Purpose: This video shows how I introduce the Ipsilateral Step Up movement, and reinforce the important components to build on later in the progressions.
Most movements dogs execute, in conditioning and regular life, use the diagonal/contralateral chains that connect opposite shoulder to hip. This exercise trains the muscle chains that run same side shoulder to hip. So this exercise is especially powerful as it improves coordination through these often neglected areas.
Equipment: Standing Platform, 2 Balance Bars or other raised platforms
Targets: Side stepping up onto and down off of a perch/platform is a great body awareness exercise, and an excellent way to strengthen the hip and shoulder adductors, and also helps train the muscle chains that run along the median and transverse plane making up the core.
NOTE: The completed movement (shown in the second half of the video) should follow the pattern shown in this graphic below.
The progression variations of this exercise become Sport Specific movements that target the muscles needed in weave pole execution, box turn, and certain heeling motions needed in various obedience venues. Keeping the medial shoulder, psoas and hip adductors strong is critical for sports longevity.
- Making sure the platform being used isn’t too high is a critical component of this exercise. The carpus height is a good starting point. If the platform is too high, the dog will be falling to the side vs stepping, and unable to maintain alignment of the center of gravity over the platform legs. The medial shoulder is a very delicate area of the canine anatomy, and any strain of the medial shoulder stabilizers causes BIG BIG BIG trouble!!!
- Also, ideally, we want both ipsilateral (ipsilateral=same side) legs stepping almost simultaneously. Be on the lookout for just the front foot, and then just the rear foot or vice versa. If the pup is displaying the above mentioned behavior, it’s likely more time is needed with the prerequisite exercises, particularly Ipsilateral Foot Target/Side Step to Target: Foundation.
- Lastly, because RB is just learning this movement, I’m not overly concerned with top line alignment, simultaneous step down/up, foot placement, etc… That will come with time (and when he grows into those LEGS). In the progression of this exercise, I adjust my criteria to include a level top line and vertical alignment of the standing forelimbs and hocks. That can be seen in the Ipsilateral Side Foot Target + Weight Shifting video.
NOTE: I also detail the moment I switch from luring the movement (cookie making the movement happen) to capturing (waiting and allowing the dog to CHOOSE the movement).
There’s a lot of people who are pretty down on luring. Luring only causes a problem if it goes on too long! Once the dog is executing the baseline that I’m looking for (in this case stepping down with ipsilateral feet on the platform), and I’m reasonably sure they will be likely to repeat that movement, I make the switch.
It’s a subtle, but important switch, so I detail it in slow-mo a few times.
This is our very first, unedited attempt at this exercise. And it looks simple enough… But ONLY BECAUSE Ron Burgundy has been well prepared. Remember splitting is better than lumping.