Lesson 2: Planes of Motion:

by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

Video # 2: Planes of Motion

Image showing the sagittal plane Sagittal Plane bisecting the body - By Edoarado (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sagittal Plane:

Etymology - "shaped like or resembling an arrow," 1540s, from Modern Latin sagittalis, from Latin sagitta "arrow"  - think of the direction an arrow flies (Online Etymology Dictionary)

Definition: The sagittal plane is a plane that divides the body into right and left halves.

  • Motion: Sagittal plane motion runs parallel to this plane, generally in a forward, backward, up and/or down direction - Imagine being trapped in a narrow hallway.

    • Note: The muscles that move us in this plane, generally run up and down in the front and back of our bodies.

Activity:  Name all of the sagittal plane exercises you can think of:

Sagittal Plane Movements

Upper Body:Core:
Lower Body:Whole Body:

Image of the coronal plane bisecting the body Coronal Plane bisecting the body - By Edoarado - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17280383

Frontal Plane (Synonym - Coronal Plane):

Etymology:

    • Frontal - 1650s, of the forehead; 1971 with reference to the naked body; from Modern Latin frontalis, from front-, stem of frons "brow, forehead" - Think the plane of the forehead (Online Etymology Dictionary)
    • Coronal - 1540s, "pertaining to a crown" (or, later, to one of the extended senses of Latin corona), from French coronal (16c.), from Latin coronalis, from corona (see crown (n.)). - Think the "crowning" plane (Online Etymology Dictionary)

Definition: The frontal plane is a plane that divides the body into front and back halves.

  • Motion: Frontal plane motion runs parallel to this plane, generally in a side-to-side, up and/or down direction - Imagine being sandwiched between two pieces of glass (one in front and one in back).

    • Note: The muscles that move us in the plane generally run up and down on the sides of our body.

Activity:  Name all of the frontal plane exercises you can think of:

Frontal Plane Movements

Upper Body:Core:
Lower Body:Whole Body:

Transverse Plane bisecting the body Transverse Plane bisecting the body - By Edoarado (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Transverse Plane (Synonym - Horizontal Plane):

Etymology:

    • Transverse - "lying across," early 15c. (earlier transversary, c.1400), from Latin transversus "turned or directed across," past participle of transvertere "turn across," from trans- "across" (see trans-) + vertere "to turn" (see versus). The verb transvert is recorded from late 14c. (Online Etymology Dictionary) - Think the plane that "runs across"
    • Horizontal - 1550s, "relating to or near the horizon," from French horizontal, from Latin horizontem (see horizon). Meaning "flat" (i.e., "parallel to the horizon") is from 1630s. Related: horizontally. (Online Etymology Dictionary) - "Think the plane that runs with the horizon"

Definition: The transverse plane is a plane that divides the body into top and bottom halves.

  • Motion: Transverse plane motion generally refers to motion that rotates, pivots or moves horizontally medial to lateral/lateral to medial - Think of how your joints would move with a pin stuck straight through from the top (also known as an x axis)

    • Note: The muscles that move us in the plane generally run horizontally across our body or diagonally (obliquely)

Activity:  Name all of the transverse plane exercises you can think of:

Frontal Plane Movements

Upper Body:Core:
Lower Body:Whole Body:

Activity - Progressing exercises through multiple planes:

Before you click on the hyperlinks, try to visualize how the exercises in bold could be done in multiple planes: Push Ups

Pull Ups

Step Ups:

  • Sagittal: Step-Ups (Same video progresses through all 3 planes)
  • Frontal
  • Transverse

Lunges:

Answer Key:

Note there are dozens of exercises that could be added to the graph below.  This is just a sample set of correct answers.  If you have a question about a particular exercise please feel free to ask in the comments box below.

Lower Body:

    Whole Body:

 Lower Body:

  • Side Bending
  • Side Planks

 Whole Body:

  • Jumping Jacks

Lower Body:

  Whole Body:

  • Golf Swing
  • Baseball Swing

Sagittal Plane MovementsUpper Body:Core:
Frontal Plane Movements(Coronal Plane)Upper Body:Core:
Transverse Plane Movements (Horizontal Plane)Upper Body:Core:

Click Here for – Lesson 3: Joint Actions

© 2014 Brent Brookbush Questions, comments, and criticisms are welcomed and encouraged –

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