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I know exactly what you’re thinking… ‘Neo, what are these mysterious planes of motion you speak of? And why are they relevant to my pole training?’.

I thought you’d never ask!

If you’d rather watch than read, you can check out the video version of this entire blog post below.

But if you prefer to read than watch, onwards…

What are the 3 planes of motion?

Our incredible human bodies move in 3 principle planes of motion.

Firstly, the sagittal plane – this is where flexion and extension movements directly out in front and behind us occur. For example: lunges, bicep curls and shoulder extension.

Then we have the frontal plane – this is where lateral, adduction and abduction type movements take place out to the sides. For example: jumping jacks, lateral raises and side bending.

Finally, the transverse plane is where our rotational movements happen. For example: thoracic rotation and rotation of individual body parts like internal and external rotation of the arms.

When we pole dance, we move our bodies through all three of these planes of motion – usually ALL AT ONCE – because… well, we’re pole dancers – we like to be extra fancy at every opportunity, of course!

What do these planes of motion look like on the pole?

Let’s take a look at the pole dance ballerina trick as an example…

The back leg and arm are both in extension behind us – this movement takes place in the sagittal plane along with the spinal extension of the back bend.

The front leg and arm are both abducted out to the side in the frontal plane.

Thoracic rotation (that puts the uncomfortable twisty element into this ballerina) is in the transverse plane along with the external rotation of the front leg.

Why are planes of motion important for our pole dance training?

Considering these planes of motion is useful when programming exercises for pole dancers, because the training that we do OFF the pole should reflect what we need to do ON the pole.

As pole dancers, we need to be strong through all three planes of movement, so once we’ve mastered the basics of pushing, pulling, squatting and hinging, taking our ‘off the pole’ exercises outside the traditional ‘gym-based’ sagittal plane is a really good way to prepare our bodies for the demands of pole.

For example, once you’ve got your horizontal pulling in the sagittal plane really strong, adding some rotation to that, in the transverse plane, will help to make it more pole-specific.

Sagittal plane horizontal pull:

Sagittal plane pull with added rotation in the transverse plane:

If you wanna geek out more on how to create training programmes for pole dancers, you’ll love my book – Strength and Conditioning for Pole – which is available now in papercopy or ebook format.

Content on this website is provided for educational/informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should consult your Doctor or Health Care Professional before doing any exercises or fitness programs to determine if they are right for your needs.


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