What Is the Sagittal Plane & How Does It Relate to Exercises?

What Is the Sagittal Plane & How Does It Relate to Exercises?

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The sagittal plane divides the body into equal right and left halves.

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The sagittal plane is not something you find at an airport. In this case, planes are imaginary lines that separate your body into sections, and this separation is helpful when describing body movements. The sagittal plane divides the body into left and right sides and includes exercises such as arm curls that flex and extend your elbows.

You Are Here

An understanding of the sagittal plane requires an understanding of the anatomical position. This is a common reference position to help describe different movements. The anatomical position is when you are standing tall with your feet parallel to each other and your toes facing forward. Your arms are at your sides with your palms facing forward and your fingers pointing down. The sagittal plane resembles an imaginary wall that separates your body into equal right and left sections.

Savy Sagittal

If you can imagine a line that runs directly down the center of you from the top of your head, down your nose, chest and stomach and finishes between your feet, you are picturing the sagittal plane. Exercises that move your limbs parallel to this imaginary line occur in the sagittal plane. Raising your arm straight in front of you to strengthen your shoulders or performing a forward or reverse lunge are examples of sagittal plane exercises.

Flex Your Muscles

Exercises within the sagittal plane flex and extend joints. These up-and-down movements occur along the imaginary line that separates your body into right and left halves. Joint flexion decreases the angle of a joint, such as when you perform an arm curl, raising your hand toward your shoulder. Joint extension increases the angle of a joint, such as when you lower your hand to the anatomical position from the raised position in an arm curl.

Exercise Your Rights - and Lefts

A well-rounded workout routine includes exercises that occur within the sagittal plane so your muscles and joints are being used through a full range of motion. Select sagittal plane exercises such as arm curls, tricep kickbacks, front shoulder raises, calf raises, toe raises and lunges. Keep in mind that the way your limbs move determine if you are performing forward and backward motions parallel to the sagittal plane.