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Planes of Movement

Sagittal Plane: Cuts the body into left and right halves, forward and backward movements.

Transverse Plane (Horizontal): Cuts the body into top and bottom halves, twisting movements.

Frontal Plane: Cuts the body into front and back halves, side to side movements.

We live in a three-dimensional world. Our bodies need the ability to move in all three dimensions.

Poor range of motion and instability in just a single joint can cause overcompensation. These alternate movement patterns can lead to chronic pain and injury.

By improving three-dimensional movement, you reduce your risk for injury and are more likely to achieve your fitness (and life) goals. 

Your ability to function day-to-day will also become easier and when daily function is improved, sports and fitness performance improvements will inevitably follow.


Every exercise performed in the gym can be related back to movements we all do in real life. We all push, pull, flex, extend, squat, lunge, bend, and twist throughout each day.

Most exercises are predominately in one plane more than the others.

Imagine each plane as a plate of glass that cuts the body into either front/back (sagittal), left/right (frontal), or top/bottom (transverse) halves.

Then imagine each of those plates to be a track that the body is moving on, like a monorail. If a movement seems to mostly track along one plate over the others, it can be classified as being predominately in that plane of motion.

The movements that take place in the frontal plane are as follows:

  • Abduction
  • Adduction
  • Elevation
  • Depression
  • Inversion
  • Eversion

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