To become a better athlete you must train in all planes of motion. The frontal plane refers to lateral movement, like a shuffle. Sagittal indicates linear motion, such as a sprint. Transverse means rotational movements, such as a medicine ball toss.
There is a fourth plane to train: Anti-rotation.
Anti-rotation prevents or slows movement in the transverse plane (i.e., rotational movements); in sports, this is just as important as rotation.
For example, think of a baseball pitcher. After he releases the ball, he must slow down the rotation of his torso and body. If anti-rotation didn't exist, he would just keep spinning until the forces you learned about in physics class halted him. But since he can cause his body to rotate with his muscles, he can also slow down the rotation with his muscles.
Another great example is a football running back. As he is running with the ball, defenders try to tackle him and drag him to the ground. Say a defender grabs him on his right side and tries to finish the tackle by dragging him down. The running back must resist the rotation forces pulling him to his right and fire all the muscles hard on his left side (i.e, anti-rotation).
Here are five exercises you can use to train anti-rotation.
1. Palloff Press
Attach a resistance band to a solid object, such as a rig or squat rack. You can also use a cable machine with any attachment that allows you to place both hands on one handle. Grab the band or handle and step out so you are parallel with the rig or squat rack and the band/cable is straight. Starting at the sternum, press the band/cable straight out until your arms are fully extended. The resistance will try to rotate your torso toward the source. Resist it by keeping your core tight. Slowly bring the band/cable back to your chest and repeat.
2. Pallof Press & Hold
Press the band/cable out just like the Pallof Press, but instead of bringing it back in toward your chest, hold the handle or band out with your arms fully extended for 20-30 seconds. Make sure to breathe! People tend to hold their breath while doing this variation; not good.
3. Pallof ABC
Press the band/cable out just like above, but this time, instead of holding perfectly still, draw the ABCs, letter for letter.
4. Pallof Overhead Reach
Press the band/cable out from your sternum as before. Pause with your arms fully extended. Now raise your arms above your head, making sure to keep them fully extended. Lower them in the same fashion and bring your hands back in to your sternum.
5. Palloff Hold with Lateral Lunge
This movement adds difficulty, so make sure to master the others first. Starting with your hands at your sternum, press out from your chest as before but simultaneously lunge laterally. Push your hips back, keep your leg closest to the anchor straight and bend your outside knee. Pause at the end and return to the starting position, reversing the motion.
Make sure to watch the above video for visual demonstrations.
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