Why It’s Important to Understand Planes of Motion — No Matter Your Level of Fitness.
Are you a trainer? Do you exercise? Are you alive?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you need to understand planes of motion.
You: Why do I care?
Me: Glad you asked!
Because every movement you have ever done, or ever will do, occurs across a defined plane of motion. Injuries and chronic pain are often the result of compensations and movement pattern disorders that stem from our body’s “macro-movements”.
To put it simply, the better you move, the better you’ll feel.
Additionally, by training planes of motion, you can begin to improve your proprioception.
You: What’s proprioception?
Me: You ask a lot of questions…
According to dictionary.com: The unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself.
Well that doesn’t really clear things up…
Think of proprioception as your awareness of your body’s movements. With the help of sensory signals, your brain is able to constantly develop an understanding of how your body is positioned and moving.
It’s what allows you to touch your nose with your eyes closed, or throw a ball without watching your arm the entire time.
Without proprioception, we would not be able to understand how, when, and where to more — or how much force to apply to a given movement.
Poor proprioception leads to a lack of balance, dysfunctional directional movements, habitual bad posture, joint and muscle imbalances, and ultimately injury.
The best way to improve your proprioception and avoid chronic pain and injury is, wait for it… to understand planes of motion…and practice them.
That’s right. You should move in ways that you don’t often move. When you get stuck in the same movement patterns everyday, you begin to limit your proprioception.Perhaps you constantly reach for things in front of you at your desk, but never anything at your side. Believe it or not, a chronic movement like this can lead to joint or muscle imbalance and cause an upward rotation of the scapula and impingement of the AC joint, creating chronic pain in the shoulder.
Beginning to understand planes of motion is the first step to improving your proprioception and alleviating postural imbalances and chronic pain. The better you understand how your body should move, the better chance you have at executing appropriate movements and avoiding long-term issues.
So without further ado, these are the planes of motion:
Your Body’s Planes of motion:
Frontal: Divides the body into two halves(front and back)
Sagittal: Divides the body into two halves (left and right)
Transverse: Divides the body into two halves(top and bottom OR Superior and Inferior)
These planes then break down into sub-movements within their respective planes.
Examples of movements specific to each plane:
Frontal: Side Shoulder Raise
Sagittal: Bicep Curl or Step back lunge
Transverse: Cable Rotation