Spatial and Directional Terms

Abduction: Term used to describe moving part of your body, like your leg, away from the midline (center) of your body. A good way to remember this is to think about someone being abducted — they are taken away from you just like abduction indicates your body part is moving away from your midline. Opposite of Adduction 

Adduction: Term used to describe moving part of your body, like your leg, toward the midline (center) of your body. A good way to remember this is to think about adding something to your body, rather than taking it away from you. Opposite of Abduction

Anterior: Term used to refer to the front of your body. You can remember this if you think of ‘ante up’ which is something you do at the front or start of a poker game. Opposite of Posterior

Distal: Term used to refer to a position or point of your body that is furthest from the original point of reference or the center of your body. Good way to remember this is to think of the word ‘distance’ which means something far away. Opposite of Proximal

Dorsal: Term used to refer to a position or reference point on your back or on the back of your body. Easy to remember this because you can just think of a dolphin’s dorsal fin which is on its back. Opposite of Ventral

External Rotation: When your joint rotates externally, away from the middle of your body. Opposite of Internal Rotation

Inferior: Term used to refer to something that is far from the surface, like a muscle that is underneath other muscles and close to your skeleton. Also referred to as deep. Opposite of Superior

Internal Rotation: When your joint rotates internally, toward the middle of your body. Opposite of External Rotation

Lateral: Refers to something that is toward your side, away from your mid-line. Opposite of Medial

Lateral Flexion: When you bend your spine (cervical, thoracic, and/or lumbar) from side to side.

Medial: Refers to something that is toward your mid-line, away from your side. Opposite of Lateral

Neutral Spine: This term refers to the natural position of your spine when it is in good alignment with the existence of all three curves (cervical, thoracic, and lumbar).

Posterior: Term used to refer to the back of your body. Easy to remember because your buttocks are also sometimes referred to as your ‘posterior.’ Opposite of Anterior

Prone: When you are lying on your stomach. Opposite of Supine

Proximal: Term used to refer to a position or reference point near the center of your body. Good way to remember this is to think of ‘approximate’ which means close to. Opposite of Distal

Superior: Term used to refer to something that is closer to the surface, like a muscle that is on top of other muscles that are deeper in your body. Also referred to as superficial. Opposite of Inferior

Supine: When you are lying on your back. Opposite of Prone

Ventral: Term used to refer to a position on your front or towards the front of your body. You can remember this by thinking of your mouth as your vent, which is what happens when you exhale. Your mouth is on the front of your body. Opposite of Dorsal

PLANES OF MOTION:
Frontal Plane: A theoretical plane that bisects your body into two halves: your front and back. The movement around this plane occurs around an anterior-posterior axis. The best way to think of movement in this plane is to imagine a pane of glass in front of you and behind you. So, any movement between these two panes of glass is movement in the frontal plane. This includes basically anything side to side, like hopping left to right, or lateral flexion of your spine, like Side Bends.

Sagittal Plane: A theoretical plane that bisects your body into two halves: your right and left. The movement around this plane occurs around a frontal axis. The best way to think of movement in this plane is to imagine a pane of glass on your right side and one on your left side. So, any movement between these two panes of glass is movement in the sagittal plane. This includes basically anything where you move forward or backwards, like Lunges or Butt-kicks

Transverse Plane: A theoretical plane that bisects your body into two halves: upper and lower, but not necessarily your upper and lower body. The movement around this plane occurs around a longitudinal or vertical axis. The best way to think of movement in this plane is to imagine a pane of glass parallel to the floor, dissecting you into two parts (a little gruesome, sorry). So, any movement where you or part of you swivels parallel to this glass is movement in the transverse plane. This includes basically anything where you twist from side to side, like Russian Twists, or your limbs internally or externally rotate, like Seated-leg Abduction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: