Which Plane of Movement Are You Neglecting...

When training, we’re typical thinking about becoming faster, stronger, more explosive, and performing the movements or skills we’re doing to the best of our ability… The one thing we’re never thinking about, however, are the planes we’re moving through and how this transitions over to our game/competition day situation

Our bodies are designed for movement in a myriad of ways, and with young athletes & adolescents being in a developmental stage, it makes sense to develop and prepare their bodies to move in all of these different ways

Yet far too often, we get stuck moving one way or another… We lack diversity - and if you go and look at the majority of athlete’s who are at the pinnacle of their sport, they grow up playing multiple sports

Planes of Movement - The Youth Academy

We have three planes of movement that the body can travel through… the frontal, sagittal, and transverse

And the problem begins to arise when we neglect to develop young athletes through all three planes via their training. Far too many gym based programs will stick predominantly to the transverse & frontal plane… and when they do so, they utilise stationary movements, whereas those with a moving component can have a tremendous carryover for young athletes

For example, there was a time in the past where CrossFit received quite a bit of heat for moving predominantly through the sagittal plane, with some minor intention put toward the frontal plane, and the transverse was nearly non-existent. This is the case of many kinds of S&C programming done today however

Knowing the sport-specific requirements & goals of the young athlete is vital when thinking planes of movement. In this scenario, however, we understand that one may be more biased towards than another, yet an all-encompassing approach to development is key

Yatesy Deadlift - The Youth Academy

The Three Planes

Transverse Plane
The transverse plane is oftentimes referred to as the horizontal plane and divides the body into upper and lower halves. All movements in this plane are rotational in nature and occur in all the joints throughout the body. This is the least exercised plane and is hardly worked at all in most routines.

Izzy Box Jump - The Youth Academy

Frontal Plane
The frontal plane divides the body into front and back, and all movements in this plane are movements along this plane. The easiest movements along this plane to picture are known as abduction (limbs moving further away from the body) and adduction (limbs being brought in closer to the body.)

Sagittal Plane
The sagittal plane divides the body into right and left, and the primary movements in this plane are the up and down movements known as flexion and extension. This is the most commonly exercised plane in just about all strength training programs. 

Yatesy Bench - The Youth Academy

What Does This All Mean?

It means that as we develop young athletes, we need to utilise all movement patterns available to us to give them the best exposure to everything. We need to push & pull vertically and horizontally, we need to extend and flex the legs, we need to lunge & move horizontally, we need to jump & land properly, we need to carry or push heavy things forwards and backwards, and we need to rotate

At the core essence, it comes back to our six primal movement patterns and utilising them all to develop these phenomenal young athletes to the best of our abilities so that they can become the athletes & people they want to become

Nick Maier