Understanding Human Movement – Part 1

Understanding Human Movement – Part 1 is a video lesson I recently produced. This was a spinoff from some very frequently asked questions that I get from colleagues I mentor and athletes I coach. Folks commonly inquire:

  • How can I assess movement more effectively?
  • How can I identify problems with my clients or my own movements?
  • How can I take motion analysis into exercise selection and program design?
  • Where do I start with assessing movement?

This is going to be a 3-part series and the first part focuses mainly on the planes of motion. Oriented perpendicularly about an x, y, and z axis are the sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes. These are often called cardinal planes and we use them in biomechanics to describe both position and motion in the body.

Human movement simultaneously incorporates motion in all three planes of to varying degrees. Even when you are moving in a straight line, your body is also slightly shifting from side to side and rotating or twisting as well. This is because we use a winding and unwinding technique as we navigate space.

This winding is coordinated with the management of pressures (fluid differentials) and tension  in our muscles, tendons, fascia, bones, and skin. We load the body to build and store energy, then release it tactically to minimize loss or leakage. Artful stuff. 

The video provides a clear delineation of what the planes of motion are, and how the body exists within them. I also allude to the fact that these planes are actually just concepts to help us understand and characterize movement, but their actual existence is merely a construct. Because each individual joint, and the body as a whole, is rotating about a unique axis of rotation, ownership of position and competency with movement is an artful synchronization. 

I hope you’ll give this lesson a view and I think you’ll like it. Becoming masterful with movement, both as a clinician and a Lifetime Athlete, is the key to being a movementsmith, and getting amazing results in health, training, and performance. In Part 2 I’ll be sharing some of the secrets of motion analysis and practical applications. Shoot me a comment or question if you have one.

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