Planes of Movement

Introduction:

We live in a three-dimensional world therefore a well designed exercise program should be correctly balanced in all 3 anatomical planes of movement in order to reduce the risk of injuries and improve performance.

The 3 Anatomical Planes of Movement include:

  1. Median Plane
  2. Dorsal Plane
  3. Transverse Plane

 

1: The Median Plane

Which cuts through the spine and divides the body into left & right halves.

This includes movements that involve joint flexion & extension; including forwards, backwards, up, and down movements. 

Note: Think as if the animal’s body is moving along the dotted line.

Exercise examples include: Sit to StandsBack Up, Jumping


2: The Dorsal Plane

Which cuts through the spine, dividing the body into “belly & back” sections.

For dogs this is top & bottom halves, and includes movements that involve lateral bending through the spine, as well as internal & external rotation of the limbs.

Note: Think as if the animal’s body is moving along the dotted line.

Exercise examples include: Spin/CircleHandler weight shifting towards the midline


3: The Transverse Plane

Which transects the spine in half.

For dogs this is front & back halves, and includes movements that involve rotation through the spine, as well as limb abduction and adduction. 

Note: Think as if the animal’s body is moving along the dotted line.

Exercise examples include: Sidestepping, Pivots, Limb lift into abduction


Please note: 

The above is in reference to quadrupeds such as canines & felines.  The planes of movement and their corresponding actions are slightly different in humans who are bipeds and stand upright.

Conclusion:

All too often exercise routines lack the correct balance of three-dimensional movements, and this imbalance may increase the likelihood of injury, while also hindering sport performance.

A qualified trainer understands the importance of building three-dimensional movement efficiency in all anatomical planes to keep the body working as a stable and functional whole.