Create Your Ultimate Physique!

Multi-plane and Multi-joint Exercises

Consider Multidimensional Exercises to Create Your Best Body Ever! 

How excited can you get about multi-dimensional exercises?  The answer: as excited as you can get about creating the most balanced, beautiful and strongest body you have ever had!

What do you need to do to achieve this new amazing physique?  Try adding a number of multi-dimensional (meaning multi-plane and multi-joint) exercises to your routine.

What does this mean?  First, let’s go over the planes of movement in which the body can work.

The first plane is the sagittal plane.  It divides the body into right and left halves.  On the picture, this is the plane that bisects the body in half, left to right.  Movement front to back happens in this plane.


            Flexion:  Decreasing the angle between two bones

            Extension: Increasing the angle between two bones

            Dorsiflexion: Moving the top of the foot toward the shin (only at the ankle)

            Plantar flexion: moving the sole of the foot downward (pointing the toes)

The next plane is the frontal plane.  It bisects the body in half front to back – see on the picture the plane the cuts the body laterally.  Movement in this plane is side to side (lateral).


            Adduction: Motion toward the midline

            Abduction: Motion away from the midline of the body

            Elevation: Moving to a superior position (only at the scapula)

            Depression: Moving to an inferior position (only at the scapula)

            Inversion: Lifting the medial border of the foot

            Eversion: Lifting the lateral border of the foot

The third plane is the transverse plane, and it divides the body top to bottom.  Movement in this plane is rotational and parallel to the waistline.  Note: Moves like jumping up to standing from a squatting position is moving through the transverse plane.


            Rotation- Internal (inward) or external (outward) turning about the vertical axis of the bone

            Pronation- Rotating the hand and wrist medially from the bone

            Supination-Rotating the hand and wrist laterally from the bone

            Horizontal Flexion (adduction)- From the 90-degree abducted arm position, the humerus is flexed (adducted) in toward the midline of the body in the transverse plane

            Horizontal Extension (abduction)- Return of the humerus from horizontal flexion

Now that you know what the planes of the body are, let’s discuss why working in multiple planes will lead to creating an amazing body! 

To get the body that you want, you need to have healthy, strong physical base from which to perform daily life activities as well as your intense exercise routines.  You need healthy joints and strong stabilizing muscles.  You need to have excellent balance and flexibility.  Finally, you will need endurance and power.  The best way to get all of these is to train your body with a TON OF VARIETY.  Multi-plane work is just one important facet of the variety your body needs for peak performance.

Now that we know why we should train in multiple planes, here on some ways we can train in the various planes of the body.

  • Walk or quick side shuffle laterally on a track, the treadmill or in the pool.  
    • NOTE: Make sure you alternate the lead leg equally and keep your foot parallel to the plane (keep your foot in a natural alignment to the body and do not lead with your toe).
  • Even though backwards movement is in the sagittal plane, it still provides variety.  Backward or reverse walking is a directional movement different from our normal movement.  You can walk backwards on a track, the treadmill or the pool.
  • Create a cardio or resistance training routine that incorporates safe twisting movements, perhaps using a weighted ball, the cable machines or doing body-weight exercises like front kicks touching the alternating knee or toe with the opposite hand.
    • NOTE: Using cable machines are a great way to train the body in multiple planes because the weight is constant in any direction and you can work the body standing up, sitting down and even lying down (basically you can train in any position relative to the machine with constant tension).
  • We can also perform movements that cut through the transverse plane.  These movements would be things like burpees that take you down to the ground and then require you to jump up towards the sky.
    • NOTE: Any exercise that gets you down low and then up high is multidimensional because it requires you to move through a plane.

Now you know why and how to train in multiple planes.  What does it mean to perform multi-joint exercises (also known as compound exercises).  It is just what it sounds like.  It means that during any particular exercise, we train using multiple joints.  For example, the squat, a favorite multi-joint exercises, requires flexion through the hips, knees and ankles (the bench press, pushup and military press are all examples of multi-joint exercises). 

Why do we want to perform multi-joint exercises?  There are a number of reasons.  First, they are challenging.  In order to change the body, we have to challenge the body.  These exercises require more coordination and energy.  Because of this, they burn more calories.   Burning calories means the potential of shedding fat.  Multi-joint exercises can also build lean muscle – so they transform our physique by helping us to increase muscle size (visually creating shape/tone and chemically burning additional calories in the body).

Finally, multi-joint exercises are considered more “functional”, as they tend to more closely mimic daily life activities.  Wellness enthusiasts like functional training because training movements that mimic daily life activities tend to make us less prone to injury from our daily activities.

Kimberly’s Current Multi-plane/Multi-joint Exercise Routine

10-minute warm-up walk on treadmill alternating between forward, lateral and reverse walking

Weighted Squat with overhead press

TRX Low Row

3X, alternating the exercises

Weight Reverse Lunge

Push-up with T rotation

3X, alternating the exercises

Weighted Lateral Box Step-up

TRX Suspension Tricep Push-up

3X, alternating the exercises

Weighted Ball Sumo Squat Ball Toss

Tabata style (30/20X6)

Cable Reverse Cross over

Weighted TRX Suspension Lateral Lunge

3X, alternating the exercises

As always, please make sure you are cleared by a medical physical before starting any exercise routine.  This routine can be modified to suit any fitness level.  Consider the risk of performing any twisting movements before trying out any of the exercises listed that require spinal twisting.  These types of exercises are not suitable for all individuals.  If you have any questions, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. "> This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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