“Understanding Planes & Axes of Movement” (the SlideShare presentation) is the newest addition to the “Understanding Exercise” series. This is the much anticipated follow up to “Understanding Exercise – Planes, Axes and Movement” (posted in 2012). These movement concepts are difficult to learn and understand without the right visual tools. This presentation better demonstrates these concepts in an effort to help readers better understand the applications in everyday movement (i.e. daily activities, exercise and sports) and fitness program design.
Planes and Axes of Movement
All physical activities are made possible by movements and motions. Every movement takes place in one of three planes of motion (sagittal, frontal or transverse/horizontal) and around one of three axes (sagittal, frontal or vertical).
Planes of Movement
- Sagittal Plane
- Frontal Plane
- Transverse Plane
Axes of Movement
- Sagittal Horizontal Axis
- Frontal Horizontal Axis
- Vertical Axis
Types of Movement
There is more to movement than just planes and axes. There are several “types” of movement that are further broken down into the following categories:
- Flexion and extension
- Adduction and abduction
Flexion and Extension
The most common type of motion occurs in the sagittal plane and around a frontal horizontal axis. These movements are otherwise known as flexion and extension.
- Flexion takes place when the angle decreases between the two bones attached to the joint being affected. When you flex your knee joint, the angle between your femur or upper leg and your tibia/fibula or lower leg decreases.
- Lateral flexion is a sidebending of the spine and neck.
- Extension is the opposite of flexion. Extension occurs when the angle between the two bones increases. When you straighten or extend your knee joint the angle between your upper and lower leg increases.
- Hyperextension occurs when a joint is overstretched (or bent backwards) because of an exaggerated extension motion.
Adduction and Abduction
The next most common movements are adduction and abduction. These two movements are in the frontal plane and around a sagittal horizontal axis.
- Adduction is movement in the opposite direction and toward the center of your body. When you return your leg from the abducted position back to a normal standing position you are adducting your leg.
- Abduction is a movement laterally away from the middle of your body. From a standing position, when you move your leg to the side away from the middle of your body you are abducting your leg.
The final movement type is rotation. Rotation takes place in the horizontal plane. When you turn your head from side to side you are rotating your head in the horizontal plane around your spine which is acting as the vertical axis. With the head and torso there is only one type of rotation. When you are dealing with your extremities there are two kinds of rotation – internal and external.
- Internal rotation takes place when the front part of your arm or leg rotates towards the middle (midline) of your body. When you turn your knees towards each other in a standing position you are internally rotating your legs.
- External rotation is the opposite direction. If you turn your knees away from each other in a standing position you are externally rotating your legs.
- Circumduction is the combination of movements through two or more planes of motion. An example of circumduction is moving your arms around your body in a windmill motion.
For more information on planes, axes and motion, click here to access the original article.