Location & Movement Terminology

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Anatomy of Movement Terminology

In this lesson, we define anatomy terminology related to movement and location.


Learn terminology that describes anatomical movements and location.

Questions Answered Here

  1. What is flexion and extension?
  2. What is hyperextension?
  3. What is meant by lateral? Medial?
  4. Describe adduction and abduction.
  5. What is meant by internal and external rotation?
  6. What is the meaning of anterior and posterior?
  7. What is meant by distal and proximal?
  8. What is meant in anatomy by superior and inferior?
  9. For what purpose related to asana has Andrey Lappa described movement differently?
  10. What are the three planes of motion called? What type of movement happens in each?

Movement–Related Terminology

Movement Terminology

Movements of the body are described in six ways:

Flexion / Extension

  • Flexion — Decreases joint angle (Usually moves a body part forward except in the case of the knee which moves backward)
  • Extension — Returns joint to resting position
  • Hyperextension — Moving beyond normal, healthy range of motion

Adduction / Abduction

  • Adduction — Moves a part of the body toward the midline
  • Abduction — Moves a body part away from the midline

Internal Rotation / External Rotation

  • Internal / Medial Rotation — Moves toward the midline
  • External / Lateral Rotation — Moves away from the midline