…plane of motion that is. Have no idea what I’m talking about?

There are three planes of motion: sagittal, frontal, and transverse.

At it’s most basic:

Sagittal = forward or backward (think lunges, running or cycling)
Frontal = side to side (side lunges or jumping jacks)
Transverse = rotational (twists of any sort, swinging a bat)

To picture the three planes, imagine slicing through the body, (like in the picture):

First through the center, dividing the body from the left to the right for the Sagittal plane.
Next through the body from the left side to the right, separating the front and back halves to create the frontal plane (front side and back side).
Finally cutting straight through the hips to divide the top of the body from the bottom, the transverse plane.

The body moves in three dimensions and an ideal training program would reflect that. However, most of us hang out in the sagittal plane all the time, moving forward or back doing pushups, crunches, squats, lunges or simply hanging out on the elliptical, treadmill or stationary bike.

People that are in excellent shape as runners or cyclists are often shocked upon changing up their programs and learning how weak they are in the frontal and transverse planes.  Building in exercises in other planes helps your body naturally prevent injury, increase your range of motion, and ensure good balance.

Plus, activities in sports and daily life require movement in all three planes simultaneously. A forehand in tennis, , squatting to lift and carry a toddler, a spike in volleyball, grocery shopping, and a golf swing are all multi-plane movements.

When you come to the gym or workout in any way, aim to involve all three planes of motion. Work in some side lunges, or a twist.  Do some jumping jacks or oblique crunches.  Develop a yoga practice or go to training camp.  This will ensure that your exercise routine has a better carry-over to sport and to life.