Daily Gaines Tips: Tri Planar Overhead Carry


Tri-Planar Overhead Carry

The Tri Planar Overhead Carry is a well-known movement that can train overhead strength as well as shoulder and core stability. It can also be used as an assessment tool to help guide therapeutic and corrective interventions so that your athlete can continue to progress their overhead lifting safely.

Life and sport take place in 3 planes of motion, therefore training & mobility work should reflect that. Depending on the type of weighted modality, this movement can be biased for strength, stabilization or assessment.  In the video below we use a med ball atop a flat hand and extended wrist to take a look at the athlete’s stability and mobility through all 3 planes.  The ball is resting on the hand, so as form breaks down it will roll out of place or compensatory patterns will present themselves.

How it’s done:

-Press the med ball overhead, lock out the elbow and shrug the scapula up.

-The wrist is extended and hand is flat with the fingers pointed backwards.

-The spine should stay neutral without any lateral flexion or overextension.

-Sagittal Plane: Walk forward for 50ft then backward to the start.

-Frontal Plane:  Side step to the left for 50ft then return facing the same direction sidestepping to the right.

-Transverse Plane:  Cross the right foot over the left in a carioca pattern, then reverse facing the same direction with the left crossing over the right.

-Repeat all three gait patterns with the opposite arm either before changing planes or after completing the sequence.


The athlete has plenty of strength, however, in order to keep the ball overhead he had to overextend his lumbar spine.  This is important feedback because these types of limitations can lead to injury down the line.


We will take a look at the structures that limit overhead motion.  Some common offenders are: the lats, pecs, thoracic spine and hip flexors.  Then we will create mobility through joint mobilization or stretching so that tri-planar motion is maximized.

Your Challenge:

Give this drill a try and find out where you or your athlete are limited.


By Chris Butler, MPT, CSCS

Tri Planar