Biomechanics for CrossFit - Part 2




So, last week we spoke about the basics of the skeletal musculature system and the way in which it works in order to help us move in the gym.


As promised, today we chat about levers in movement and planes of motion.


The movements directly involved in what we do in the gym everyday primarily act through the levers of the skeleton, made up of bones. There are many different types of lever, most of which are unnecessary to discuss within the aims of a blog of this nature. Really, the bare crux of what we need to know is that levers transit force in a number of different ways but most often in forces greater than those the body is subject to by external forces when movement is created – otherwise we wouldn’t move, right?!


It is worth noting that there are a number of ways in which our anatomical structures can vary to create differences between forces produced – not least our lever length and where the muscles and tendons insert on those levers – even very small differences between individuals can result in different advantages and disadvantages in the gym and in sport – an example – lifting heavy and slower movements could be helped in some part by having a tendon insert further away from the primary working joint where a movement that requires some agility could find this to be a disadvantage. While these things evidently can’t be changed, it is useful to know.


Next up a little run down of planes of motion – when we talk about moving in different planes of motion in the gym it really, in its simplest form, just relates to the direction in which we are moving, this can be helpful in describing the major movements that we undertake.


If a person is simply standing, arms down by their sides and we were to slice their body in half right down the middle looking head on – movements that occur in this plane are said to be SAGGITAL e.g. raising the arm out front to create shoulder flexion. The FRONTAL plane would see the body sliced directly down the centre in half if we were looking from the side, movements such as hip adduction happen in this plane of motion and the TRANSVERSE plane would split the upper and lower portion of the body at the middle. Movements that happen in the transverse plane could describe things like internal rotation of the hip.


It is important to understand the terminology used and hopefully helpful for you to dig a little deeper into the thought processes that underpin movements, programming and the biomechanical principles that assist in our exercise selection in the gym. If, as athletes, we can also begin to understand our bodies a little better and where our weaknesses and strengths may lie we can begin to use this to our advantage as we continue to train for performance and physical health.

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