This month’s exercise tip is brought to you by Empower’s newest trainer – Zach Connell.
Greetings, Empower Nation! This week’s exercise tip is geared towards changing our mindset for exercise to better prepare us for the day to day movement demands that life throws our way. Mostly everyone would agree that incorporating exercise into your weekly routine will pay dividends towards improving your overall physical health and strength, but more often than not, the focus on movement is one-dimensional. When the general focus on movement is simply to do more, we fail to acknowledge what the human body was designed to do.
There are three separate planes of motion that we can move in – sagittal, frontal, and transverse. Most movements occur in the sagittal plane, including: sitting down in a chair, walking up steps, or picking up an object from the ground. If you were to perform a jumping jack or do a side bend, then you would be moving in the frontal plane. Movements in the transverse plane are generally rotational in nature, such as jumping up and doing a 360 or spinning in place.
Most people tend to move best in the sagittal plane, because they are accustomed to walking, running, using machines to lift weights, or basic lifts like the squat and pushup. Very frequently, upon introduction of a movement in an unfamiliar plane of motion, people will struggle to display enough stability and balance to successfully coordinate that movement, especially when weight or resistance is added. However, becoming proficient in movements about each plane will build supporting muscle around all areas of a joint, which aids in injury prevention as well as preventing muscular imbalances..
An important reminder- everyone’s exercise needs and goals are unique. A professional gymnast or ice skater that needs to perform highly coordinated movements while contorting his/her body into different positions will obviously have to train those movements more than the average Joe. With that being said, a healthy goal for anyone would be to do 1-2 exercises that are multi-planar in nature per workout. Some good options would be- star lunges, (forward, lateral, and reverse or transverse), side-plank with a lateral rotation, or a lateral medicine ball toss. Another tip: have a personal trainer or fitness professional take you through a functional movement assessment. This will provide valuable feedback as to how well your body moves in each plane, and can lead to proper exercise selection that will empower you to move well in all planes of life.
Your homework for the week- find a way to incorporate at least one new upper body and lower body exercise in each plane of motion Good luck and see you next time on the Empower Blog!
Hope you enjoyed Zach’s exercise tip! Have an exercise suggestion of your own? Leave it in the comment section below or on any of our social media sites!