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Balance Your Workouts
Working Across All Three Planes of the Body
Part 2 of 2
By: Jackie Wright

Last week, we discussed the frontal and sagittal planes of the body and strategies to create improved balance across these planes. The third plane, the transverse plane, divides the body into top (superior) and bottom (inferior) segments. It is a horizontal plane which slices approximately through your waistline. We will highlight the transverse plane and then feature an exercise which works across all three planes. Before beginning any exercise program, consult your physician.

Transverse Plane

  • When performing your cardio/aerobic exercise programs, make certain to include the top and bottom segments. It is easy to neglect the top of the body, particularly when cycling or running, but the muscles that reside in the top segment of the body work as stabilizers, help to propel the body forward and provide a distribution of body weight that encourages a smooth gait.
  • When performing muscular strength training exercises, make certain to perform exercises for both the top and bottom segments of the body. Women, we need to make certain to work the top segment of the body as well as the bottom segment and men, you should concentrate on the bottom segment of the body as well as the top segment.

Working Across All Three Planes

A great way to ensure that you are working all three of the planes of the body is to consider adding exercises which emphasize general body movements taking the major joints of the body through large ranges of motion. The Back Lunge with Overhead Press and Torso Rotation is one of many excellent muscular strength/endurance training examples.

  • Begin by holding a moderate dumbbell in the right hand with the arm flexed 90 degrees at the elbow joint, the palm facing forward and the upper arm at shoulder height.
  • Stagger the left leg back into a back lunge position with the leg flexed 90 degrees at the knee joint and the left heel elevated.
  • The right leg should be in a front lunge position with the majority of the body weight on the right heel and the right knee tracking over the right heel.
  • Drive the left leg forward with the knee lifting to the front of the body, to hip height, as the right leg extends and you transfer the body weight to the right leg. Simultaneously extend the right arm toward the ceiling in an overhead press.
  • Then, lower the left leg back into the back lunge position, lowering the right arm to 90 degrees and returning the right leg to the front lunge position. *Note: The right foot remains in contact with the floor at all times.
  • Once in that stable position, rotate the entire torso to the left from the waistline without changing your lower body lunge position and then rotate back to the beginning position.
  • Make certain the shoulders remain rotated back/down, the rib cage lifted and the navel pulled toward the spine.
  • Perform 8-12 repetitions of the entire exercise sequence on each side of the body, two to three times per week.
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