Weekend Challenge: The Rib Fracture Preventer - Save Our Bones

While hip and vertebrae fractures are of great concern to Savers (and rightly so!), a recent study has shown that 50% of falls end up with broken ribs.

So I am really glad to share with you today The Rib Fracture Preventer, and I know that you’ll greatly benefit from it.

In addition to strengthening your ribs, this exercise also stabilizes the thoracic vertebrae and gives you a trim and shapely waist.

Plus when your rib muscles are strong, they help you take deep breaths to alkalize your pH, which is crucial for strong and youthful bones.

Why: While rib fractures do not get the attention from the osteoporosis community that hip and vertebrae fractures do, research shows that they should – according to a 2011 study, falling precipitates rib fractures 50% of the time, and low bone mineral density is implicated even when a rib fracture results from severe trauma.1

The intercostal muscles are thin muscle bands between the ribs. There are internal and external intercostals – the internal help with exhalation, while the external work to help you draw a deep breath (a crucial aspect of maintaining balanced body pH). The intercostal muscles support your ribcage and also your upper back.

The oblique muscles also have internal and external versions. The external oblique muscles lie along your sides and abdomen, and the internal obliques lie underneath them. This muscle group works to bend and flex your torso around and to the side.
Both obliques work with the diaphragm and other muscles in the abdomen to affect inhalation and exhalation, and the internal obliques are particularly involved in exhaling.

The oblique muscles also rotate your upper body sideways, with the internal obliques working with the external ones on the opposite side as you rotate. If you’re recognizing a connection to balance, you are right – the issue of “body sway” and its role in balance and falls has been studied, with the greater degree of sway indicating the greatest likelihood for a fall.2 (More on this study below.) The intercostals and obliques play a crucial part in reducing “sway” and keeping your torso stable while walking or standing.

You may not have thought of this before, but the muscles of the ribs, sides, and abdomen actually help improve posture and prevent Dowager’s Hump (kyphosis). Here’s how.

In addition to a host of other health problems, kyphosis causes the chest and ribcage to cave in. The above muscle groups are directly involved in expanding the chest and stabilizing the ribcage to keep the thoracic vertebrae straight and strong. Also, the thoracic vertebrae – the ones involved in kyphosis – are supported in part by the muscles of the ribcage and sides.
Now grab an exercise mat or find a carpeted floor, and let’s get started!


  1. Lie on your back with your knees up. Move your feet as close to your bottom as possible. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Facing the ceiling, slowly raise your shoulders a few inches off the floor. You should feel it in your abs – keep your back straight (don’t curl forward).
  3. Without tucking your chin, stay in the raised up position and bend sideways to reach your ankle. (It’s okay if you can’t reach all the way – just reach as far as you can.)
  4. Repeat 20 times or as many reps as you can comfortable do.
  5. Lie back down and rest for a few seconds.
  6. Raise yourself up again and do 20 (or so) reps on the other side.


  • Make sure your chin does not point downward toward your chest. Imagine holding an orange or a ball under your chin throughout the exercise.
  • Don’t lift your shoulders more than a few inches off the floor.

Prevent Fractures By Improving Your Balance

Remember the study I mentioned above that had to do with body sway? This intriguing research reveals much about the nature of fractures and bone density.

Scientists reaffirmed what Savers are already well aware of: increasing bone density alone is not enough to reducing fractures, and body sway (i.e., balance) is as significant a factor in causing fractures via falls as osteopenia and osteoporosis.2

That’s why the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System includes many exercises that enhance balance.

Of course, as the name of the program implies, Densercise™ also includes exercises that are designed to target fragile areas of the skeleton with the intention of increasing density and strength.

But that’s the best part – Densercise™ promotes balance and youthful bone density at the same time, tackling osteoporosis in two key ways.

If you haven't yet, please take a moment to look at the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, and discover more about this unique exercise program.

Enjoy the weekend!


1 Wuermser, Lisa-Ann, et al. “What Accounts for Rib Fractures in Older Adults?” Journal of Osteoporosis. 8 August 2011. Vol 2011, Article ID 457591. Web. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jos/2011/457591/

2 Wang, Fang, et al. “Body Sway Measurement for Fall Risk Assessment Using Inexpensive Webcams.” 32nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS. September, 2010. PDF. https://www.eldertech.missouri.edu/files/Papers/WangF/Body%20Sway%20Measurement%20for%20Fall%20Risk%20Assessment.pdf

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Joan Hunt

    I have a friend who has had breast cancer. She was told to take calcium and vit.D by her oncologist. Her GP told her to take Foramax for osteoporosis and now she is worried about what is happening to her
    Have you any advice?

  2. Sandra wilson

    Do you have any videos as in a workout program, that I could buy?

  3. Marlene Villar

    Good evening Vivian,
    This type of exercise is new to me. I tried it today and
    was able to do 10 counts on each side. I need more practice to achieved 20 counts. Thank you very much for sharing this exercise. Have a good evening and take
    care always. Marlene

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Good job, Marlene! As always, it’s okay to work up to a higher number of reps. 🙂

  4. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel)

    Good Afternoon Vivian And Commenters,

    I Agree With Elizabeth Birrell. If You Had A DVD Of These Weekend Challenge And Other Exercises You’ve Told Us About, It Would Be Easier To Do Them.

    Thank You All Very Much For Your Comments. They Are Very Helpful

    Take Care, And Stay Well.


  5. Dinah

    My life has changed since I used the advised about how to build bone density. Thank you Vivian. Keep on updating me. As soon as I get money I am planning to buy your books. I am in Africa – Lesotho

  6. w. m. coburn

    You programs are much appreciated!

  7. LynnCS

    Vivian. I have been on Actonel for years before the information came out about the side effects. I quit and decided to not ever take any medicines like that again. Now my doctor who is a healthy food guy too, wants me to use Forteo. I mentioned the black box warning about osteocarsoma, but he says it was on mice and on the end of their bones which grow differently from ours. I don’t know what to do, but have been approved by my insurance, so I have to decide. Can you expand on any information about the product? Lynn

  8. carol grace

    please work on putting your Densercise exercises on video as it would be so much easier to follow–JMHO Thanks for all the info.

  9. Jo Bowers

    Dear Vivienne
    Thanks for fixing the computer problem so promptly. Love all the material and my best to stick to diet as would NEVER take Fosimax etc. also keep up my exercise and feel much better and have less back pain. Also found info on forward head syndrome so appropriate to me. Have told many people to buy the materials. Just done 12 months so hoping to get another bone density to see if changes in osteoporosis level.
    Thank you, Jo

  10. Joan L De Yorio

    I have just been told that I have mild osteo, so all of your info on bones is so excellent. I thank you for all of your emails on bone density exercises…And I do have to start doing them…


  11. elizabeth birrell

    Vivian I like ur weekend challenges but wish they were on a DVD as it would be easier to follow and to see that we were doing them correctly


  12. Sue McDonald

    Thank you for all the wonderful information your site brings. The exercises are especially appreciated.


    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are welcome, Sue! I am happy to see how positively the Weekend Exercises have been received. 🙂

  13. marianne

    I have broken my ribs MANY times in the last 50 years. So – I am especially interested in this excercise. I have been doing the Densercise exercises now for 4 months and feel much more stable and stronger because of them. However, my March ’14 dexa showed -4.3 in my spine and I am concerned about this exercise putting too much stress on my vertrabrae. What do you think?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I am thrilled that you have taken up regular exercise, Marianne! As far as stressing your vertebrae, remember that there is “good stress” and “bad stress” for bones. 🙂 Good stress through weight-bearing exercise stimulates your bones to build, while bad stress (such as misalignment, lifting weights that are too heavy, etc.) can damage bone. So I suggest you make sure you’re also doing exercises that promote alignment and posture so the stress you put on your bones is the good kind! 🙂

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