The anatomical position is the reference position of the body that is used when describing movements of parts of the body (Figure 1). This ensures that movement terminology is consistent, since all axes of rotation are aligned consistently throughout the upper and lower body. The position is standing upright with the head and feet pointing directly forwards, eyes looking straight ahead. The lower limbs are close together with the feet parallel. The upper limbs are down at the sides of the body with the palms of the hands facing forwards. This position of the upper limbs is different to their natural position during relaxed standing, in which the palms face the body. However, with the upper limbs in the palms-forward position, the flexion – extension axes of the elbow, wrist and joints of the hand are aligned mediolaterally. This puts them in the same orientation as the flexion – extension axes of the other joints of the body. Similarly, the abduction – adduction and internal – external rotation axes are also aligned with the rest of the body. Even though the upper limb may move to a position very different to the anatomical position, the naming of the joint rotations remains the same as in the anatomical position. When interpreting the component parts of a complex upper body movement, it can be helpful to imagine moving the limb back to the anatomical position. It will then be easier to isolate the individual joint movement and identify the axis of rotation and direction of movement. See also anatomical terminology; planes and axes of movement.