One of the great things about my life is that I was able to watch my grandfather rip a car engine out of a junker and violently throw it across his garage in a fit of rage. As a kid, it didn’t mean much.

“Why is Grandpa so mad at the car engine?”

Looking back, that old man strength was something special. For one, it makes your grandpa look superhuman, and two, it can give you an insight on how to develop your own version of grandpa strength. And we can keep calling it “grandpa strength,” too.

So what is this “Grandpa Strength?”

Removing the rage factor of getting mad at an inanimate object, what I described with my grandfather slinging the engine is best described as a multi-planar exercise.

In short, we have three planes of movement. They move back to front, up and down, and side to side. Or, the sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes. For a simple frame of reference, if you imagine a line splitting you in left and right halves, everything that moves along that line is moving in the sagittal plane. Now, picture a line dividing your front and back half. Everything moving along that line is moving on the frontal plane. Last, imagine a line dividing you into top and bottom. Everything along that line is moving along the transverse plane.

In the gym, the majority of exercises take place in the sagittal plane. Rowing, deadlifts, squats, supinated lat pull-downs, chin-ups, are some common sagittal plane exercises. Even then, the position in which you perform them take place in the same plane. For instance, bending at the hips to perform a bent over row, or sitting to perform a cable row.

After that, most other exercises take place in the frontal plane. Pronated lat pull-downs, barbell military presses, shrugs, and lateral delt raises fall into this category.

Last and not least, the transverse plane. The poor, neglected orphan living in the Dursley’s close at 4 Privet Dr. anything involving a twisting motion fits this bill, like a Russian twist, a wood chop, a hanging knee raise with a twist. Not only that, any manner of spinal translation fits the bill—anterior, posterior, and lateral. In addition to that, the bench press, the pec fly, and rear delt fly fit. Some of the exercises we perform happen to fit this bill. These are pretty straightforward examples of multi-planar strength. But, for grandpa strength, we can tweak those. So let’s talk about them.

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