Osteoporosis exercise class

“Strong Bones” Osteoporosis Exercise Program

Yes! Osteoporosis can be treated with exercise alone!

Clinical Physiotherapy in St Ives is proud to be one of the first clinics in Australia to offer the HiRIT Osteoporosis exercise progran designed specifically to improve bone density.

The 32-week program is based on 2 landmark studies from 2017 an 2021.

The 2017 Liftmor Trial “A HiRIT program results in a significant improvement in bone mineral density”

The 2021 MEDEX-OP Trial – “HiRIT improved indices of fracture risk significantly more than “Buff Bones” (low-intensity weight training).

What exactly is HiRIT?

High-intensity Resistance Impact Training is based on the science behind bone growth. We know that for bones to grow and adapt, they need significant, progressive load. So the program starts off with very light weights whilst you learn the movements and techniques. Then we safely, slowly but surely, increase the loads you lift up to a point where the loads equal about 80% of your maximal capacity.


Is it safe?

This is the best and most intriguing bit. Although the 100 women that took part in the studies had no previous experience in lifting weights, there was not a single serious injury recorded, with the most significant one only leading the participant to miss 1 week of the program. It even looks as though the program ends up being protective of injury and lead to less risk of injury in the future.


What is involved?

The program lasts for 32 weeks and will involve 54 gym sessions and 8 physio sessions over those 32 weeks.

Step 1: Book an assessment with one of our physiotherapists. Please bring your latest Bone Mineral Density test results with you.

Step 2: Your physio will take you through the initial set of exercises, which will be based on your current level of strength and fitness. There are 4 core exercises that make up the basis of the program and include squatting, lifting from the floor, lifting overhead and jumping. They sound intense, but we start with very low loads and vary the exercises based on each individuals capacity. Supplementary exercises are then given on an individual basis.

Step 3: Complete at least 2 gym sessions per week. These can either be done in our purpose built gym (included in the cost) or at your own gym if you have a membership.

Step 4: See your physiotherapist every 4 weeks to track your progress and take you through the next set of exercises.



$130 per physio session. Total cost of 8 sessions = $1040. Includes FREE access to our gym.


What does the research say?

The key result to come out of both studies was that the HiRIT group had an average of 3% improvement in Lumbar Spine and Hip Bone Mineral Density at 8month follow up, which is equivalent to most bisphosphonates. The control groups (low intensity) either did not change, or had lower density at the end of the study.

Another interesting result from the Liftmor trial was the participants in the HiRIT group GREW by 2mm whilst those in the control group shrunk by 2mm! We think this is probably due to an increase in disc health/hydration levels which has been known to occur with slow, progressive weight training.


Interested to know more about the studies? Links below!

  1. 2021 – A Comparison of Bone-Targeted Exercise With and Without Antiresorptive Bone Medication to Reduce Indices of Fracture Risk in Postmenopausal Women With Low Bone Mass: The MEDEX-OP Randomized Controlled Trial

  2. 2017 – High-Intensity Resistance and Impact Training Improves Bone Mineral Density and Physical Function in Postmenopausal Women With Osteopenia and Osteoporosis: The LIFTMOR Randomized Controlled Trial


For further information regarding Osteoporosis, you can visit the Healthy Bones Australia website at https://healthybonesaustralia.org.au/

bone density results from exercise