Movements in the sagittal plane

Any movement that brings a body part in front or behind the body is in the sagittal plane. These are best observed from the side:

  • Flexion
  • Extension
  • Hyperextension
  • Dorsi flexion
  • Plantar flexion


Movements in the transverse plane

Any movement that rotates (twists) the body (or body part) is in this plane:

  • Medial/internal rotation
  • Lateral/external rotation
  • Rotation to the left or right of the vertebral column
  • Supination
  • Pronation
  • Inversion
  • Eversion
  • Horizontal flexion
  • Horizontal extension
  • Protraction
  • Retraction


Movements in the frontal plane

Movements in this plane would go out to the side away from the body and back in towards the middle of the body. Movements can also occur straight up and down within the plane, such as elevation and depression of the shoulder girdle. These movements are best observed either from in front or behind the person moving:

  • Abduction
  • Adduction
  • Ulnar deviation – the hand moves in the direction of the little finger at the wrist
  • Radial deviation – the hand moves in the direction of the thumb at the wrist
  • Lateral flexion – movement of the trunk or head and neck to the left and right
  • Elevation
  • Depression
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