Total-Body, Multi-Planar Moves

Exercises that hit multiple planes of movement and every part of your body

Through forward movement (walking, cycling, and running), most of us move in just one direction throughout the day. And while such exercise strengthens both the cardiovascular and muscular systems, it also works the same muscles over and over again.

“Simply changing up your movement patterns will automatically activate more muscles than normal,” says Josh Stolz, a personal trainer based in New York City. Working in every plane of motion—sagittal, frontal, and transverse—can also improve mobility and stability.

To build total-body strength all over, practice these multi-planar exercises as a circuit, moving from one to the next without rest.

Sagittal Plane Plank 

Wrap a super-light resistance band loop around your wrists, and get into modified plank position (elbows under shoulders, legs extended behind you, toes tucked under, back flat), with palms facing up and thumbs out to sides. Drive hips up, toward the ceiling, so your head points downwards and hands move out to sides a couple of inches, forming an upside down V (Downward Dog) with your body, pressing back with heels. Lower hips and move hands back to start. Do 5 reps.

Transverse Plane Plank 

In modified plank position with resistance band looped around your wrists (palms up, thumbs out to sides) and feet about shoulder-width apart, rotate your shoulders and torso to the right, rolling from your toes onto the sides of your feet, in order to bring right hip down toward floor, moving right hand a couple of inches out to the side as you do. Immediately switch sides and repeat. Continue rotating from left to right for 10 total reps (5 each side).

Muscle Activation: Lateral Band Walk 

Stand with feet about hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, elbows bent by sides, with two mini-bands wrapped around your legs—one above the ankles and one above the knees. Push your hips back, hinging forward from the waist, keeping back tall, abs engaged and chest open, and then take a small step to the right with right foot, pushing band out to side, landing on a flat foot, as you swing left arm forward; right arm back. Step left foot in so feet are hip-width apart again, keeping resistance in bands, swinging right arm forward and left arm back. Continue stepping to right for 5 to 10 yards; switch directions and repeat, taking small steps to the left, until you return to start.


Double Kettlebell Front Squat 

Hold a kettlebell in each hand in front of shoulders, elbows pointing toward the floor and palms facing each other; stand with feet slightly wider than shoulders and toes turned slightly out. Sit back and bend your knees until thighs are just below parallel to the floor, then rise up to the starting position.


Stability: 3D Balance Reach 

Stand with feet together, arms by sides. Lift left foot a few inches off floor, bend right knee and reach forward as far as you can with ankle, hinging from hips, and tap toes to floor; return to center. Reach ankle out to side as far as you can, tap toes to floor; return to center. Open hips up to left as you reach foot in an arch behind you, tap toes to floor; return to center. Repeat series 3 to 5 times, keeping your center of gravity on standing foot and spine stacked over pelvis throughout; switch legs and repeat. Gradually increase speed as you become more comfortable.