Planes of Movement

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This article was edited and updated on November 8, 2015.

Planes of Movement

We can’t quite turn our heads all the way around to the back, and we can’t twist our spine 360º. However, we still have remarkable mobility...and injuries to any of our joints will lessen our ability to move. When we move our hands in figure 8’s, we are moving within these three planes of movement. Here is an explanation of each plane with a Wikipedia drawing to assist you:

Joint Movements

Here are five common joint movements:

Using these terms when exercising

It's important to understand these concepts, even if you don't know the terms, especially if you have limited range of motion because of a disability or injury. Your goal may be full range of motion but sometimes that it is a slow process.

See also:

Thanks to for the image.

I am a BCRPA-certified fitness instructor in Vancouver, BC. I teach four classes at the West End Community Centre in Vancouver, BC, mostly designed for the older adult. The Inevitable Disclaimer: Everything published here expresses only my opinion, based on my training and research. What you do with the information is entirely your own responsibility. I am not liable for any injury you suffer that seems to be related to anything you read here. Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program. For other articles, return to the table of contents.

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