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Motion can be a complex topic to discuss. To provide clarity, anatomists use a standard set of terms to describe the most common movements the human body performs. They classify motions based on the anatomical plane in which they occur. These planes split the human body into several regions, and the joints provide movements within these regions. Abduction and adduction are two such movements. When describing motions, anatomists assume the human body is in the anatomical position: upright, arms at the sides, palms facing forward.

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1. Anatomical Planes

Most anatomists refer to three planes for general motion descriptions. The transverse plane is parallel to the ground and separates the superior from the inferior. The superior is the upper body and head while the inferior is the lower body and the feet. The coronal plane is perpendicular to the ground. It separates the front of the body from the back. Sometimes, anatomists use the terms anterior and posterior or ventral and dorsal to describe these regions. The sagittal plane is also perpendicular to the ground, but it separates the right side of the body from the left.

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