It is of utmost importance to master each individual plane of motion for the improvement of your bodies functional capabilities, however, the randomness of life does not permit the mastery of just one plane of motion at a time. If you analyze the movements in the majority of sports, you might notice there are multiple dynamics happening simultaneously in a flow, with all planes of motion being incorporated at the same time. You might also notice the athlete moving from one point to another, rather than staying in a stationary position the entire time. During the act of moving from point A to point B, its clear to see horizontal momentum affecting the athletes ability to change directions and maintain a strong structural integrity. Â These are elements of movement that must be accounted for, and it’s usually the neglect of these instrumental factors that lead to injuries and inefficiencies throughout the entire body. Of all the training systems I have studied and been a part of over the last 12 years, I am still yet to find anything that efficiently accounts for these factors. In fact, it is rare to witness anyone properly implement the basic isolated functions of more than one of the three planes of motion. To my frustrations, I have witnessed trainer after trainer working their clients/athletes in a two dimensional reality, basing their entire system within the confines of one plane of motion by itself, the sagittal plane. Although many of the gurus deem these exercise systems as being “functional”, it is quite clear to see that there are important factors within the realm of movement they have not been asking. Check out the rest of this blog to see if you might be stuck in 2d training.
The butchering of the sagittal plane
As I have mentioned in the past, it is imperative to master all planes of motion individually, however the sagittal plane happens to be the most overused plane of the 3 in existence. Reason? It is the easiest of all planes to do. The frontal and transverse planes are avoided due to the difficulty of coordinating the body to effectively make them work. I can’t tell you how many times I would watch a trainer attempting to teach a client how to do a transverse twist, only to give up and just throw them on a leg press machine. It is easy to get into the habit of doing the same things we are good at, rather than challenge the things we aren’t. With that said, strength in the sagittal plane is essential, as it is commonly done in our reality. However, when your entire training regimen is based within this one plane of motion, it can lead to major plateaus within your functional training regimen. Understanding this butchering of the sagittal plane is very important to any person trying to learn how to exercise, because most systems of training have this imbalanced inefficiency built in at their core. Its only a matter of you being aware or not that can lead you to this inefficiency. All it takes is some good marketing with a solid sales pitch, and you could be inside the doors of one of these butcher shops.
If you are still wondering what the sagittal plane is, here is a very well made video of a popular 2d exercise system done almost exclusively in the sagittal plane.
Transitioning into the 3rd Dimension
After each individual plane of motion has been as close to mastered as you can make it, this is where a 3 dimensional, Multi-Plane Ballistic Movement can push you to a new level. It is here that you begin to divulge into the realm of replicating the situational mechanics that actually happen in sports and in real life. The combination of bringing all planes of motion together, simultaneously. Since this is a topic of a relatively complicated nature, I’ve decided to utilize someone who will bring clarity to this subject matter. The king of the crossover, Tim Hardaway.
When Tim Hardaway is initiating a crossover, he is moving in the frontal plane, loading his body transversely, and almost immediately moving in the sagittal plane, all at the same time. This is a Multiplane Ballistic Movement at its finest moment. The progression of training for functionality should cater towards situations like the one just mentioned. Developing explosiveness, speed, agility, and strength in all planes of motion, in a dynamic environment, are the building blocks of an efficient and sustainable 3 dimensional training system.
In this instructional video, I teach you how to do a 3 dimensional Multi-plane Ballistic Movement with a pulley system. Once again, I remind you to only attempt this if you have worked on the foundational elements I have mentioned many times in the past. MBM’s are at some of the highest levels of progression I use with my clients/athletes and should only be done when the body is ready for them. Enjoy!!!