Movement Highlight: Stepping Out – Manipulative

Hey MovNation people!

Third movement of this week combo-workout. By practicing a particular drill each day, you will be able to perform a complete sequence more fluidly, performing a combo several times in row by the end of the week. Today we’re highlighting stepping out.

First watch the slow motion video below.


Practical use

Certainly one of the most self-evident movements, you will need step out when you need avoid something potentially dangerous for your foot or challenging your stability.  Depending on the environment, stepping out can be more challenging than it looks, especially if height, narrow and slippery surfaces are involved, and if on top of that you are carrying external weight.  Picture yourself stepping out on narrow rounded, slippery rocks across a river for instance, which a heavy backpack, and the risk to fall in the water with strong currents, or hurt yourself on rocks.  Simple movement patterns that are usually a a piece of cake in simple circumstances, become critical physical actions when dealing with complex environments.


How to step out efficiently

  • Posture. You want to keep all joints aligned from head to toe. Keep back straight, and keep the entire posture tight. Minimize extraneous counterbalancing motions of the body, especially on the sagittal plane. If you try counterbalancing with hip motion on the sagittal plane, you are almost guaranteed to end up losing balance entirely.  Did I write this exactly the same yesterday?  I did.  But today I’m going to add that it is especially true while stepping out as you are actually moving forward while carrying a load.  You want to control your posture because your posture is what allows you to keep the center of gravity of the external load as aligned with your own center of gravity as you can.  Indeed, when it comes to manipulating objects, your center of gravity, and therefore your sense of balance, are altered by the weight of the object you’re handling.  Keeping a tight posture and hold on the object support greater balance control.

Extract from the MovNat Level 1 Certified Trainer Manual

  • Simplify.  That’s simple, if you’re in trouble performing the movement with additional weight, keep it purely locomotive before you make it a manipulative, carrying action.  Yes, put that heavy thing on the ground and start with the basic movement, unloaded.
  • Focus a lot on your points of support.  Just like when tiptoe balancing, that’s right.  Step on the forefoot, not the midfoot. Stepping on the midfoot may deceptively let you think you’ll be more stable, but you will soon realize that it doesn’t allow you much range of motion in the ankles. This foot placement lacks sensitivity but also reactivity. Keep placing the forefoot so you can get the necessary feedback from your feet needed for adjusting bodyweight distribution and eventually balance. The greater range of motion at ankle level, will be essential for such adjustments. You will realize how much strength you need in the feet and calves.
    As you stride out, make sure to mentally focus on accurately connect with the surface that will support your front foot, but while keeping an “internal eye” on your trail foot.  The ability to maintain a strong and stable point of support through the back foot is essential at your ability to lead the front foot where it needs to go.  If your back foot is unstable, your whole body becomes unstable during the short but critical time where you are basically off balance with one leg in the air extending forward.  This will simply compromise proper stepping on the other side, and while you are carrying weight and have to step on a narrow surface with only space for your forefoot to be supported, that would be really bad news!

All right MovNation folks, you practice this now, tonight, or this morning, whenever it is and wherever you find yourself. All you need is a piece of board, the ledge of a sidewalk, anything like that.
Please remember, as long as you cannot execute this move without weight, and with balance, and a good posture, you have no business in adding weight.  Master the locomotive before making it manipulative.  Carrying a load while moving your body is an increase in both intensity and complexity (indeed, the object you carry participate in the complexity of the environment you are dealing with).

Efficiency is the foundation of true physical competence.

Tomorrow I will highlight the deep knee bend.  Simple movement, not so simple when having to balance at the same time while carrying weight.  A few reminders won’t hurt.

Now you movnatters GO movnat…Vive La MovNation!

Erwan Le Corre
Founder of MovNat

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3 replies
  1. Joe Cebul says:

    I just want to express my gratitude for posting these. It has been several years that I have been hoping to learn this information straight from the source. I am excited about finally learning the intricacies involved in each movement. So Thank You!
    And you look like an evil ninja in the new slow mo videos dressed in all black, with your hood up and your black VFFs!

  2. Erwan says:

    That’s because I am an evil Ninja. You’re welcome. However I might post a movement highlight once a week only starting next week. But I’m thinking of posting a workout a day though, but without all the details and explanations.

  3. Joe Cebul says:

    I think that would be fine. Between this site and what you already posted on many basic movements have already been described, although not in as much detail. If you are planning on posting videos of the workouts maybe you can include a slo mo version. It might help people who are still trying to figure out the details to make them more efficient.


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