most of the moves I do in yoga, which is so good for the bones. Thanks so much for all your help, you have changed my life, for the better.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I’m thrilled to help you and everyone in the Save Our Bones community, Pat!

  5. Midge

    These weekend challenges have been really great and many of them I will be doing for ever!! They fit right into my usual morning exercise routine and are helping all parts of me to stay fit or at least not deteriorate!!! Thank you so much and keep the good things coming!!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome, Midge! I’m so appreciative of your kind words!

  6. Aurora

    Love these tips,love the info and the simplicity of saving our bones . So many sites are long and involved. Your site is just right !

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      So glad you’re part of our community, Aurora! Yes, staying on top of your bone health is really simple when you don’t rely on Big Pharma 🙂

  7. Marlene

    April 12,2014
    Hello Vivian,
    Thank you very much for the book which I received
    four days ago ( SaveOURBONESPROGRAM).
    All the encouraging e-mails that I received are highly
    appreciated.Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
    Kind regards, Marlene

  8. Betty

    I appreciate the exercise tips and I practiced it today. I hope I will be able to do more than a couple over time. It improves the boredom of the same stuff when you send new ideas.

  9. Ms. L. Carmel

    Hi! Vivian,

    Thank You Very Much For Sending Me WEEKEND CHALLENGE – THE LIFTOFF!

    It Looks Like It Is A Great And Fairly Easy Exercise For Balance And Strengthening.

    Until Next Time – Take Care, And Stay Well.


  10. Dorothy

    I guess you can’t save your bones if you can’t afford the books.I am on a fixed income.

    • Hennie

      Dorothy, it would be great if one could get the book, but that does not mean that your bone health has to suffer if you do not have the book. Just keep reading Vivian’s emails and try to implement her suggestions in her emails. Often she will write info in there that is straight from her book. I wonder if we were to breach a copyright if we were to copy her email information on a WORD document for future personal reference? Maybe Vivian can answer that question? Please do continue to save your bones, you are worth it 🙂 🙂 🙂

  11. prabha

    Greetings of peace.
    Thank you so much for the wealth of bone-health information.

    Greatly appreciate you and the support that your site provides for an ever-growing community.

  12. Jan

    Thank you very much Vivian for all the Weekend Challenges. I look forward to getting them and incorporating them into my exercises as much as I can, I find it motivates me to do more. I am sitting up straight while typing this and am much more aware of my posture now – it is so easy to get into bad habits. So many older people have rounded shoulders and I’m more aware of this now thanks to you.
    Also I’m finding that I don’t get the pain down my arms that I used to have.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I am so glad you’ve found relief from pain, Jan. It’s amazing what a few tweaks can do – attention to posture and daily exercise can do wonders. 🙂

  13. Bufe

    Thank you for the tips, however there is something wrong with no 4 it does not agree with the picture ( shows movement of same side left arm and left leg). Which is really the correct one? the picture or the instruction # 4?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Bufe,
      Actually, the picture shows both arms out and one leg up. In the chair version, only one arm goes out. 🙂 Does that help clarify things?

  14. Susette Hume

    Vivian, I enjoy all your tips, which I greatly appreciate. A video of someone
    doing the exercise be really helpful. rather than just reading instructions.

  15. mary

    I agree with all of the above comments Vivian. Mary.

  16. Ella

    Amazing! Thank you so much.

  17. Carol

    It would be great if you could post videos of the exercises you suggest. It’s difficult to put the written words into actual “doing”. Need to watch someone doing them. Thanks for considering this.

  18. Josephine jane lim

    Would like to request a video or drawing for the exercise if possible. Thanks

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Josephine and others – if you do an internet search for “Liftoff exercise video”, you’re sure to find lots of options to help clarify the moves. 🙂


    Vivian, I apperciate all of your TIPS. The picture doesn’t show the arm position. Somewhere you must be able to find a better artist to illustrate.

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