What Are the Three Planes of Motion? (2023)

When you move your body through daily activities (like household chores) or during exercise, it moves in different dimensions. Your body can move forward and backward, side to side, up and down, and it can rotate around itself.

These movements are described in exercise settings as occurring in different planes of motion (or planes of movement).

By understanding the three planes of motion, you can adjust your fitness training to maximize exercise or sports performance and reduce your risk of injury.

The Three Planes of Motion

There are three planes of motion: sagittal, frontal, and transverse. It's easiest to think of each plane as an imaginary line or a glass plate that divides the body into opposing segments when standing in the anatomical position.

  1. Sagittal plane: Divides the body into right and left sides
  2. Frontal plane: Divides the body into front and back
  3. Transverse plane: Divides the body into top and bottom sections

To determine the plane of motion of a particular movement, consider how the movement would interact with those three imaginary lines or plates.

When a movement runs parallel to the imaginary line or plate, the movement is occurring in that plane of motion.

For example, when you are walking up the stairs, the forward and upward movement (flexion) that occurs and the hip, knee, and ankle would occur primarily in the sagittal plane because that movement would run parallel to an imaginary line that divides the body into right and left sides.

If you stopped and reached directly out to your side to grab the handrail, that movement is primarily happening in the frontal plane because the lateral reach would run parallel to a line dissecting the body into front and back sections.

If you turned around to look behind you, that rotational movement would occur in the transverse plane because your torso rotation runs parallel to a line dissecting the body into a top section and a bottom section.

(Video) The Planes of Motion

Any individual movement at any joint in the body can occur in a single plane of motion or in multiple planes.

Most often, complex movements occur in several planes of motion at the same time. It can be helpful to learn more about typical movements in each plane and how it affects daily movement and fitness activities.

Sagittal Plane

Movement that occurs in the sagittal plane generally happens in front of us or behind us.

This is probably the most familiar plane of motion for most people because many of our typical day-to-day activities happen within arms reach in front of us.

Texting, walking, or typing on a computer involve movement that is primarily in the sagittal plane. Even quite a bit of our eating mechanics happen in the sagittal plane.

Sagittal movements include:

  • Flexion: A bending movement that decreases the angle at a joint
  • Extension: An extending movement that increases the angle at a joint
  • Hyperextension: Extending the angle at a joint beyond neutral
  • Dorsiflexion: Bending at the ankle so the top of the foot moves toward the shin
  • Plantarflexion: Pushing the foot down and away from the body

Typical exercise activities that take place in the sagittal plane include a biceps curl, a forward or reverse lunge, a squat, vertical jumping, running, a downward dog, or chair pose (in yoga). Many traditional strength training movements occur in the sagittal plane.

Frontal Plane

The frontal plane divides the body into front (anterior) and back (posterior) sections. Movements that occur in the frontal plane are lateral or side-to-side movements. These include:

  • Abduction: Moving (or moving a limb) laterally and away from the midline of the body
  • Adduction: Moving (or moving a limb) towards the midline of the body
  • Elevation: Moving the scapula (shoulder blades) up
  • Depression: Moving the shoulder blades down
  • Eversion: Rolling the foot towards the inside (medial side)
  • Inversion: Rolling the foot towards the outside (lateral side)

Throughout activities of daily living, frontal movements are slightly less common than sagittal movements. Think about how often you walk forward as opposed to side to side, or how often you reach for something in front of you rather than directly out to the side.

Exercises that occur in the frontal plane include side lunges, lateral shoulder raises, or a side shuffle. Standing side bends and triangle pose are yoga poses that occur in the frontal plane.

(Video) What are the Planes of Motion? | Frontal Plane, Sagittal Plane, Transverse Plane Exercise Examples

Transverse Plane

The transverse plane divides the body into upper (superior) and lower (inferior) sections.

Movements that occur in the transverse plane generally involve rotation. For many of us, movement in this plane is less common. In fact, exercise injuries most often occur during transverse (rotational) movements.

Transverse plane movements include:

  • Rotation: Moving the torso or a limb around its vertical axis
  • Pronation: Rotating the forearm or foot to a palm-side or foot-side down position
  • Supination: Rotating the forearm or foot to a palm-side or foot-side up position
  • Horizontal abduction: Moving the upper arm away from the midline of the body when it is elevated to 90 degrees
  • Horizontal adduction: Moving the upper arm towards the midline of the body when it is elevated to 90 degrees

Typical everyday activities in the frontal plane include turning your head to look behind you or turning a doorknob. Exercises that occur in the transverse plane include hitting a golfball, swinging a bat, or a seated twist.

Benefits of Training in the Three Planes of Motion

There are several different ways that training in all three planes of motion can help you to move with greater ease in life and sports.

Prepares the Body for Daily Life

In the past, many traditional strength training programs would focus on training (primarily) one muscle at a time and often in a single plane of motion.

For example, weight lifters might do bicep curls to work (primarily) the biceps in the sagittal plane, a chest fly exercise to work (primarily) the pectoral muscles in the transverse plane, or lateral raises to work the shoulders in the frontal plane.

But more recently, it has become much more common to do compound exercises. Compound movements allow us to train several muscles groups at one time and in different planes of motion.

In this way, training activities more closely mimic activities of daily living. For example, you might lift a heavy bag of groceries and turn to walk away from your car involving both sagittal and transverse movement.

When you prepare your body for these complex daily activities with compound exercises you can perform them with greater ease throughout the day.

Should I Do Compound or Isolation Exercises If I Want to Get Stronger?

(Video) Planes of movement

Prepares the Body for Sport

Complex multi-planar movements also help us to prepare for safe and effective sports performance.

Researchers know that many athletic activities require our bodies to move in many different directions often under high stress. In fact, several studies have noted that anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries—one of the more common sports injuries—are more likely to occur during multi-planar rather than single-planar movements.

When we train our bodies to perform multi-planar movements safely and effectively with exercise we can help reduce the risk of injury during daily activities or in stressful athletic competition.

Encourages Variety

It is not uncommon for people to have a "favorite" plane of motion. That is, we typically fall into certain movement pattern ruts.

For example, we might do the same fitness activity or the same exercises over and over again.

One way to get out of that rut is to make sure you include movement from all planes of motion in your workout routine.

By doing so, you'll have to challenge your body to move in different ways, with different exercises, and perhaps with different equipment.

For example, strength training machines can be appropriate when you are first starting starting out. But many machines provide the ability to work one muscle and only in a single plane of motion.

Dumbbells, kettlebells, TRX straps, and bands, however, allow you to move joints freely in many planes of motion and work several muscles at a time. Try switching your equipment to mix things up a bit.

(Video) What are the 3 Anatomical Planes of Movement?

Runners do a lot of their training in the sagittal plane. Even if they cross train by swimming (freestyle) or cycling they still end up working primarily in the sagittal plane.

For this reason, coaches often recommend doing some form of cross training such as yoga or weight training that allows them to move their joints in different ways that include lateral movements or rotation.

Even flexibility training should incorporate all three planes of motion. For example, walkers might choose to do a simple calf or hamstring stretch at the end of their workout, but may also benefit from a seated spine rotation or a lying hip stretch.

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How to Get Started

Even if you understand the concept and importance of training in the three planes of motion, it might seem tricky when you first try to incorporate it into your workout routine.

Exercise apps (and even many trainers) may not be able to tell you what plane of motion a particular exercise is in. But you can still challenge yourself to move your body in different ways.

One way to get started is to challenge yourself to do your favorite exercises in a different position.

For example, if you usually include basic squats in your workout routine (sagittal plane), why not challenge yourself with a weighted side squat (frontal plane)?

If you usually warm up for your run with some walking lunges (sagittal plane), why not add some side shuffles (frontal plane)?

You can also combine exercises in different planes of motion. For example, if you usually do a basic bicep curl to work the front of the forearm (sagittal plane), why not add a side step onto a platform (frontal plane)?

(Video) What Are The 3 Planes of Movement?

Or, if you like to do basic lunges, try adding a torso rotation at the bottom of the lunge to include some movement in the transverse plane. You can also add rotational exercises like a woodchop or a hay baler to make sure you're getting some variation in your workout.

FAQs

What are the 3 types of planes? ›

The three planes of motion are the sagittal, coronal (or frontal) and transverse planes. Sagittal Plane: Cuts the body into left and right halves. Forward and backward movements.

What is Group 3 on a plane? ›

Group 3 includes passengers in window seats. Group 4 includes passengers in middle seats. Group 5 includes passengers in aisle seats and all Basic Economy passengers.

What are the 4 types of planes? ›

A RANGE OF PASSENGER AIRCRAFT TYPES AVAILABLE FOR CHARTER
  • PISTON AIRCRAFT.
  • LIGHT JETS.
  • HEAVY JETS.

What is sagittal and frontal plane? ›

Dividing the body into left and right halves using an imaginary line gives us the sagittal plane. Any forward and backward movement parallel to this line occurs in the sagittal plane. With the same imaginary line, divide the body into front and back halves and you have the frontal plane.

What movements are in the transverse plane? ›

Transverse plane movements typically involve external or internal rotation like twisting but also include arm and ankle pronation and supination.

What movements are in the sagittal plane? ›

Sagittal plane motion would include forward and backward motions, like sit-ups, back extensions or biceps curls. The sagittal plane cuts through the center of the body, so the motion is front to back or back to front, including straight forward running.

What is an example of class 3 motion? ›

Fingers and wrist motion as used when transferring an instrument to the operator. Class III. Fingers, wrist, and elbow as when reaching for a handpiece.

What is the meaning of sagittal plane? ›

The sagittal plane (/ˈsædʒɪtəl/; also known as the longitudinal plane) is an anatomical plane that divides the body into right and left sections. It is perpendicular to the transverse and coronal planes.

What plane of motion is rotation? ›

Rotation movements are in the transverse plane and include any twisting motion.

What is plane and types of plane? ›

A plane, in geometry, prolongs infinitely in two dimensions. It has no width. We can see an example of a plane in coordinate geometry. The coordinates define the position of points in a plane. In Maths, a plane is a flat, two-dimensional surface that prolongs infinitely far.

What are the three types of planes and axes? ›

Planes of movement
  • Sagittal plane - a vertical plane that divides the body into left and right sides. ...
  • Frontal plane - passes from side to side and divides the body into the front and back. ...
  • Transverse plane - passes through the middle of the body and divides the body horizontally in an upper and lower half.

What are 5 types of plane? ›

Five Types of Airplanes
  • Military Planes. Planes of a military nature can boast of being the most sophisticated and fastest aircraft in the skies. ...
  • Business Jets. ...
  • Smallest Private Planes. ...
  • Light Sport Planes. ...
  • Sailplanes.
7 Feb 2018

Why are there 3 points in a plane? ›

Three non-collinear points determine a plane.

This statement means that if you have three points not on one line, then only one specific plane can go through those points. The plane is determined by the three points because the points show you exactly where the plane is.

How many planes are in 3 points? ›

As if a plane intersects two parallel planes, then the lines of intersection are parallel. Therefore, an infinite number of planes can be made to pass through three collinear points.

Why do 3 points define a plane? ›

Intuitively it's because the dimension of a plane is 2 so you need exactly two linearly independent vectors to generate a plane. The three points are the origin and the tips of the two vectors, you wouldn't have two linearly independent vectors if the three points weren't non collinear.

What are the two types of plane? ›

Civil aircraft. All nonmilitary planes are civil aircraft. These include private and business planes and commercial airliners. Private aircraft are personal planes used for pleasure flying, often single-engine monoplanes with nonretractable landing gear.

What are the major types of plane? ›

Different Types of Airplanes that Dominate the Skies
  • Turboprop Aircraft. The turboprop aircraft has one or more gas turbine engines. ...
  • Piston Aircraft. These resemble turboprop aircraft but are much smaller. ...
  • Jets. ...
  • Light Jets. ...
  • Mid-Size Jets. ...
  • Jumbo Jets. ...
  • Regional Jets. ...
  • Narrow Body Aircraft.
20 Mar 2022

What is a 4 plane? ›

The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a single-seat subsonic carrier-capable light attack aircraft developed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps in the early 1950s.

What is axial and sagittal? ›

The sagittal plane has been defined as any vertical plane parallel to the median plane. And the coronal plane is a vertical plane perpendicular to the sagittal plane, whereas axial plane is a plane perpendicular to both sagittal and coronal planes.

What is another name for the transverse plane? ›

The transverse plane (also known as the horizontal plane, axial plane and transaxial plane) is an anatomical plane that divides the body into superior and inferior sections.

How do you remember planes of the body? ›

A simple trick to remember the 3 major body planes is to take the word section, since we are discussing body planes and sections, and abbreviate it “SCT”. This will help you remember Sagittal, Coronal, and Transverse.

What movements are in frontal plane? ›

Movements that occur in the frontal plane are lateral or side-to-side movements. These include: Abduction: Moving (or moving a limb) laterally and away from the midline of the body. Adduction: Moving (or moving a limb) towards the midline of the body.

What is the frontal plane called? ›

Coronal Plane (Frontal Plane) - A vertical plane running from side to side; divides the body or any of its parts into anterior and posterior portions.

Which is horizontal plane? ›

A horizontal plane is any plane passing through the body at right angles to both the median and coronal planes in the anatomical position. It divides the body into upper and lower sections. Related pages: median plane.

What plane of motion is a push up? ›

Sagittal-plane movements involve flexion (forward motion) and extension (backward). Examples are push-ups, sit-ups, squats, lunges and burpees.

What plane is abduction and adduction? ›

Abduction and adduction of the shoulder occur in the coronal plane, and about the sagittal axis. Left and right rotation of the atlantoaxial joint occurs in the transverse plane, and about the vertical axis.

What are the 3 types of motion of the earth? ›

As you know that the earth has two types of motions, namely rotation and revolution. Rotation is the movement of the earth on its axis. The movement of the earth around the sun in a fixed path or orbit is called Revolution. The axis of the earth which is an imaginary line, makes an angle of 66½° with its orbital plane.

What is motion 4th grade? ›

Motion is the process of an object moving or being moved. Motion that repeats is said to occur in a pattern. We can observe patterns of motion to make predictions about how things will move in the future. The force that slows down moving objects is called friction.

What are the 4 types of motion with examples? ›

Types of Motion
  • Linear Motion. In linear motion, the object moves from one position to another in either a curved direction or a straight line. ...
  • Rotary Motion. Rotary motion is a sort of motion in which the object moves in a circle. ...
  • Oscillatory Motion. ...
  • Periodic Motion.

What is the meaning of transverse plane? ›

transverse plane: Any plane that divides the body into superior and inferior parts, roughly perpendicular to the spine. sagittal plane: Any imaginary plane parallel to the median plane.

What is the meaning of axial plane? ›

Noun. axial plane (plural axial planes) (anatomy) Any plane that divides the body into superior and inferior parts, roughly perpendicular to spine.

What is sagittal and transverse planes? ›

Sagittal (longitudinal) plane: separates the left and right sides of the body. Transverse (axial) plane: separates the upper (superior) and lower (inferior) halves of the body.

What kind of motion is called spin? ›

What kind of motion is called spin? Spin is rotational motion of an object about an axis parallel to the axis of the object.

What is parallel plane motion? ›

A planar motion, is a motion in which all points of the body move in planes parallel to a certain plane called the plane of the planar (directing) motion.

What are examples of plane? ›

A plane has zero thickness, zero curvature, infinite width, and infinite length. It is actually difficult to imagine a plane in real life; all the flat surfaces of a cube or cuboid, flat surface of paper are all real examples of a geometric plane.

How many types of planes are there? ›

There are all kinds of different planes out there, but most of them can be broken down into four main categories — propeller planes (and other small aircraft), commercial planes, private and business jets, and military aircraft.

What do you mean of plane? ›

A plane is a two-dimensional doubly ruled surface spanned by two linearly independent vectors. The generalization of the plane to higher dimensions is called a hyperplane. The angle between two intersecting planes is known as the dihedral angle. The equation of a plane with nonzero normal vector through the point is.

What is a plane with 3 wings called? ›

A triplane is a fixed-wing aircraft equipped with three vertically stacked wing planes.

What is a 3 dimensional plane called? ›

A -d or three-dimensional plane is called a hyperplane. -d plane contains three axes that intersect at the origin. The three axes -axis, -axis, and -axis are mutually perpendicular to each other.

What are the planes and axis of movement? ›

The sagital plane lies vertically and divides the body into right and left parts. The frontal plane also lies vertically and divides the body into anterior and posterior parts. An axis is a straight line around which an object rotates. Movement at a joint takes place in a plane about an axis.

What is the most common type of plane? ›

1. Cessna 172. While the 737 and A320 are the world's top passenger jetliners, the plucky little four-seater Cessna 172 is the most successful civil aircraft in history, with more than 45,000 of them reported to have been built.

What are the 3 most popular types of passenger planes? ›

The most popular aircraft in the U.S. Fleet in 2020 was the Boeing 737-800 with 841 units ahead of the Boeing 737-700 (572 units) and the Airbus A320ceo (569 units). In 2020, the U.S. commercial aircraft inventory included 7,690 aircraft, up from 7,445 aircraft in 2019 (+245/+3.3%*).

How do I know what type of plane? ›

Check with your flight itinerary on the airline's website. If the type of aircraft isn't listed on your boarding pass, near the flight number, look for a link to trip “details” and you'll usually find the aircraft type there.

Why do some planes have 3 pilots? ›

If a pilot gets ill, gets injured or for some reason cannot fly the plane, the plane and passengers becomes the responsibility of the co-pilot. If there are three pilots on board one will be the captain who flies the plane, the second will be the first officer or co-pilot. The third pilot is the flight engineer.

How do you learn different types of planes? ›

5 Steps to Learn a New Aircraft Type
  1. 1 Get Hold of the Checklist and Cockpit Diagram. ...
  2. 2 Discuss the Aircraft With an Experienced Pilot. ...
  3. 3 Fly With Another Pilot First. ...
  4. 4 Do Some General Handling and Landings. ...
  5. 5 Do a Post-Flight Brief.
17 Jun 2017

What is plane and its types? ›

A plane, in geometry, prolongs infinitely in two dimensions. It has no width. We can see an example of a plane in coordinate geometry. The coordinates define the position of points in a plane. In Maths, a plane is a flat, two-dimensional surface that prolongs infinitely far.

What are examples of planes? ›

A plane has zero thickness, zero curvature, infinite width, and infinite length. It is actually difficult to imagine a plane in real life; all the flat surfaces of a cube or cuboid, flat surface of paper are all real examples of a geometric plane.

What are the 3 dimensions in physics? ›

Length, width, and depth: Those three dimensions seem plenty for you and me, but string theorists claim there are at least six others hidden from view.

How many planes are three dimensions? ›

The three coordinate axes determine the three coordinate planes illustrated in Figure 3(a). The xy-plane is the plane that contains the x- and y-axes; the yz-plane contains the y- and z-axes; the xz-plane contains the x- and z-axes. These three coordinate planes divide space into eight parts, called octants.

How can I identify a plane? ›

There are several things to look for when differentiating aircraft – including the number of engines, the landing gear, tail fin, nose shape, cockpit windows, and fuselage layout/exit doors.

What are the names of some planes? ›

A list of some of these great planes is given below.
  • Hawker Hurricane (Great Britain) ...
  • U-2 spy plane (United States) ...
  • B-52 Stratofortress (United States) ...
  • F-16 Fighting Falcon (United States) ...
  • MiG-21 fighter (Soviet Union) ...
  • Tupolev Tu-95 bomber (Soviet Union/Russia) ...
  • Bf 109 fighter (Germany) ...
  • P-51 Mustang (United States)

How many planes do we have? ›

The United States Armed Forces has more than 14,000 military aircraft in its inventory.

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