Multi Directional Training


Johnny is an avid soccer player, coach and fan and also one of our team members (completing his Masters in Exercise Physiology), and his passion goes beyond this to helping us all to move better and be fitter and healthier so I asked him to write this week and he jumped at the chance to talk a little about Multi Directional Training.

Many of you know my favourite sport is soccer which I’ve played since I could walk. My favourite team is Manchester United (most successful team in England 😉) that play in the English Premier League. This is one of the toughest leagues in the world that has some of the most talented elite athletes. Elite athletes and yourself have more in common than you may think. No matter what your fitness levels are, multidirectional training should be done by everyone.

Multidirectional training is exercising in different planes. The sagittal plane involves flexion, extension, forward and backward movements eg. Squats or step ups. The frontal plane is sideway movements, some of you may have done this in the gym where you walk sideways with a resistance band (Crab walk). The transverse plane is rotational movements, e.g. Cable twists on the tower.

A recent research study looked at multidirectional movements in soccer players playing in the English Premier League. Their study found soccer players cover between 8-12km in total over a 90 minute match with 98% of that distance without the ball. The total distance covered comprised of 7.9% backwards, 3% sideways and 89% forwards movement in English Premier League players (Bloomfield, Polman and O’Donoghue (2007a)). This indicates how much multidirectional movements is used by soccer players at the elite level. However, there are many sports that require multidirectional movements and can relate to this study. Whether you play soccer or another sport that requires many directional changes throughout the match (e.g. Basketball, AFL, tennis etc.) you should be including multidirectional training as part of your exercise. This will not only help you be more efficient in your sport but can be utilised to prevent injuries and improve movement in everyday life.

Some of you may not play any sport or your glory days of playing regular sport are over and you’re thinking how does this relate to me?

Well, athletes shouldn’t be the only population using multidirectional training as part of their exercise routine. Many of the general population train only in the sagittal plane (forward/backward movements). Although, it’s important to train in the frontal plane (sideway movements) and the transverse plane (rotational movements). During day-to-day activities such as cooking, hanging out clothes, cleaning etc. we move in different directions. As you get older you lose muscle size and strength and if we neglect training muscles that allow us to move in different directions, this accelerates the loss of your muscle size and strength. In result those simple tasks can start to become very difficult.

So, it’s very important that you include multidirectional training in your exercise routine which will result in making you feel “FITTER, HEALTHIER & HAPPIER