In sport, it is essential to work on crossing over and loading on the inside leg to change direction and maximize performance. This exercise incorporating the Step offers multiple options and variations to develop this athletic movement..
Stand about 4-6 inches off to right side of the Step in an athletic position. Next, shift your weight to the right leg loading up and lifting the left leg up and across the front of the body. Contact the step primarily with the ball of the left foot and push the body across and off the step as the right leg trails behind the body and eventually absorbs the body’s load and decelerates the movement to the right. 

Now, the left foot will come down momentarily same and this sequence is repeated as the left leg becomes the inside loading leg, while the right leg crosses over in front. Repeat this sequence for a designated period of time and pre-determined distance away from the step. Rest for the desired ratio (1:1, 1:2, etc) and repeat for 2-3 sets.

1. Increase the speed of the activity
2. Reduce the rest interval
3. Increase the height of the step
4. Increase the side to side displacement 

1. Slow the movement down
2. Increase the rest interval
3. Reduce step height 

Developing a strong cross-over step (pattern) is critical for optimizing athletic performance, change of direction and body control. This movement is applicable for all athletes involved in field/court sports. It is effective for anaerobic conditioning, improving footwork, training speed, power and deceleration and enhancing neuromuscular control to aid in injury prevention. 

Brian Schiff, PT, OCS, CSCS, is a licensed physical therapist, respected author and fitness professional. Currently, he serves as the supervisor for EXOS API at Raleigh Orthopaedic. Brian conducts live continuing education webinars and presents nationally at professional conferences and seminars on injury prevention, rehab and sport-specific training. For more information on his products and services, visit