Exercise comes in many shapes and sizes. You can set your focus to anything from powerlifting to marathon running to bodybuilding. But these are simply the many branches of one tree: functional fitness. When it comes to basic human biomechanics, we move on three planes of motion: sagittal (step forward), frontal (step lateral), and transverse (twist). Knowing first how to exercise functionally is like knowing how to hold a guitar before you practice playing.

If you’re going to exercise for a healthy body, regardless of the branch you choose to focus on, why not do it based on the science of your body? To only perform your exercises on the sagittal plane can create a muscular imbalance throughout the body, which can lead to injuries. An example of this would be to only run, lunge forward, curl dumbbells, and squat. It’s important to incorporate triplanar movements (all three planes) into your exercise routines.

My advice is this: if working out on your own, keep track of what you do throughout the week. Keep an eye out for patterns such as overworking one muscle group or even completely ignoring one of the planes of motion. For best results (and to take the thinking and planning out of it), get into Function Factory and benefit from guided functional fitness throughout each week.