Weekend Challenge: The Vertebrae And Rib Protector - Save Our Bones

Today’s exercise can be practiced while sitting down, and I’m sure that you’ll be amazed at how much you can do for your bones with such a simple move.

As its name implies, the Vertebrae And Rib Protector stabilizes your upper vertebrae and ribs, and strengthens and tones key muscles in your back, shoulders, and arms. Plus this exercise is also a joint-friendly move.

Can you believe all these benefits while you’re in a comfortable seated position using your own body weight? You will, once you try this exercise, so let’s get started!

Why: The ribs and vertebrae are fracture-prone areas that benefit greatly from targeted exercise. The Vertebrae And Rib Protector strengthens the muscles around these areas of the skeleton, also engaging your shoulders and triceps, thus stabilizing your spine and ribs. And in the event of a fall, strong and supple upper arms and shoulders can make the difference between a few bruises and a fracture.

In addition to the triceps, the Protector targets three key muscle groups in the back. The action of muscle on bone increases bone density (as Savers know), plus an added bonus is that this back-toning exercise also helps to get rid of the unsightly “bra bulge.”

  • The trapezius muscle is usually associated with just the top of the shoulders, but it covers a surprisingly large area. This muscle group attaches at the neck and spreads across the top of the shoulders and shoulder blades. It comes in and attaches to the thoracic vertebrae, ending right where the ribcage stops.

    The Protector works the lower part of the “traps,” toning your mid-back (where your bra strap runs) and stabilizing the ribs and thoracic vertebrae.

  • The latissimus dorsi help stabilize your torso. The “lats” are a rather large group of muscles, and they lie under the traps. They attach to your upper arm bone (humerus) up near your armpit, and spread out to form a sheet of muscle that covers the lower halves of your back and attaching at the top of the pelvis and the sacral vertebrae at the very bottom of the spine.

    When you have strong lats, it enhances your posture and the stability of your torso and back. It covers a lot of territory, so working it has the potential for enhancing bone density in many areas of your skeleton.

  • The pectoralis minor, located in the chest, is often overlooked while the pectoralis major gets more attention (primarily because it’s more visible). But the pectoralis minor is a very important chest muscle even though it is small. It attaches to the top inside of the shoulder and to the second, third, and fourth ribs down from the top. It’s essential for the proper up-and-down motion of the scapula (shoulder blade), which means it’s associated with proper posture and rib alignment. Working the pectoralis minor is also a great way to build bone density in the ribs.

How: Since the Vertebrae And Rib Protector is a seated exercise, all you need to get started is a chair.

  1. Sit up straight on the edge of your chair, feet flat on the floor and arms at your sides.
  2. Place your palms on the edge of the seat.
  3. Press down with your arms as if lifting your bottom off the seat. You don’t have to physically lift yourself off the seat; just push down as if you are. (And if you do lift yourself, that’s okay too.)
  4. Hold for 2 to 4 seconds, and then release.
  5. Do 3 sets of 10 or more spread out throughout the day (it’s fine if you have to work up to this number of reps).

Advanced Version:

If you need more of a challenge, you can add abdominal holds to this exercise. While you’re pushing up with your arms, tighten your stomach muscles to lift your bottom off the chair.

I recommend you practice The Rib And Vertebrae Protector several times a day. It’s really easy to add it to your regular bone-density exercise routine and your workday!

As always, I look forward to getting your feedback, motivational ideas, and thoughts in the comment section below.

Till next time,

The Top 14 Things You’re Doing That Are Damaging Your Bones... And More!

  • Stop The Bone Thieves! report
  • Email course on how to prevent and reverse bone loss
  • Free vital osteoporosis news and updates.
Get It Free Now

Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Sharon Jay

    Dear Vivian: As always, I am glad you are supplying all this great info for all of us “over 40”. I don’t see anyone else doing this, especially in such a friendly, approachable manner. You are providing a very valuable service and I hope you will continue for many years to come. Best regards from New Jersey. SJ

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thank you, Sharon! I have no plans to stop sharing valuable information any time soon. 🙂

  2. Anne Kelly

    Vivian I have ur save your bones book. I am very interested in epigenetics proves u r not stuck with the bones you have. I have had nine fractures four at one time did not even fall to cause same. Would it be safe for me to do such excercies I have other things wrong in my back I am very hunched at top of my back/shoulders God Bless u in ur great work. Anne

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Isn’t that good news about epigenetics? 🙂 I am sorry to hear about your fractures, however! Please be careful about your exercise – since I don’t know your health history, I can’t recommend what specific exercises are right for you. 🙂

  3. mary

    Thank you very much maam,I have done the exercise & I really love it….thanks once again.

  4. Betty

    Adding my thanks to the many others for the exercises. Nutrition and exercise information from you has been very valuable!

  5. marion

    Many thanks Doctor Simple and useful stenches, i tried today in the office. Thank you for saving bones. Am taking calcium is good for my back. Please Doc Advise.

    • Marion

      Sorry Dr. I meant good stretches and am on calcium tabs for my back are they good. What is alternative natural remedies.

      Thank you.

  6. Leslie ( Ms. L. Carmel)

    Good Evening Vivian,

    WOW! I Really LOVE This Exercise; From Weekend Challenge, The Vertebrae And Rib Protector. It’s Easy And You Can Feel It Working For You.

    I Tried The Regular Way First. And Then After A Few Days I’ll Try The More Advanced Version Of It.

    Thank You Very Much, As Usual For Sharing It With Us.

    Until Next Time – Take Good Care Of Yourself, And Stay Well.


  7. Angel Mietzner

    Hello Ms.Goldschmidt,
    I have done most of these exercise when I was a dancer, but since I retired I kind a slow down until I started to have pains on my lower back & neck been stiff. my Doctor referred me to a Neurologist for a consoltation & evaluations he wants to see my MRI on my L.B &Spine Neck. I haven’t any pain in awhile before I saw this Dr. he prescript this pill pain even though I told him I have no more & I don’t any pills I do Alternative the of the pill is “MELOXICAM” I’m taking it but I have this pain on my “DELTOID”. Especially when I lift it up over my head .So My Question is should I take this pill even though I have NO Pain?

    Thank you for all you’re doing I truly enjoin your Information, God Bless You.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Angel, your decision to take any medication is entirely yours – not your doctor’s or anyone else’s! If you are not comfortable taking the pain pill – which makes sense since you said you’re not in pain – then you can decide not to. It’s as simple as that. 🙂

  8. John

    You make a very good point here that stronger muscles protect bones. These exercises do not actually “build” bones but “protect” bones. Much of the literature states cycling (for example) is a no no because it isn’t impact, yet it contributes to stronger muscles that does help protect the underlying bone. We need both to manage our disorder. You are spot on with this one.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thank you for pointing that out, John! Non-weight-bearing exercise does build muscle which protects bone, whereas weight-bearing exercises do help stimulate bone growth. 🙂 That’s why the Save Our Bones approach includes both!

  9. Sylvia

    This exercise works best sitting on a bench as your picture seems to show. Then put a small pillow on each side under my hands. If I make my hands in a fist, I can actually lift myself up.

  10. Mary

    Hi Vivian,please can you advise when it would be safe to start exercises, I have collapsed the third vertebrae in my spine about eight weeks ago hopefully hear from you.

  11. Mary/Ian Dowie

    Hi Vivian almost eight weeks ago I collapsed the third vertebrae in my spine when would it be safe to start excerising?

  12. Shahnaz Azam

    Hi Vivian
    I love your weekend exercises along with everything else you are doing for us “savers”. I have OA in y knees, and I can’t do high impact exercise. Theses exercises are very helpful(most of them). I wish there was something for OA too.
    Stay blessed

  13. Annabelle

    Thanks again for the timely reminder. Always look forward to your emails. They keep me mindful of my bone health and stop me being lazy!

  14. Jo

    Hi Vivian,
    Your excercises are so helpful and easy to do and do not take much time. Thank youi so very much. Jo

  15. Juanita Wells

    Just been diagnosed with a-Fib and have shortness of breath until the chiropractor puts 3 ribs back in place. This simple exercise will help to keep those pesky ribs in place. Thx

  16. cindy beresford

    Weekend challenges are amazing Vivien. I do wished we could get them in a booklet of some kind. I cant remember them all and do forget to do them. Thank you for all the amazing work you do. You are greatly appreciated.

    • Ann

      I bookmark them and have also printed then out and put them in a folder, which I take with me when I go to the gym.

  17. Frances Maas

    Is there a liquid calcium/vitamins. I’m having some difficulty swallowing so many pills. Thank you

  18. Helene

    I love this one although I have to work up to doing 10 repetitions. Tx

  19. Marlene Villar

    Good morning Vivian,
    Thank you very much for sharing different exercises to help all of us.
    All the emails from others are also encouraging. I used to do this exercise, but at the moment I need to focus more on my lower back.
    Unfortunately, I slipped and fell on my back while mopping my kitchen
    floor last month. I thank GOD, there were no broken bones. I noticed
    that when I sit for too long, I feel pain in my lower back. So I’m strengthening my lower back with exercise.
    Have a wonderful day Vivian and take care always. Marlene

  20. Marilyn Engle

    I have been part of the Save Our Bones community for a number of years and love it. And, I love the Weekend Challenges. I would love to print each one so I have the visual right before me, but can’t seem to print just the exercise and then there are no pictures. Any possibility of the weekend challenges being published in a little booklet of some sort? I would love that. Thanks for all of your research and hard work on our behalf. Marilyn

  21. Marilyn Madden

    I find your exercises to be extremely beneficial and I do them whenever I have spare time. Thank you for the great tips!!

  22. Saroja Gopalakrishnan

    I am forever thankful to you for the great exercises and other informations for the osteoporosis community.

  23. Susan

    What am I doing/not doing – I feel this in my arms and abs only.

  24. Jean

    Thank God for you. Your messages are relevant and rather helpful. Keep up the great work that you are doing. Many of us are benefiting therefrom. Am praying for you. Have a blessed day!

  25. carla

    my arms are too short to reach the seat of the chairs. can I use the arms of the chair or make fists on the seat?
    thanks again for all you do for us!

  26. Anberiya Hanifa

    All of us must thank you for giving us these exercises. Thank you so much.

  27. Helen Merritt

    I would like something for the lower back, particularly above and to the left of the right hip bone. But what ever would strengthen the lower back would be good.

  28. Carla Riffel

    Your Weekend challenges are the highlight of my Saturday. I can’t wait to get up and see what you have in store for us. Thank you so much for all your help, Vivian.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I am so glad to hear you’re motivated, Carla! 🙂

  29. L.D.

    Another timely exercise. My ribs have been wicked lately and trying to stretch more hasn’t helped. Was getting very discouraged not making good progress with dowagers and having discomfort.. Thanks Vivian I think this could be a great help…

  30. MARY

    When extending my arms to the chair’s seat, in order to lift, I must slightly lean forward (rounding my shoulders) to lift myself. Is this the correct procedure, am I missing something or are my arms too short for my body…lol? Thanks for all these wonderful exercise you’ve been sending and am adding them to my workout.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You should be sitting straight with your shoulders back for this exercise, Mary! Maybe it would help to try a different chair. 🙂

  31. Cora Diamond

    Do not see the pectoralis minor on this diagram but I’m doing this exercise starting Today. I also like the up on toes down on heels one you have shared in the past.


    Thanks for the many exercises. I’m very bad with being inconsistent and have only been walking off and on. Really I have to call it procrastination. Lately my neck has been hurting something awful. Do you have any suggestions/exercises for that? I fear I am in serious trouble. I’ve a lot to deal with; I’m diabetic and hypertensive as well. Thanks for your response. Keep up the good work.

  33. Mary Walsh

    Thanks for this exercise, have you one for lower back please that’s my worst area.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thanks for the feedback, Mary! The lower back is also a key area that can benefit from targeted exercise. 🙂

  34. Joan

    Vivian Identifing the muscles was very helpful also providing the simple excercises will certainly be very beneficial to us

    Thanks for your care

  35. Carol Williams

    Thank you Vivian , I really liked that exercise. It is easy for me to do and easy to remember ! So interesting reading the science behind it.

  36. Sharon Davidson

    Thanks for the visual on most of the muscles identified. It really helped. If we had a visual for the chest muscles (pectoralis minor), it would be even more helpful; but this was good.
    Thanks again, Sharon

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Yes, sometimes it really helps to see exactly which muscles you’re working! 🙂

Get Started With Your FREE
Natural Bone Building Kit.

Get a free copy of our ‘Stop The Bone Thieves’ eBook, exclusive content that you can’t find anywhere else, plus vital osteoporosis news and updates.

Get It Free

Get Your Free Bone-Building Kit


‘Stop The Bone Thieves’ guide, exclusive info, plus vital osteoporosis news and updates.