Athletes should be exposed to as many different types of movements as possible.
Most often, athletes are great at going in a straight line, forward. This is what they are used to.
It makes sense, too. Our eyes see what is in front of us and it is easier to get in front of something and go right for it.
Sports are not always this simple. Game play is usually chaotic, unpredictable, and out of one’s control.
This means that we must move side to side and rotate. Respectively, athletes must know how to move in the frontal and transverse planes of movement.
Some other situations of when athletes will need good frontal plane development are as follows.
- Changing direction to go in the opposite way
- Playing defense
- Goalie in just about any sport
- Making moves on defenders, like outside and in.
As you can see the above qualities happen in every sport and about a hundred times in every game.
Injuries also occur in the frontal and transverse plane. Any kind of ankle roll or MCL issue usually occurs when there is some kind of side to side force overloading the body.
Being better prepared for those movements are going to help reduce the risk of injury. We actually had a soccer player have another girl fall into her knee in a game this weekend. The doctor told her that if she hadn’t done the training in the past, she probably would’ve torn something in her knee.
Those are the scary stories that we hear about all the time because in the blink of an eye, an athlete could be out for a year.
When it comes to weight room exercises, athletes need to be strong in the saggital (forward and back) plane first. When doing speed work, they have all mastered moving in a straight line. They have been doing it for years.
Athletes do not have the type of experience in the weight room that they have with speed work and need to master the basics first. Once they have some time under their belt, they can work on developing strength in the frontal planes as well.
There are a number of different exercises and drills that we can use to build strength in the frontal plane.
- Lateral Broad Jump
By starting on both legs there is more support to work with. This feels weird for most athletes at first because it breaks the habit of always jumping up or forward.
- Lateral Bound
We can progress that jump by making in unilateral, or one leg at time. This is one of the more underated movements that athletes should learn how to master. They end up pushing side to side on one leg more often than it seems.
Put it together:
- Lateral Lunge
When training for strength the lateral lunge is one of the best exercises to train the frontal plane. A lot of athletes also struggle with it. They must push their hips back and avoid pushing the knee forward. This is another one that feels weird for most of them.
- Add a pulse
Take that same lateral lunge and add a pulse to it. Now the athlete must come to a complete stop, hold it, and then push back out of the lunge. This happens when we change direction, just much quicker.
This is an idea that makes sense to a lot of hockey players. They send less time pushing forward and back, because skating is more at an angle from the body. For that reason I wrote Slideboard Training for Hockey. The truth is, there is nothing contained in the book that a soccer, basketball, or football would not benefit from. Click the link to get your copy, totally for free.