3 Planes of Motion

While the human body can move in endless ways, there are 3 fundamental planes of motion.

They are:

  1. Sagittal – The sagittal plane divides the body into right and left sides. Movements in the sagittal plane are flexion and extension. Biceps curls is an example of flexion in the sagittal plane. Other exercise include squats, lunges and shoulder presses.
  2. Frontal – The frontal plane divides the body into front and back sides. Movements in the frontal plane are abduction and adduction. Exercise that move in the frontal plane generally move away from the body or move side to side. Think lateral lunges and side belt raises.
  3. Transverse – The transverse plane divides the body into top and bottom. Movements in the transverse plane involve twisting, internal and external rotation. Think about the Russian Twist core exercise. The bench press also takes place in the transverse plane.

3 Planes of Motion

Many movements incorporate all three planes of movement. Because of this it’s important to include multi-plane exercises in the gym.

I love squats and deadlifts and program them all the time. But they’re all in one plane so it’s important to add exercise that involve all the planes and get you moving in every direction.

Most movements are limited to the frontal and sagittal plane. You don’t see many people do exercise in the transverse plane. But if you play any sport especially tennis, golf, or baseball, you need to make sure you’re training in the transverse plane because all those sports have heavy rotational demands.

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