You love CrossFit. I Get It. So Do I.
Conventional CrossFit is supremely sagital plane dominant (except for the Double Banger in 2012). Sagital plane movements are up and down, or straight forward and straight back. Why? Because that is the plane that we can load the most efficiently and effectively. AKA Football players aren’t going to do Transverse plane lunges to a 1 rep max, but they should be doing movements that replicate what their position will encounter on the field and then they sure as hell better be doing some Heavy Hang Power Cleans. Their sport functions highly in all three planes, yet they primarily load the Sagital plane and then ideally run the daylights out of drills that replicate the triplane movement that looks and smells like Football.
The sagital plane dominance of CrossFit is not bad. It is what it is. None of us are going to inherently change the nature or our sport, yet we do need to think about the ramifications of only moving in one plane. The way Coach Estes, puts it is that we can function at a pretty high level for a relatively long amount of time while only utilizing straight Sagital plane motion, but eventually our Frontal and Tranverse plane motion will become so inhibited that we will see a reduction in performance or injury in the Sagital plane and that is when our body screams for help and we go see a Chiro or physician and ask ,”What the hell is wrong with me, everything was going so well.”
The best example from GGRX that I have is JoJo. He has been in CrossFit under a year, has a heavy background in skateboarding, and just moves incredibly well. But, this may not be the case forever, we have to give him the opportunity to keep that fluidity of movement and his ninja skillz. He can do this through continuing to practice freestyle motion like Carl Paoli, or we can train it on the rubber.
We do this through triplane movement. Hold the eff on – what in the God’s name are these planes you keep speaking of!!! Sagital Plane – everything you do on the rubber – Squats, Lunges, PullUps, Running, Etc. Frontal Plane – a lateral lunge or side bend. Tranverse Plane – a quarterback taking a drop step. BUT better yet think about little kids playing or a Kung-Fu movie. Those cats are all over the place swinging, yelling, punching, kicking, and having a blastyblast. This is kind of what I do on my “Off” days but in a more controlled adult manner, I train the living bejesus out of the Frontal and Transverse planes, while mingling in some positional Oly work and having a hell of a lot of fun. No clocks. Just movement till I feel great and it is time to go inside for dinner.
Training and Coaching are all about tools. We get these through our time in the gym, experiences at certifications or seminars, reading, and tinkering. Understanding and training TriPlane motion is another tool made popular and taught by Gary Gray. for us it is a tool to keep you squatting heavy and functioning at an extremely high level. Take it, use it, understand it, if it feels right, keep it, if it doesn’t throw it away and go do some curls and cruise around on Lake Austin. I believe in it because it has worked for me and I feel indescribably better when I stay after this part of my game.
The lunge matrix was introduced first because it is the starting point and a great one at that. But it is just the beginning.
What does my ideal Active Recovery or Sagital Plane Rehab Day look like? I come up with something different nearly everytime but here is an example what we did this week.
Buttom Up Pause Progression Snatch
Lunge Matrix with T-Spine Drivers
DB Loaded Lunge Matrix
Circuit 2: Triple Up Weak Side
DB Snatch (6:2)
Transverse and Frontal Plane Sandbell Slams
BB Turkish Get Ups (3:1)
Other Items I Tend to Throw in the Mix (what you add will dependent on your weaknesses or what you feel like doing): Single Leg Balance, Single Leg Jump Matrix, Ankle Matrix, Drop Step Rows, MedBall Work, PushUp Matrix, Press Matrix, and the Squat Matrix.
All this may seem complicated at first but once you know the basics you can play around fairly easily and get in a good sweat while recouping your body’s natural ability to move.
Less Talk, More Do.