Did you know that all movements of the body can be categorized into three planes of motion? 

A plane of motion describes movements occurring in the anatomical position.   All three planes of motion are are important to utilize, in order to avoid injury.

In this video, our corporate mascot, Sascha encourages Elizabeth to utilize all three planes of motion.

The Sagittal Plane divides the body into left half and right half, and the movements that occur in that plane are flexion and extension.

The Frontal plane (a.k.a Coronal Plane) divides the body laterally from side to side into front half and back half and abduction and adduction occur in that plane. 

The Transverse plane divides the body horizontally (superior and inferior) into top half and bottom half and rotation happens in that plane.

 

O.K., why does this matter??

Many popular exercises occur in the sagittal plane that is, forward and backward motion. Think running, elliptical-ling, biking, squatting, and the good old favorite bicep curl: all sagittal plane of motion.  While many natural human motions occur in the sagittal plane as well; it is not a good idea to neglect the frontal and transverse planes.

Training in all three planes of motion will aid in not only strengthening but also stabilizing your joints.  It will also condition the body for a variety of uses and stressors.  Finally, training in all three planes of motion will increase your neuromuscular control on the occasions when you do have to move your body outside of the comfort of sagittal plane.

Think about moving boxes into and out of a truck on moving day.  You twist your torso to lower the box from the truck down to the ground; you are moving in the transverse plane of motion.  Think about having to side-shuffle through the crowded moving subway car; you are moving in the frontal plane.  Jumping sideways, out of the way of a renegade bike messenger who ran the light?  Well, this could be frontal, sagittal or transverse plane.

While these activities may not be a daily occurrence for you, it is important that your body and neuromuscular abilities are able to handle such motions when they occur, so that you avoid injury and stay healthy.  Adding some plane diversity to your workout will not only shake things up and keep it fun, it will also help keep you to be conditioned and ready for whatever life throws your way.