What does it mean to move in the transverse plane and why should we care? 

The three planes of motion are the sagittal plane, the frontal plane, and the transverse plane.  

Think of the sagittal plane as a forward-backward motion where the axis runs down your midline, splitting your body into left and right.  Movements like squats and deadlifts typically move our joints in the sagittal plane.

The frontal plane is a side-to-side motion where the plane splits our body into anterior and posterior.  Movements like jumping jacks and lateral lunges could be considered frontal plane movements.

Now we get to the tough one.  Think of the transverse plane of motion as splitting your body into upper and lower parts.  Though there are exceptions with some exercises, I like to think of the transverse plane of motion as a rotational plane.

Often neglected, the transverse plane plays a huge role in strengthening the musculature that stabilizes our spine.. Mildly important (*sarcasm*).  There are massive benefits to moving in all three planes of motion, but I find that many programs have limited exercises that move in the transverse plane.  

Today, we reveal a few of our favorite transverse movements and how to add them to your routine!  Don’t be shy – if you have questions, ASK.  If you feel like sharing, PLEASE DO.  Our bodies were meant to move in all directions!

The Three Movements:

DB Row to Press:  This movement requires a dumbbell and mimics the motion of a snatch.  The weight should stay close to the body and track in a relatively straight line.  Imagine this as a single arm high row that transitions into a press.  As with any exercise, you should start light and focus on proper technique.  You will begin to develop the proper transfer of force through the torso.

Russian Twist:  Russian twist can be done with or without weight.  You can also leave your feet on the ground or lift them up for added difficulty.  This movement should be controlled and deliberate.

Side Plank:  The side plank is a fantastic static exercise that can be used to strengthen the stabilizer muscles around the spine.  I believe the side plank is a fantastic warm up exercise to engage some very important musculature in your core.  Focus on staying straight through your midline and don’t forget to breathe!

Closing Thoughts

Remember that your ‘core’ isn’t just your abs. 

Our core is a 360 degree system of musculature that stabilizes our spine, helps us breathe, keeps our posture, and protects our internal organs.  Don’t be afraid to throw in some transverse exercises into your routine.  Focus on moving in three dimensions and moving your body as a single, powerful unit.

There are many exercises that utilize this plane of motion.  What are some of your favorites?  We’d love to hear from you in a comment below?

Until next time, stay moving!

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