Weekend Challenge: The Middle Back Strengthener - Save Our Bones

Today I show you an exercise that will take years off the way you feel (and look!) because it strengthens the muscles in the mid-back to improve your posture.

I also share with you a fascinating study that confirms why working these specific muscle groups prevents kyphosis (Dowager’s Hump) and reduces vertebral fractures – including the dreaded vertebral compression fractures.

This easy yet effective exercise is called The Middle Back Strengthener, and you can easily do it while simply sitting in a chair.


Building a strong back means targeting the muscles that support the spine and torso, and The Middle Back Strengthener does just that.

Interestingly, the participants (aged 47 to 84) in the study I mentioned earlier did not engage in “unusually demanding physical activities”1 – so simple exercises like The Middle Back Strengthener are highly effective.

Researchers evaluated the physical activity of each participant, and discovered a “negative association between back extensor strength and both kyphosis and number of vertebral fractures,”1 and went on to say that “increasing back strength may prove to be an effective therapeutic intervention for the osteoporotic spine. In persons with stronger back muscles, the risk of vertebral fractures will likely decrease.”1

The researchers studied the strength of the back extensor muscles, which run along each side of the spine. The Middle Back Strengthener targets these muscles.

In addition, today’s exercise works the Latissimus dorsi, or “lats,” which spread out in an approximate triangle shape with the wide part of the triangle across your shoulders. They come down and attach between the 6th and 12th vertebrae, so they are right in the area that needs to be flattened to improve posture and prevent kyphosis.


You will need a small pair of weights (or even soup cans) to do The Middle Back Strengthener.

  1. Sit on the edge of a chair or bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Sit up straight with your chest slightly lifted. Imagine the top of your head being drawn up to the ceiling. (This alone feels great for your neck and spine!)
  3. Bend your elbows up at 90-degree angles and hold your weights over the tops of your thighs. Your palms should be facing each other (the backs of your hands will be facing outward).
  4. Keeping your elbows and upper arms against your body, slowly swing your hands out and back, contracting your shoulder blades.
  5. Bring your hands back to the starting position and repeat 8 times (you can do more or less as you feel comfortable).

Follow Up With The Forward Shoulder Corrector

I love to practice the exercises that work my upper back. They relieve tension and discomfort in mere minutes.

That’s why I like to follow up The Middle Back Strengthener with The Forward Shoulder Corrector. Both exercises work similar areas of the back, so you can tackle poor posture, vertebral density, and kyphosis from multiple angles.

Remember, There Is No Need To Fear Fractures… If You’re Proactive About Avoiding Them!

I know that fear can be an aspect of osteoporosis, especially if your doctor has told you ridiculous horror stories about people breaking bones from simply sneezing or coughing.

But instead of being afraid, take action!

When you do exercises like The Middle Back Strengthener and those found in The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, you will find a wide variety of moves to fit your activity and comfort levels. Many of the “Densercises” also target the upper and middle back, giving you even more options for building back muscles and staving off the dreaded vertebral fractures.

And you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are being proactive about taking action to rejuvenate your bones and improve your posture (which in itself gives you a more youthful look!).

With Densercise™, you can give yourself the gifts of confidence, better posture, and no fear of fractures this holiday season!

Till next time,


1 Sinaki, Mehrsheed, et al. “Can Strong Back Extensors Prevent Vertebral Fractures in Women With Osteoporosis?” Mayo Clinic Proceedings. October 1996. Vol 71, Issue 10, Pages 951-956. Web. https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196%2811%2963768-3/pdf 

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Birdell Follmer

    Hi Vivian! Thanks for all your generous help. I just turned 79 and have sciatic nerve damaged from my degenerative bones in my back. The only thing that seems to help that , is stretching exercises. I do not believe in taking meds. I will on occasion take a Tylenol if I can’t sleep. Keep up the good work in keeping us informed of good eating habits and exercise!! Happy New Year!

  2. Janet

    Vivian thanks for the info on how to exercise to strengthen the back
    Happy Hollidays!

  3. shula

    Thank you for offering us simple exercises.
    Happy, Healthy Holidays to all of us.

  4. M Konnerth

    Vivian – I strongly support back strength, but this exercise is for the rotator cuff. The lattisimus dorsi is not engaged here.
    To engage the lats, start in the same position where the elbows are tight against your side and your lower arms are bent at 90 degrees from the elbow…instead of ‘rotating’ your lower arms outward, move them straight back trying to get your shoulders to meet in your back…almost like sliding each shoulder blade, back and down towards the opposite hip. Your chest will open and push forward. This is the correct way to engage the lats.
    Thank you for all of the helpful tips, Vivian.

    • Ann

      I agree that this exercise is for the rotator cuff. However, to be more effective the person needs to lie on one side and work the top arm. Another method is to use exercise bands or tubing in an upright position. In these ways the exerciser is working against the resistance, either gravity or from the tubing. Doing the exercise in the way presented, the rotator cuff is minimally being challenged and because gravity is working agains the arms, the forearms are getting a workout. That is not necessarily a bad thing but it is not the goal of the exercise.

  5. lynn duffy

    Hi Vivian

    I know you take TrueOsteo for your bone health, but is there any other product you support?

    Lynn Duffy

  6. George

    Thank you for all you help.

  7. Annabelle

    Thanks again for your timely reminders and encouragement. Have printed your Densercise exercises making it more convenient to follow. I appreciate all the emails as they keep me more focused.

  8. Tania

    Just tried both of these exercises, liked the feel of them but wonder if they are safe for me since I hear crackling associated with rotator cup disease. I did them slowly and didn’t overdo but would like to do them every day, if safe. safe.

  9. Annette

    Thanks so much for the exercise information. July is my next bone density I’m praying for improvement . My doctor wants me to eventually do Prolia shots. I don’t no what to do. I don’t want to have to take meds for this. I’m really trying to stick to your program and have a great testimony to share..I’m so thankful for your help. Annette

  10. Dee

    Hi Vivian and Readers, I do a similar exercise on the floor. It is called the butterfly. However your exercise seems to be lower down. Thanks!

  11. Caz

    The exercises and all the information is gratefully received but not the constant bombardment to buy, buy, buy exercises, receipes, programmes, its never ending and actually one knows whether one wishes to buy without the constant reminders!!!

    • Mariana

      You are right and even after one buys the book is still bombarded with remainders to buy it. Why do I need two or more books for?

    • Andrea

      I believe that all of us need to contemplate how it would be if Vivian took an outside job, or made some other personal decision, leaving her no time to manage this site. At that point, it would be gone.
      This Internet site is a valuable source of information and community for those of us who are faced with bone loss issues.
      There is never anything wrong with a person making money by putting their talents and skills to work. It is a simple matter to find the areas on the site of personal interest and totally avoid the commercialization, if desired.
      I am grateful for this site and I hope Vivian continues providing this valuable service for us.
      Best wishes to all,

  12. Ita.

    Thank you, Ita.

  13. Luis

    this is a very simple exercise that I certainly will add to my routine. Thanks again, Vivian.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sometimes the simple ones are the best!

  14. Mary

    Thank you Vivian for all your great help. I have a slipped disk in my lower back so any help with the muscles in my back is totally appreciated.

    Any suggestions to help me stand up from stooping down to the floor. It seems that all of the books that I want at the library are on the bottom shelf. Getting up is getting close to impossible. A lot of people I meet at the library are having the same problem.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I hope this exercise works for you, Mary! Have you talked to your library’s staff about this issue? If others are having the same problem, then maybe the staff can help figure out a solution. I am sure they will be willing to help if they can!

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