You should tone your body with exercises in all planes of motion (or movements). Don’t lift weights to just build muscles. You want a beautifully toned woman’s body, not a bulky-looking, robotic body. If you move like a strong robot, you have probably just built up your muscles without training movements. If your movements are not fluid you will get injured.
As a woman, you need your body parts to be “in tune” with each other. You lift weights and do other exercises to improve your quality of life. This way, you function as a “smooth-operating” woman with little or no wasted motion.
Your kinetic chain (human movement system) consists of the muscular system, skeletal system and neural system. Postural problems and muscle imbalances cause these systems to misfire and cause injuries to your body.
You need your body to be lean and toned and operating smoothly in all 3 planes of motion:
1. Frontal Plane – imaginary bisector that divides the body into equal front and back halves. The motions primarily involve abduction and adduction (side-to-side motions). Abduction takes a limb away from the midline of the body and adduction takes the limb closer to the midline of the body. Examples include exercises performed on a hip abductor and hip adductor machines. Other frontal plane motions would be side lunges, dumbbell lateral shoulder raises and lateral spinal flexion. Quickness and agility movements require adequate frontal plane stability, strength, power, flexibility and balance.
2. Sagittal Plane – imaginary bisector that divides the body into left and right halves. The motions involve forward-backward and up-down movements relative to the body and/or joint. Examples would be walking, running, bicep curls, leg curls and seated back rows. Traditional training techniques (such as training with machine weights) have focused on the sagittal plane of motion. This is not an effective training technique if the other planes of motion are ignored during training.
3. Transverse Plane – imaginary bisector that divides the body into top and bottom halves. The motions are primarily rotational. Obviously, this will be a dominate plane of motion for many people. Turning, pivoting, hip rotations, quick turns and twisting are examples of movements we make every day.
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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Her Fitness Hut