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Your body does not move in just one direction. You can move forward, back, side to side and even rotate. Sometimes you perform these motions at the same time at different joints of your body. These movements happen in different planes of motion and are called mulitplanar. You can incorporate multiplanar exercises into your workouts as a way to enhance movement, fitness and performance.
Planes of Motion
You body has three planes of motion, according to the American Council on Exercise: sagittal, frontal and transverse. The sagittal plane divides your body into right and left halves. In this plane, flexion and extension occur. The frontal plane divides your body into anterior and posterior halves, or front and back. In the frontal plane, abduction and adduction occur. The transverse plane divides your body into an upper and lower half. Internal and external rotation occur in the transverse plane.
Traditionally workouts were broken up into body parts and you moved in one plane of motion at at time, according to the IDEA Health and Fitness Association. This is an easy method of approaching workouts and it still has benefits, but is not appropriate for all groups of people. Multiplanar exercises work in more than one direction at a time. You can combine rotation with flexion and extension, or any combination of movements that mimic activities you perform every day or in sports.
A medicine ball is a versatile tool that is easy to use for multi-planar exercise. A diagonal chop incorporates all three planes of motion. Hold a medicine ball with both hands and stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Keeping your elbows slightly bent, bring the ball up by your right ear. Bring the ball across and down your body, rotating and bending to bring it down by your left knee or leg. Bring it back up to the start position for one complete repetition. Repeat in both directions.
Medicine Ball Lunge with Twist
A lunge and twist with a medicine ball works in the sagittal and transverse planes. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding the medicine ball directly in front of you at chest height. Step with your right foot into a lunge position. As you lunge, rotate to the right, keeping your arms parallel to the floor. Rotate back to center and step your feet back to hip width. Step with your left and rotate to the left. Alternate the twist/lunge right and left.
Bethany Kochan began writing professionally in 2010. She has worked in fitness as a group instructor, personal trainer and fitness specialist since 1998. Kochan graduated in 2000 from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist and certified YogaFit instructor.