The Importance of Training in 3 Planes of Motion

By Rob Nowakowski, TCR Coach and Personal Trainer

When you move your body in daily activities or even exercise, we move through different dimensions. Unfortunately, as cyclists, runners, swimmers, we can get a large amount of volume in one plane or direction of movement while lacking in the others.

3 Planes of Motion

Sagittal – divides the body into left/right segments; movements include squats, lunges, running, cycling

Frontal – divides the body into front/back segments; movements include lateral lunges, lateral motions in activities like tennis, skiing, soccer, hockey

Transverse – divides the body into upper/lower segments; movements in this plane typically involve rotation, swimming, golf.

The importance of training in all 3 planes

  • Prepares the body for daily life – i.e., picking up children, lawnwork, etc.
  • Prepares the body for sport – complex multi-planar movements help us to prepare for safe and more effective (stronger) sports performance; if most of the training/activity occurs in one plane we may “overdevelop” or promote biomechanical imbalances, by training in all directions we can help alleviate or minimize this.
  • Encourages variety.

How can we incorporate all three planes of motion?

Anyone that has strength trained recently at TCR or even attended the Altitude Circuit classes can attest to the “education” and experience they’ve received on the importance of moving in all planes, training differently than what they’re accustomed to.

  • TCR Altitude Circuit Class – why we’ve been incorporating exercises like Lateral Strides on the treadmill, Woodchoppers on the resistance band, Single Arm KB Curtsy Lunge
  • Running – incorporate side-shuffles or crossovers in your warmup.
  • Strength Training – Lateral Lunges, Windmills, Single Arm Carries
  • Vacation – doing different activities than the usual training norm – tennis, golf, learn to surf.