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Train to Take Longer and Faster Steps with Trunk/Leg Coordination Using Multi-Sensory Feedback

June 22, 2018

Exercise Example: Step forward or backwards with trunk extensions and rotation

The first goal of these exercises is to coordinate head, trunk, leg movements. The second goal is to target hip extension and push off to help with forward progression, foot clearance of swing leg and increase walking speed.


Visual feedback
Improve spatial parameters of movement
by promoting increased trunk extension and rotation.

Auditory feedback
Improve temporal parameters of movement by
promoting faster and symmetrical stepping.

Tactile feedback
Improve spatial parameters of movement
by promoting awareness of step position (length and width)
eyes looking at laser for trunk motion rather than looking down for foot position.

Walking requires us to move the hip 10-15 degrees beyond normal
extension in standing in order to achieve propulsion from the leg and foot.

Without Feedback
Decreased hip extension, push off
and trunk rotation
Decreased dissociation of hip/trunk
With Feedback
Improved hip and trunk extension,
push off and trunk rotation
Improved dissociation of hip/trunk

In this exercise feedback may help someone who:

  • Stiffens their trunk to hold upright when increasing speed or length of steps
  • Unable to dissociate head and trunk or trunk and leg while stepping
  • Heavily relies on vision for walking and requires increased proprioceptive training
Substitutions can occur if the hip won’t extend (I.e. Hyperextension of the lumbar spine).

If there is limited hip mobility then after mobilizations and stretching this exercise can help train a new pattern of using the new range of hip extension.

To replace a poor pattern (i.e leaning forward at the trunk to bring leg behind) this exercise will help a client to move in a new pattern (trunk erect and hip extended). Movement is the only way the CNS gets information. For anyone who has ever lost work on a computer you know you need to save it frequently to maintain it. To maintain a new movement pattern with new range of motion you have to continue to exercise and then use it in function (i.e. walking).