The human body moves along three planes of motion: sagittal, frontal, and transverse.

Sagittal plane: think up/done, forward/back. This plane is primarily made up of flexion/extension movement.

Frontal plane: think side to side. The frontal plane is primarily made up of abduction/adduction, and lateral flexion.

Transverse plane: think rotation. The transverse plane is any rotational movement along the axis of the limbs or spine.

Sport is a constant combination of the three planes. To sprint, cut, jump, throw all planes of motion are used. Traditionally in the weight room the sagittal plane gets the most attention by far. Things like a traditional barbell squat, lunges, RDL’s, vertical jumps, etc. train in the sagittal plane. Of course, this is important to sport. Athletes need to be able to move up and down, forward and back effectively. Unfortunately, only training in this plane leaves the athlete untrained in the frontal and transverse planes.

Think of a wide receiver breaking off the top of a route, or a pitcher driving down the mound. These motions are dominantly frontal and transverse plane movements. So, how do we train this in the weight room?

Lateral ground force is vital to cut, change direction, swing a bat, or throw a ball. To increase force production in the frontal plane we use two main lifts: the sumo deadlift, and wide stance box squat. The wide stance taken in both movements changes the lift from sagittal plane dominant to frontal plane dominant. An athlete must “spread the floor” with their feet to effectively move the barbell. Using the max effort method with these two lifts is by far the best way to increase lateral force.

Once sufficient lateral ground force is built, we use lateral and transverse jumps and plyometrics to “realize” our new strength ability. This helps an athlete transfer their strength to field play.

Our football athletes shave 4 tenths of a second off their pro-agility, and our baseball athletes add 5mph to their throwing velocity and up to 10mph to their exit velocity in 12 weeks. Those are our AVERAGE results. This is largely a result of their increase in lateral ground force.