As strength coaches one thing that enables us to advance a trainee, or athlete is being able to identify weaknesses. It’s sort of counterintuitive because even though we’re called “strength coaches” in many cases it’s our abilities to investigate and identify weaknesses that makes us successful. It’s sort of like we’re the Sherlock Holmes of the iron game!
The Frontal Plane Of Motion
Looking at how the body moves we are only capable of moving through three different planes of motion. Of those three planes we are looking at the sagittal plane, the frontal plane, and the transverse plane. For the sake of today’s discussion I want to address the frontal plane of motion especially because this tends to be a weakness for many folks in terms of their training.
To understand the frontal plane I want you to imagine standing upright with your hands down by your sides. Now without being gross imagine your body being separated into segments that divides your body into front and rear halves. This line of division is essentially the frontal plane of motion.
I know what you’re thinking…so coach why is this important? Well, the significance of this plane is determined by what movements we perform that would fall in line with the frontal plane. In other words, any movement that we perform that moves parallel to this plane of motion would be considered a frontal plane movement.
The frontal plane is great for helping us to develop a more well rounded and better functioning body for the purpose of athleticism and for a more complete level of fitness! Today I want to look at a simple way to progress your ability and function in the frontal plane by introducing a nice little progression of drills to take you from a more baseline start all the way up to a more intense level of training within the frontal plane of motion.
For starters, let’s take a look at a basic strength drill that moves us along the frontal plane of motion. Building a basic level of strength is the key to starting the process towards banging out more killer drills for optimal fitness and performance. Enter the side lunge…
As you can see the side lunge demands a sound level of control and the hip hinges in the same way as you would during a squat movement once you take that step. Include these into your strength program and once you master this with your bodyweight you can progress it further by loading either with a weighted vest, or by holding a pair of kettlebells or dumbbells by your side. Start out performing 3 sets of 5 to 7 reps on each side with this drill.
The next logical progression for building on this movement in the frontal plane is by adding the element of speed into the equation. By introducing something as simple as 3 cones we can now work on developing how fast we can move within the frontal plane with the 3 cone lateral shuffle drill.
As you can see the key here is being able to stop and accelerate laterally in this movement. Now you can start to see how this would be the next logical progression from the side lunge. You can also see how the element of speed offers a different type of stress and outcome in terms of moving in the frontal plane.
When starting this drill perform 3 sets of 5 to 7 reps counting a full left to right, or right to left transition as a complete repetition. Prepare to start sucking wind because this drill will challenge you.
Finally, when looking at third and final phase of building on this progression in the frontal plane of motion we can include a 2 cone lateral bounding drill. Keep in mind that this drill is for more advanced athletes and trainees and should only be performed by first making sure you are proficient in more intense plyometric bounding and the previous frontal plane drills I’ve outlined for you here.
Also keep in mind that the purpose of this drill is to build further on developing optimal movement in the frontal plane by introducing the element of power. The progression started with a baseline of strength with the lateral lunge, then focused on speed with the 3 cone shuffle, and now we’re focusing on power development with the 2 cone lateral bounding drill.
And there you have it! This is a solid progression for you to build on mastering the frontal plane of motion in 3 different ways. When including this drill you can start out by performing 3 sets of 5 to 7 reps on each side.
The thing is that you can always progress the drill for a greater intensity and outcome. Even after you master this drill you can intensify it further by increasing the jump distance between cones, or by loading yourself with a weighted vest for greater intensity. This will transform the way you look, feel, and move my friend.
The work is never done. I hope you enjoyed today’s post and if so don’t be shy about posting up in the comments below. Stay strong and keep training smart!
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