A couple of years ago, Swifty was approached by the strength and conditioning coach of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. He was looking for scooters that could be used as training tools for his athletes, especially players with foot injuries who were trying to get back into their regular training schedule. The coach confirmed that kick-scooting was a great way to build low-impact cardio and multi-planar exercise into the team’s training and rehab. But what is multi-planar exercise? And why is it so good?
What is multi-planar exercise?
Multi-planar exercise is currently trending in the fitness community because of the ability to utilise multiple muscle groups simultaneously. It counteracts the dated viewpoint of exercising your muscles as individual sections and looks to rather utilise the body as a whole.
Our bodies move in three primary planes of motion: Sagittal (forwards and backwards), frontal (side-to-side), and transversal (rotational). Any type of movement or exercise that includes at least two of these is classed as a multi-planar movement.
Even though our bodies were designed to move in all three planes, most of us work out within only one plane of movement. Popular exercises like push-ups, squats, or running are set within a singular plane. Because of this, we isolate one muscle group at a time. This contradicts the way our bodies have evolved, for we don’t move naturally within one single plane of movement – we use all three. It is important to focus upon and emulate real-life movement patterns while working out in order to avoid one of the three planes becoming overly dominant. Exercising more than one plane ultimately results in a stronger and more stable body, allowing you to exercise with a lower risk of injury.
Swifty ambassador and professional bobsledder Toby Olubi on his Swifty. Find out more about Toby in our blog - A Scooter for Taller and Heavier Riders | Q+A with Toby Olubi
Benefits of multi-planar movement
All three planes of movement are essential in strengthening your body, which is why they deserve equal attention. Multi-planar exercises aren’t only a lot more fun compared to singular workout, there are also a lot more benefits. It is important for strength that our bodies get used to moving in real-life patterns.
Because the natural movement of our bodies is multi-planar, training all three planes means you train your body for natural movement rather than gym exercises. Almost all gym-based exercises are performed in a singular plane, which can cause problems when the body is required to move in multiple planes. An imbalance in muscle groups is easily created when doing this, which increases the risk of injury.
Multi-planar exercise creates a balance between physique and function. Being able to work efficiently in multiple planes transfers to many activities and sports. Most people over-train in the sagittal plane, which leads to weakness in the other two planes. Injuries can’t always be avoided while working out, but a good level of strength and flexibility in all three planes certainly helps.
Is kick-scooting a multi-planar exercise?
Whether on a high octane workout or a leisure trip, movement on the scooter will constantly be engaging multiple planes without the rider having to think about it.
Through the nature of operating a kick-scooter, it is classed as a multi-planar form of exercise. In the simplest terms, you kick forward, move your body down and come up again, which is a multi-planar action. Adjusting which leg you’re scooting with will also get the rider utilising frontal movement as they move from side to side. The nature of scooting also involves a lot of looking around at your surroundings, which in turn will be working the transversal plane.
As mentioned in our Scooter Fitness Guide, scooting trains a wide variety of muscles. Not only does it train the bigger muscles that are responsible for sagittal movement but it also works your hip flexors and the smaller interconnecting muscles that provide you with better overall stability.
To find out more about how you can use your scooter to help your fitness check out our guide: Scooter Fitness | An Overview for Your Kick-Scooter Workout
Case Study: Swifty and NYC Brooklyn Nets
Kick-scooting has been adopted by professional strength and conditioning coaches as a complementary exercise tool. We were contacted by the Brooklyn Nets’ strength and conditioning coach asking if our scooters could cater for a basketball player with a foot injury. Foot and knee injuries are common in basketball due to the high impact, fast-paced and multi-planar nature of the sport. Also, the athletes are exceptionally tall! So building in a complementary training tool like a kick-scooter was a perfect solution to not only provide low impact cardio training through the rehab period but also support the need for foot strength and multi-planar training.
Swifty provided the team with two modified SwiftyZEROs, adorned with the team’s colours and logo. These custom scooters were made of the lightweight SwiftyZERO frame and were fitted with SwiftyAIR rims and hubs to provide extra strength. Kenda K-West tyres were added, as well as extra tall handlebar extensions. These modifications made the scooters perfectly suitable for players up to 7’1”. But why did this strength and conditioning coach decide to use scooters as a part of helping injured players get back on the court? The answer is multi-planar exercise.
Scooting is a low impact form of cardio, which means it won’t strain your joints as you maintain your increased heart rate. This makes scooting such a great complimentary workout to any other sport, and why scooting helped the injured basketball players recover while also building up their strength.
Scooting is a perfect way of adding some extra exercise into your daily routine to get back into an active lifestyle after an injury. If it works for the Brooklyn Nets, it can work for you!