In its most basic definition, fitness can be thought of as the ability of our body to adapt to the daily demands placed on it. It’s not just about being able to do stunning Yoga poses, run marathons, or hit a new PR on your back squat (although we do love all of those things!). Part of being fit is having energy throughout the day, being able to pick up a heavy bag of groceries or our kids, and avoiding injury in our activities of daily living. A great way to do this is by utilizing a multiplanar circuit.
To be fit in our daily life, we must train our body to move in multiple directions, or multiple planes. As humans, we don’t just move forward and backward, right?!
We must train in all three planes to move safely and efficiently. Training in all three planes of motion is also referred to as functional training as it mimics functional movements we must perform every day.
Here is a brief rundown of the three planes of motion. Note that sample exercises have been assigned to each plane based on the primary joint action.
1. Sagittal Plane: movement forward and backward.
- How it relates to daily living: the most salient example of movement in this plane is walking – how we get from point A to point B!
- This is the plane we typically train in the most. Exercises in this plane include: jogging, squats, vertical jumps, and most pushing and pulling exercises.
2. Frontal Plane: movement side to side.
- How it relates to daily living: think about any time you must reach out to the side to pick something up or step sideways to avoid colliding with another human or object.
- Some exercises that allow us to train in this plane include side lunges, side shuffles, and lateral shoulder raises.
3. Transverse Plane: rotational movement.
- How it relates to daily living: We move in the transverse plane when we turn to the side – think turning your head, backing out of the driveway, or moving an item from in front of us to beside us.
- Exercises in the transverse plane include golfing, swinging a bat, woodchops, and spinal twists.
During activities of daily living and sports, we tend to see injury rates climb in frontal and transverse plane movements. For example, a movement that often leads to back injury is picking up a heavy box and rotating with it (transverse plane movement). This speaks to the concept of specificity – we get what we train for. If we are neglecting movement in the frontal and transverse planes in our workouts, it’s no wonder our body wouldn’t be prepared to move in these planes outside of the gym.
Training in all three planes of movement during your workouts can help reduce your risk of injury and better prepare you to perform in sports and daily life. An added benefit is that moving in all three planes ensures that you’re training many major muscles groups!
This total-body workout will get your heart rate up, train your muscular endurance, and make you move in all three planes of motion!
After a light 5-to-10 minute dynamic stretching warm-up in the BLUE or GREEN zones, perform each exercise for 45-60 seconds. Quickly transition from one exercise to the next with little rest between exercises. After you’ve finished all 10 exercises, rest for about 30-60 seconds. Repeat this circuit for a total of 2-3 rounds. Perform a short cool-down in the BLUE zone for 2-3 minutes at the end.
Try to remain in the GREEN and YELLOW zones for the majority of the circuit. You might hit BLUE during the last few exercises because they use smaller muscle groups and are more static in nature. You may also hit BLUE during the rest between rounds.
Depending on how many rounds you perform, you can expect this workout to take anywhere from 20-60 minutes.
We use dumbbells and a medicine ball in the circuit below. You are more than welcome to substitute out other equipment.
1. Sagittal & Frontal Planes: Squat to Overhead Press
2. Frontal & Transverse Planes: Lateral Lunge with Dumbbell Tap-Down
3. Sagittal & Transverse Planes: Reverse Lunge with Torso Rotation
4. Sagittal & Transverse Planes: Spider Pushup (these are advanced – start with a basic pushup if needed!)
5. Sagittal & Transverse Planes: Med Ball Woodchop
6. Sagittal & Transverse Planes: Rotational Lunge
7. Sagittal & Transverse Planes: Plank Row to T-stand
8. Sagittal & Transverse Planes: Hip Bridge with Dumbbell Chest Fly
9. Frontal Plane: Side Plank (option for hip dips)
10. Sagittal & Transverse: Back Extension with Rotation
Rest 30 to 60 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
We want to see how you do with this multiplanar circuit! Post a photo or video of yourself performing this workout to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtags #myzonemoves and #effortrewarded.
Remember to catch us exercise for Fitness Friday on Facebook Live every Friday at 8 am PST, 11 am EST. See you then!
Keep moving forward!