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Explaining the Sagittal Plane

This anatomical plane divides the body into right and left sections. The plane itself cuts through the body from front to back and therefore exercises that move you directly forwards or backwards are predominantly frontal plane exercises.

The muscles that drive this plane are usually large prime movers, that are optimised to high force production. They are the big power providers for sprinting forwards, throwing overhead, jumping, and hopping.

Movements that occur in the sagittal plane

Flexion Where the angle at a joint reduces and the bones are brought closer together, joint angle decreases

Extension Where the angle at a joint increases (straightening the joint) and the bones at moved further away from each other, joint angle increase

These muscles are Gastrocnemius, hamstrings, quads, gluteus maximus, Iliospoas, rectus abdominus, spinal extensors, anterior deltoid, latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major

So if you are wanting to improve your jump height, speed or acceleration or deceleration, rowing performance or push strength then you will need to target these muscles specifically as well as within large movement patterns.

Exercises that are in the sagittal plane

Eg , deadlift, strict overhead press, sit up, RDL, pull over, push up, seated row biceps curl, triceps extension, walking up stairs, walking/running

Back squat

Primary Movements Ankle plantarflexion, Knee extension, Hip extension

Main Muscles Soleus, Quadriceps, Gluteus maximus, adductor magnus

Reverse Lunge

Primary Movements Hip extension, knee extension,

Main Muscles Gluteus maximus, Quadriceps group

Forward lunge

Primary Movements Knee extension, Hip extension

Major Muscles Quadriceps group, gluteus maximus

The bottom line

- Explains the movements or muscles that push you upwards or forwards and backwards

- Muscle dominating this plane are often two-joint muscles and high force, power producing muscles

- Muscle in this plane often come in to compensate when frontal plane or rotational plane muscles are not as effective as you need them to be

- Tightness in these muscles could well be a sign that they are weak and your brain is protecting them from longer ranges by giving you the sense of tightness


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