Planes of Motion Exercises
Your body can move in three distinct planes of motion: the sagittal plane, the frontal plane and the transverse plane. To get a comprehensive workout for your body, you should include exercises that move through each plane of motion. If you know what to look for and understand the three planes of motion, creating a workout based on the planes of motion is simple.
The Three Planes of Motion
The three planes of motion can be thought of as a three-dimensional cross. Stand up straight and imagine a line running straight through you from front to back -- this is the sagittal plane. Now imagine a line running through you from left to right -- this is the frontal plane. Finally imagine a line running straight down through you from your head to your toes -- this is the transverse plane. Motions occur in each of these planes; you can visualize the lines to help you determine which plane an exercise is moving through. Be aware that some exercises do move through more than one plane.
Sagittal plane exercises involve movements from front to back along the line through your body. Most common gym exercises are sagittal plane movements. For example, a row machine is a sagittal plane movement because your arms move front to back. Other sagittal plane exercises include chest presses, biceps curls, running, cycling, squats, forward lunges and situps. To create your planes of motion workout, make sure to include sagittal plane exercises for the upper body, lower body and core. Most cardio exercise is sagittal plane exercise, as most movements involve you moving forward.
Frontal plane exercises involve movements from side to side through the line that runs from left to right through your body. Frontal plane exercises are not as common as sagittal plane exercises, but there are still plenty, including lateral dumbbell raises, side bends, lateral band steps, lateral lunges and side shuffling. Choose upper body, lower body and core frontal plane exercises to include in your workout. It is important to include exercises from this plane of motion because you need to prepare your body for any movement that may occur in daily life.
Transverse plane exercises involve rotational movements in which you rotate part of all of your body around the axis running down from your head to your feet. Transverse exercises are often overlooked in workouts, and thus need to be incorporated into your routine. Examples include cable twists, medicine ball twists, rotating lunges, rotating chest presses and rotating rows. Again, choose exercises for the upper body, lower body and core. Many injuries, such as ACL tears, occur in the transverse plane, so it is very important to prepare your body for these rotational movements by strengthening your body in the transverse plane.