Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Three Planes of Motion

Being 3-dimensional creatures, our bodies physically exist in three planes. These planes coordinate with the types of movement we train in:

  • Sagittal: an imaginary vertical plane that cuts our body into left and right halves Motion along the sagittal plan moves us backward and forward, like when walking or running. The goal is to employ both sides of the body equally.

  • Frontal: this vertical plane divides our body into the front and back. When you move along the frontal plan, therefore, you move your front and back parts equally. For instance, jumping jacks.

  • Transverse: Diagonal or rotational movement, like when you plant your feet and twist around to look behind you.

The bulk of training takes place in the sagittal plane, as does the majority of movement in general. However, it's important to spend time training in the other planes of motion as well.

One good frontal plane exercise is side arm raises, which tone shoulder muscles that don't always get a lot of love. Squat presses (combining a squat and an overhead press) are king calorie burners as they work every muscle in the body while combining frontal and sagital plane movement.

Along the transverse plane, rotational exercises are crucial core strengtheners once sufficient strength in the sagital and frontal planes has been achieved. In order to protect the spine during twists, it's important to maintain a neutral spine. This means we train the hips and ankles to mobilize properly to allow the body to rotate without using the spine to flex or twist. This is a crucial concept and one that must be mastered by everyone who trains with me.

Lark Miller
Infinite Fitness
Bently Reserve
301 Battery St. SF CA 94111

Phone 415.250.5236

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