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Fitness Friday: Be A Multi-Plane Athlete

February 28, 2013

Walk into any commercial gym in your neighborhood and spend a few minutes watching people exercise. Forget about the people on cardio machines, and pay no attention to sloppy form or unusual grunting sounds. What I want you to observe is how people are exercising. See any common threads?


You might not notice it at first, but almost all gym goers do exercises that move the body up and down or backward and forward. While no one would ever question the validity of doing lunges and push-ups this way, if you aren't moving your body in other planes of motion, then you are really missing key components of total-body fitness. This is especially true if you are training for golf.

Not only does the body move in straight lines back and forth and up and down, but it also moves from side to side and it can rotate. Think of your golf swing and how your body winds and unwinds. How your hips shift. How your trunk turns back and through to the target. How your knees flex and straighten. Knowing this, does it make sense to only exercise in straight lines?

Ben Shear, a rock star of golf fitness, trains his elite-level players on the PGA Tour (Jason Day, Luke Donald, Webb Simpson) to move their bodies in multiple planes. You can take almost any exercise that is done linearly and add other planes of motion. One example would be jumps. You should jump forward, jump up, jump to your side and jump and rotate into another direction all in the same workout.

To see Ben demonstrate another basic exercise that can be beefed up, click on the video below.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor for Golf Digest.

*(Photo by Getty Images)