Injuries happen! There are a multitude of mechanisms and predisposing factors that can contribute to one suffering from an injury. One factor that plays into injuries is living in the sagittal plane.
Life doesn’t just happen in one plane of motion. Life happens in all planes of motion. Whether it be the sagittal, frontal, or transverse planes, daily life and sports live in these planes of motion. Some sports place more emphasis on one plane more than others, but training your body to absorb and adapt to stress in all planes of motion will make your body more resilient to injury.
Photo credit: http://andersonvillept.com/blog/february-2012-body-wellness-planes-motion
If your training consists primarily of sagittal plane movements, 2 things can happen.
First, you continue to train in the sagittal plane and in turn, it becomes harder to perform movements in the frontal or transverse planes since your body is not accustomed to it.
Second, since you are not spending time in the other 2 planes of motion, it can be more challenging for your body to control itself and in turn, the body can be more susceptible to injury.
Injuries rarely happen in the sagittal plane of motion. They typically happen in either the frontal or transverse planes. For example, an ACL tear. ACL injuries can happen for a multitude of reasons, but lack of control of the pelvis, hip, knee, and ankle in the frontal and transverse planes of motion place increased stress at the knee
So now that we know many injuries happen in these two “other” planes of motion, why don’t we train our body to learn and adapt to stress in these planes to become more resilient.
Sagittal Plane movements consist of:
Overhead Shoulder Press
With that being said, what are some movements that we can train in the frontal and transverse planes?
1-arm Cable Row
The 1-arm Cable Row involves a horizontal pulling movement for the upper body, but it also is forcing the athlete to have to stabilize in the transverse plane due to the cable attempting to rotate the body. This can be said for any 1-arm variation. Other variations include:
1-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press
1-Arm Landmine Press
½/Tall Kneeling Chops/Lifts
1-Arm Stability Ball Rollouts
Multi-Direction Stability Ball Rollouts
Split Stance Anti-Rotation Extension Press
Split Stance Anti-Rotation Press
Landmine Single Leg Deadlift
Anti-Rotation Single Leg Deadlift
Anti-Rotation Forward Step Up
One thing to remember with some of these movements is that the body may be moving in the sagittal plane, but various joints need to stabilize and control movement that may be causing instability in the frontal and transverse planes.
Start implementing training for your upper body, core, and lower body outside of the sagittal plane to improve performance in the sagittal plane, decrease your risk for injury, and improve your body’s resiliency.
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