It’s Election Day and I’m celebrating by writing a post on frontal plane exercises. I’m a good American citizen, aren’t I?
Don’t get me wrong, I will vote. And I will drink a Bud Light after the deed is done. And maybe listen to some Kenny Chesney.
America. F*ck yeah.
Patriotism aside, let’s dive right in.
The frontal plane is often an overlooked plane of motion in our training programs. Typically, there is an overwhelming amount of saggital plane exercises such as squat, dead lift, push ups, pull ups, lunges, rows, hip bridges, and presses.
Don’t get me wrong, it makes sense that these movements overpower frontal plane work, as many of the “big rock” lifts are performed in the saggital plane.
However, the frontal plane is something we must not ignore. It’s critical for building lateral speed, reducing chance of injury, and improving change of direction of ability in athletes.
Once the saggital plane is mastered, you have the green light to sprinkle in frontal plane movements. Depending on your goals, they could be done at the beginning of a work out, or as accessory work. Either way, they have tremendous benefit.
Here are 8 frontal plane exercises that will build athleticism and strength:
1.) Double Mini Band Lateral Walk
This is an excellent way to progress conventional lateral mini band walks. By adding a band above the knees and another around the feet, the gluteus medius muscles must work extra hard to initiate movement. This could be performed as movement prep if a work out is going to focus on a lot of lateral load.
2.) Resisted Lateral Crawl
Any type of contralateral crawling is great for improving coordination, reflexive strength, and shoulder/core strength. Resisted lateral crawling is great preparation for lateral workouts because it challenges the glutes to work in conjunction with the core to move the opposite limbs in synchronicity. You may find it surprising that one side is weaker than the other when performing this. With that said, it is a great exercise to expose and correct asymmetries.
3.) Landmine Lateral Lunge
Lateral lunges are excellent for eccentric deceleration in the frontal plane and preventing adduction/internal rotation of the hip. The addition of the landmine allows for an added anterior core challenge for both the deceleration and acceleration (concentric movement).
4.) Lateral Lunge with Pulse
Once mastered, this one can be loaded a hell of a lot. By increasing the lever arm with a pulse, you increase the load on the core. If you want to get crazy, you can move the kettlebell further away from body’s center of mass with more of an overhead reach. Enjoy.
5.) Lateral Goblet Step Up
Step ups are a staple movement for improving single leg strength and balance. This is a great one for building single leg strength and developing confidence with frontal plane concentric actions. Also, this works on stabilizing the hips and preventing adduction – both critical for reducing chance of knee/ankle injuries.
6.) Lateral Pallof Sled Drag
Bored of pallof presses? Want to rip into your obliques? Yeah. Give this one a go. Yes, it helps with anti-rotation, but it teaches the anterior core and glutes to work together simultaneously.
7.) Lateral Sled Drag
Since most people struggle with “sinking into the hip” during lateral lunges, or they struggle to resist internal rotation during deceleration, this is an “easier” alternative for those who want to build strength outside the saggital plane. It also can be used to stress the metabolic system. Keep in mind this is solely a concentric movement.
8.) Contralateral Chain Loaded Crawl
Just when you think crawling didn’t have enough progressions, here you go. Once you’ve mastered form, load one ankle and the opposite arm with chains. This allows you to tie your body’s core together and increase stress on the core, hips, and shoulders as one unit. Even if you start on your knees, it’s still a bitch to perform. In this video, I’m using 70 pound chains and crawling off my knees. I’m awesome.
That’s all. Let me know how you do. And sorry lateral raises and delt flys didn’t make the list.