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Three Plane Exercises That Will Prevent Injury

Avoid injuries and strains by fine tuning the three most common ranges of body movement.

Injuries are a painful nuisance for any type of athlete that can put you out of commission from the gym or your sport—sometimes permanently. Aside from basic preventative measures such as warming up properly and stretching after a workout, training the body for all-around muscular balance and stability is an effective safeguard. We asked Naudi Agular, personal trainer and owner of Functional Patterns to help us identify ways to ensure you're training is balanced and as injury-proof as possible. Agular strongly recommends focusing on the three main planes of motion you use in your training: the transverse plane, the frontal plane and the sagittal plane.

Transverse Plane

The most commonly used plane in sports, which typically include rotational movements. Imagine swinging a baseball bat, or a basketball pivot. Exercise One: Transverse Cable Twist The transverse cable twist movements work the entire body, but will primarily develop the transverse abdominals and obliques to ensure safer turns and twists made by the body. "In terms of functional strength for real live movement, there are very few exercises that will translate to reality better than this exercise," Agular says. For the exercise to be as effective as possible, he recommends "maintaining a strong center with a neutral spin."

Prescription Perform three sets to failure with 30-60 seconds rest in between. Exercise Two: Rotating One-Arm Cable Row "The rotating one-arm cable row exercise arguably works the most powerful muscle system on the body, the posterior oblique system," Agular says. A posterior oblique system contraction works a latissimus dorsi muscle while contra-laterally working with one gluteus maximus muscle. According to Agular, "It's your lats and glutes working diagonally during a sprint that give you your explosiveness." He highly recommends focusing on rotating at the end of the row to ensure you're maximizing the rotational benefits of the movement.

Prescription Perform three sets to failure with 30-60 seconds rest in between.

Frontal Plane

This includes "side to side" motions. Imagine a baseball player taking a lead from first base or a basketball player side shuffling to guard someone. Exercise One: Frontal Plane Bosu Jumps The frontal plane bosu jump is a great exercise for your lateral system. The movement will develop the quads, glutes, hamstrings and will stimulate your core muscles. "Jumping on the Bosu will also train a strong center of gravity, but be sure to maintain your posture in your upper body while doing this to maintain proper spinal mobility," Agular said.

Prescription Perform three sets to failure with 30-60 seconds rest in between. Exercise Two: Speed Skaters The speed skater exercise is an ideal choice for single leg stability and is very effective for the lateral system overall. Agular says, "Be sure to utilize your torso and rotate bring back and forth during the exercise."

Prescription Perform three sets to failure with 30-60 seconds rest in between.

Sagittal Plane

This involves motions of flexion or extension. Movements such as curls, tricep kickbacks and squats work within this plane. Exercise One: Bosu Squat The bosu squat is a basic maneuver, but don't downplay its benefits. The movement is highly effective in developing a strong center of gravity. "The bosu will make you apply pressure equally on both feet while doing the movement, ensuring that you won't be planting more weight on one leg over the other," Agular says. He advises athletes to "be sure to apply pressure primarily on your heels and hinge from the hips during the range of motion to get proper gluteal development." It's also important to not get preoccupied with how much weight you can do with the exercise as it will not have a huge impact on the movement's effectiveness.

Prescription Perform three sets to failure with 30-60 seconds rest in between. Exercise Two: Medicine Ball Slam The medicine ball slam is a great exercise to stimulate the core, legs and upper body together. "It serves to develop strength in the exact opposite muscle groups as the squat," Agular explains. When performing the movement, he advises to firmly stay on your heels for better core engagement and functionality.

Prescription Perform three sets to failure with 30-60 seconds rest in between.

You can follow Mike on Twitter: @Mike_Simone_MF

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