By Will Sunner

In all facets of life we move in 3D, or 3 planes of motion. To maximize our ability to function at the highest level, we must train our bodies in 3D. Matrix training is built around this concept, where 3D movement facilitates the expansion of our functional threshold or ability to successfully perform the tasks required for what we want and need to do in life.

A “3D Matrix” is any three-dimensional movement, consisting of the sagittal plane (forward and backward), frontal plane (side to side), and transverse plane (rotational) – that is organized in a logical sequence. You can make a 3D Matrix out of many of the exercises you do in the gym by simply incorporating all three planes of motion into the exercise.

Matrix training is valuable to all populations, regardless of age, capabilities or goals. It breaks away from traditional, isolated training and transforms into integrated, task specific training. It is rooted in the fact that what you do in the gym should resemble what you are trying to accomplish outside of the gym. Your training begins to relate to the true function of the human body.

Benefits of Matrix training include:

  • Improved Performance – Our bodies face numerous challenges through activities of daily living and athletics. 3D Matrix training effectively prepares our bodies for these challenges, taking us through movements and ranges of motion that we would normally not see with traditional training such as bench presses, pull-downs, and deadlifts.
  • Injury Prevention – We must prepare our bodies for all that life throws at us. Because it is so dynamic, applying 3D Matrix training principles to our flexibility, strength and conditioning programs makes us more resilient and less susceptible to injury.
  • Increased Proprioceptive Awareness – Our bodies are filled with proprioceptors that provide us with valuable information such as changes in joint compression, tension and velocity. 3D Matrix training helps “wake-up” our proprioceptors, ensuring they are giving our bodies all the information we need to function our best.
  • Conditioning / Metabolic Disturbance – You can get your heart rate up and break a serious sweat by moving your body in all three planes. For those looking to improve their body composition or lose a few pounds, applying 3D Matrix training principles to your conditioning program will certainly spike your metabolism and EPOC!
  • Fun Factor – Since human movement is infinite, your training options are infinite. You can have a lot of fun going through the endless variations of movements that you can take your body through by using 3D Matrix training.

Below are a few examples of how you can apply Matrix training principles to your program.

3D Flexibility

Muscles move and function in 3D just like our bodies, making it important that we stretch them in 3D to ensure optimal performance. Consider human movement a series of chain reactions, driven, or initiated by anatomical drivers such as our head, arms, legs, torso or feet.

To execute 3D stretching you have to “drive” your body in all 3 planes of motion. For example, instead of holding a half kneeling hip flexor stretch for 30 seconds, you can “drive” you pelvis in all three planes to effectively lengthen your hip flexor.

3D Strength

You can perform common strength training exercises such as push-ups, squats, lunges and overhead presses in all three planes of motion to make it a Matrix. A great example of this, which most of us are familiar with, is performing a lunge matrix with a dumbbell bicep curl into an overhead press.

Taking your body through all three planes of motion and incorporating the strength stimulus provided by dumbbells is a great way to build total body, functional strength.

3D Conditioning / Locomotion

Jumps, hops, squat thrusts, and agility ladder/lane drills are all examples of exercises and movements that can be made into a 3D Matrix.

For example, you can perform a “sprint” jump matrix, where you jump in all three planes of motion for 20 second intervals, giving yourself 10 seconds of rest in-between sprints. After just a few minutes I guarantee your heart will be racing and you will be reaping the benefits of 3D conditioning.

Be sure to talk with your trainer about how Matrix training can be incorporated into your fitness program. Take advantage of the world that we live in and our abilities to move freely throughout it through 3D Matrix training. Have fun, train hard and move in 3D!

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