Ask an Exercise Physiologist: weak glutes, osteoporosis and osteopenia | HerCanberra

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Ask an Exercise Physiologist: weak glutes, osteoporosis and osteopenia

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This week exercise physiologist Kirra Rankin of Capital Hydrotherapy and Exercise Physiology talks weak glutes and osteoporosis and osteopenia, with help from her colleague Kayla.

Great questions this week about weak glutes and osteoporosis and osteopenia. Thank you to the Her Canberra community for being so engaging and asking the tough questions.  Addressing your concerns is the first step in finding answers.

I’ll get to the other questions on mountain running, the benefits of exercising with depression, HIIT and sciatic pain over the next month.

New here?

Ask an EP is here to help with all your health and wellness questions and challenges—lifestyle, wellness, pain and health.

Do you have a burning health and wellness question? Now is your chance to ask.

Each week we will pick a couple of questions, and help you solve your query. If we share our problems, we are more likely to solve them.

I have my wonderful work colleague Kayla answering the first question this week, so let’s get started.

I am 61 and just been diagnosed with osteoporosis in the spine and osteopenia of the left hip. I am just researching what to do, best exercises etc. Any help would be great!


Thank you for sending through your question. Navigating a recent diagnosis can be scary, particularly one such as osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t equal the loss of old bone. Did you know that it’s estimated that just under a million Australians have Osteoporosis? That’s approx. 3.8% of the population.

Good on you for doing your research—please do continue to consult your doctor before commencing any regular exercise routine, it is important that you consider any comorbidities to establish a safe exercise prescription for you. Your doctor may also be able to recommend a suitable allied health professional.

The intensity at which to exercise should be determined with your exercise professional (depending on your bone density scores) such as an Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist. Seeing a Nutritionist or Dietitian who specialises in bone health should be on your radar too.

The current research ‘Beck BR, et al. Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) position statement on exercise prescription for the prevention and management of osteoporosis. J Sci Med Sport (2016), currently states: ‘The optimisation of muscle strength, balance and mobility minimises risk of falls (and thus fractures) which is particularly important for individuals with osteoporosis. It is also important that all exercise programs are supported by sufficient calcium and Vit D and address issues of comorbidities and safety’.

In summary, supervised weight-bearing impact exercise and progressive resistance (think – thera bands, dumbbells, etc.) training alongside a walking program are the most appropriate forms of exercise, assuming no modifications need to be made for other medical conditions. We hope this helps!


I have had glute weakness and tightness for years.  Do you have a gluteal home program you could share? I’m very time-poor, so hoping to do the exercises at home. Clare, 32.

Hi there Clare

Here’s a program for you, with three glute stability-strength exercises, and two mobility stretches:

Download the program here, and I’ll also have an IGTV clip for you later today (keep an eye on the HerCanberra Instagram for that!):

  • Sitting hip abduction with resistance
  • Bridge with resisted hip adduction
  • Squat with resistance
  • Active glute stretch
  • Active seated hip abductor stretch

Since you’re time-poor, set your watch for 15-20 mins (3-4 days a week), and see how many of the exercises you can complete.  It’s all about slow, controlled, and correct technique—focusing on building stability and strength.

I’d recommend seeing an allied health professional who can assess your posture, muscle control and body alignment – especially if you have experienced weakness for many years. Hope the program helps you.

Love Kirra

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The information provided by Ask an Exercise Physiologist is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Her Canberra advises our community to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if they’re seeking more specific medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.

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