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    Understanding Three Planes of Human Motion: Frontal, Sagittal, and Transverse.

    How to Exercise: Understanding the Basics of Human Movement

    Create an exercise program based on principles of multiplanar human movement.

    One of the most challenging aspects of developing a new exercise plan is related to exercise prescription based on individual physical need. Having a clear understanding of personal needs, limitations, goals, and motivations is vital. Exercise programs develop based on specific limitations within individual movement goals. Movement is the key word here—walking, sitting, standing, and all other practical movement is exercise. All of these movements occur within "planes" of motion.

    The three planes of motion, discussed here, are Frontal, Sagittal, and Transverse. Motion is defined within the following planes of movement:

    • Frontal Plane - Involves movements that occur laterally. This plane is defined by separating the body into "front and back."
    • Sagittal Plane - Involves movements of the body forward and backward. This plane is defined by separating the body into "right and left."
    • Transverse Plane - Involves rotational movements. This plane is defined by separating the body into "top and bottom."

    Creating an exercise plan based on natural human movement

    For today's purpose, let's explore human movement and the implications of specifying movement within specific planes to focus on fitness goals. Let's take a better look into planes of motion and apply this simple science of movement into categories of exercise. It may help to think of a standing human body, picture a standing human body divided into "halves." Again, the frontal plane divides the body into front and back, the sagittal plane divides the body into right and left, and the transverse plane divides the body into top and bottom. When applied to human movement, or exercise, it is easy to distinguish "types" of exercise by their functional design and desired benefit. For example, sitting into a chair (or squatting) occurs in the sagittal plane. This movement occurs in the sagittal plane because the front and back of the body travels "forward and backward" in the sagittal plan. An example of an exercise occurring in the frontal plane would be a standing or seated shoulder press exercise because the movement of the arms occur laterally, moving on both "right and left" sides of the body. Following the same logic, an example of an exercise occurring in the transverse plane is torso rotation. Twisting the trunk from hips separates movement from "top to bottom" halves of the body.

    Multiplanar exercise: movement in plural planes of motion.

    With a clear understanding of the three planes of motion, we can better understand the function of single plane and multiplanar exercise or movement. Many exercises or movements occur in more than one plane. Multiplanar exercise consists of movements occurring in more than one plane. Stepping up on a bench with a med ball in hand, working into a torso rotation, at the top of the step up, is an example of a multiplanar exercise. Multiplanar exercises are known as "functional" exercises because the body can be conditioned to become stronger and better able to accomplish "functional" tasks because exercise is progressive in all planes of motion. Obviously, training or exercising in all three planes of motion, multiplanar or training tri-planar, is an incredibly effective way to exercise the body for whole body, functional, strength and balance.

    We look forward to helping you become more familiar with functional exercise and the simple science of human movement within all three planes of motion. Please contact us with any questions or needs you may have. Make a decision to get healthier and better fit today—start exercising now!

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