How to Assess The Step Up & Movement Analysis

How to Assess The Step Up & Movement Analysis

Functional Fitness Eduction: How to assess the squat

How to Assess the Step Up

The step-up is a relatively simple functional movement that provides a wealth of insight to a professional coach in an assessment. This movement tests the strength and mobility of a client’s quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and hip.

The gluteus maximus, being the largest muscle of the posterior chain, serves two functions during the step-up. It pulls the thigh into line with the torso and helps keep the torso upright.

The hamstring works to stabilize the knee joint and the torso at the hip.

Numerous smaller muscles, including the abs and lower back, contract to keep the client from leaning backward or forward. This includes the obliques which, if strong enough, prevent the client from wobbling from side to side as they perform the step-up.

The step-up is a critical component of any movement assessment.

(NOTE: If you’re not sure what movements to assess, you will find the Professional Coaching Blueprint to be invaluable. Inside this free guide, we walk you through the OPEX assessment model called Body Move Work. We’ll give you the tools to try out the basic principles of the Assessment and help you create better programs.)

How to Perform a Step Up Assessment

  1. Start by finding a raised surface for the client to step onto. It could be a bench, a box, or even a chair.
  2. Have the client stand an appropriate distance from the box.
  3. Ask the client to touch their opposite shoulders with their arms crossed and elbows up.
  4. Have the client perform the step-up by placing one foot on the raise surface and step up.
  5. At the top of the box, the client should keep the foot they began the movement with planted while the other leg remains off the box.
  6. Have the client then slowly lower themselves off the box, back onto the ground.

Take notes on what you see, even the smallest details are critical.

“Some things you’re gonna notice: you may see some wobbling as well as maybe some leaning to the right and the left. Also pay attention to how, and if, they lean forward or backward. If they lean forward, it means they may not have ample hip range of motion or enough strength. Don’t correct movement during an assessment. Simply take notes, and develop a program to correct the movement mistakes.”

– OPEX CCP Coach Michael Bann

Step Up Movement ANALYSIS 

What to look for:

  • The hip dropping upon lifting the foot
  • Inability to ‘dorsiflex’ foot as it lifts
  • Inability to flex hip
  • Leaning Forward or Backward
  • Client leaning or wobbling from side to side

Why does it matter?

What you see happen during an assessment of a client dictates the design of their program to correct unique movement mistakes. This is why an assessment, including the step-up, is critical to your success as a coach and the long-term physical development of the client.

Of course, the step-up is just one piece of the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program Assessment Model. While it can tell you an enormous amount about your clients’ physical abilities, it cannot tell you the whole story. Inside our free course we will introduce you to the four stages of the OPEX Assessment and guide you to start using those principles immediately.


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