I have recently had a discussion with a colleague of mine about the prescription of exercise (in both the clinical rehabilitation sense and also the general fitness sense). We were discussing how often the majority of exercises are always prescribed and performed in the sagittal plane (forwards direction). A good example of this is the anterior lunge. The anterior lunge is a great exercise to improve lower limb strength. The knee joint, whose movement occurs primarily in the sagittal plane (flexing and extending) also requires and has frontal and transverse capabilities of movement. The knee joint which is supported by a number of muscles and ligaments if only trained in the sagittal plane is likely to put the individual at a higher risk of injury if they play sport that involves multi directional movements. Failure to train the body in all movement patterns will mean that the knee joint for example and surrounding soft tissues and structures will be under performing from proprioceptive and overall functioning sense. This can be said that this is true for the rest of the body. Whilst we learn from an anatomical text book view point that different joints and regions in the body have primary movements and functions, often as a whole, the body functions quite differently. When prescribing an exercise program I think it always important to think of the overall function of the body and look at how it was made to be used and trained. So rather than just prescribing the standard GYM based muscle building exercises, it is important to keep in mind how the body functions and incorporate multi directional functional based exercises.
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