One of the best ways to ensure that your body can adapt to higher levels of training and to maximize your potential is by being a versatile athlete. Focusing on multidirectional movement in your exercise program is a great way to accomplish this, so this column focuses on side-to-side (or frontal plane) movement. This is often a neglected plane of motion but is very important for changing direction as well as keeping forward movement on track through guiding (or stabilizing). Having full function of all three planes of motion at any given time creates a competitive edge, whether your goal is performing well in a sport or achieving a weight loss goal.
One of the important aspects to understand is that side-to-side movements, as well as rotational movements, are the culprits for many sports and fitness injuries. If you are injured and not on the field or in your favorite group training class, you are probably not moving in a positive direction toward your goals. I’ve shared three movements here; these side-to-side motions will give you functional strength that focuses on lower, upper, and total body movement, as well as help build your exercise menu for working the frontal plane.
Tweak Down: Perform the movement with body weight, holding arms overhead.
Tweak Up: There is no tweak up, as this is the advanced move; simply focus on mastering smooth, controlled execution.
Tweak Down: Use single side-to-side repetitions, moving right and then back left on an elevated surface such as a box or fixed bench.
Tweak Up: Use a weighted vest to externally load the body.
Tweak Down: Perform the movement with body weight.
Tweak Up: This is an advanced version. You may alternate left and right side repetitions to add additional challenge.
Building your functional movements in the frontal plane (or side-to-side) will definitely enhance your abilities as a versatile and efficient athlete. And building better movement will definitely speed up the momentum on your way to your specific goals. Move better, and move often!