While working out, some people may choose to base their daily exercise routines on specific muscle groups worked. However, for others that feels like a daunting task and the idea of strategically breaking down the body into portions to be isolated seems impossible. If you fall into the category of people who feel lost when it comes to breaking down the body, try this approach instead: Break your workout down by planes of motion in order to ensure that each muscle group in adequately warmed up, worked, and stretched/cooled down.
What are planes of motion? Planes of motion (POM) are the different directions in which our bodies can move. There are three planes: sagittal, frontal, and transverse. The sagittal plane divides the body into right and left and the movement on that plane is a forward and backward motion (think moving along the dividing line of the sagittal plane). The frontal plane divides the anterior and posterior (front and back) regions of the body, so the movement along this plane is side to side. Finally, the transverse plane includes the movement between two separate planes of motion and involves any sort of twisting.
Why Planes of Motion? When working in all of the POM, we are able to esure that every muscle group is targeted. Each POM requires the effort of different parts of the body. For instance, The sagittal plane works muscle groups such as quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus and minimus, biceps, triceps, abdominus rectus, and more. The frontal plane involves work of the gluteus medius, deltoids, obliques, abductors, adductors, and more. Finally, the transverse plane works a wide variety, including pectorals, transverse abdominals, etc.
How To Work in Planes Of Motion: Warm Up It is important when warming up that all three POM are adequately utilized. Make sure to move upper body, lower body, and core forward and back, side to side, and through the transverse. Try making moves even more effecient by doubling up planes of motion in the upper and lower body! For instance, marching with a tosro twist involves the sagittal and transverse planes of motion and will warm you up even faster. An example of warm up motions that work each POM can be:
Sagittal: Backward lunges, toe kicks, marches, Plank walk outs, forward mountain climbers
Frontal: Side lunges, jumping jacks, side reaches
Transverse: Curtsey lunges with a reach, plank twists, opposite toe touches
How To Work in Planes Of Motion: Burn it Out
Add weights and double up on POM in order to really get your burn going. Some examples of this method are:
Curtsey lunge with an lateral raise: Transverse and frontal
Sumo squat with chest fly: Frontal and transverse
Lunge with shoulder press: Sagittal and frontal
Even if you focus on one range of motion at a time, working all three into your workout will allow you to feel the burn in all of the necessary directions. This creates a well rounded workout for your whole body!
How To Work in Planes of Motion: Cool Down
When cooling down, add slower movements such as twists, folds, and reaches in all three POM. In addition, focus on incorporating stretches that twist you (such as a seated twist or supine twist), stretch you forward along the sagittal plane (seated forward fold, runners lunge), and work the frontal plane (such as straddle, side lunges, and bound angle). This will ensure that every angle of your body gets a fantastic stretch!
The main takeaway here is the you do not have to have laser focus on each muscle group in your body. Simply focus on evenly working each plane of motion and the results of your full body burn will follow!