The three anatomical planes

In order to explain the body’s movements, the body is seen as having a series of three imaginary lines dissecting it. These are known as planes of movement.

Body planes are points of reference used to assist in the understanding of movement of body segments with respect to one another.

Within each plane an axis can be identified in association with a particular joint about which the movement takes place.

  • The sagittal plane splits the body vertically into the left and right sides. If the plane dissects the body into equal left and right sides, it is known as the median plane.
  • The transverse plane divides the body into superior (higher) and inferior (lower) sections and runs horizontally.
  • The frontal plane runs vertically and divides the body into anterior (front) and posterior (back) sections.

planes of movementClick to enlarge