Exercises targeting Reactive stepping

Overall goal of the exercises

Improving the ability to execute fast and precise stepping in order to change the base of the support in relation to the task.

Overall theme of the exercises

Practice stepping in various directions and patterns. Preferable incorporating reactive elements by using objects which moves unpredictable.

Additional considerations

For stepping over objects, use only obstacles which are squeezable if stepped on (plastic cups or a cord). Using solid objects or objects which can tangle with the feet (e.g. pillows, boxes, sticks, solid cups etc.) can provoke falls.

To ensure maximal safety in exercise execution proactive stepping patterns can be practiced before progressing to reactive stepping patterns.


Key exercises Examples of progressions Examples of regressions

Stepping over a cord or plastic cups in a corner

stepping over cups


  • Stepping over plastic cups
  • Varying directions (forward, backward, sideways)
  • Stepping over two cords placed with (wide) distance
  • Cross stepping
  • Higher speed
  • Tossing a ball upwards (when the back is close to the corner)
  • Stepping between multiple plastic cups
  • Stepping over a cord
  • Stepping forwards away from corner and sideways returning to the corner
  • Slower speed

Placing the heel on a plastic cup alternating between right and left foot (promoting foot dorsiflexion and static ankle control of stance leg)

placing heel un cup


  • Higher speed
  • Changing between multiple cups
  • Placing the cups further away from stance leg
  • Slower speed
  • Placing the heel on a point on the floor instead of a plastic cup

Kicking a (big) ball to a wall

kicking ball

  • Higher speed
  • Using a light ball
  • Hitting a mark (or more) on the wall
  • Slower speed
  • Using a heavy ball