Most of us are not familiar with the term, “closed kinetic chain exercises”. What we do not know is that many of the exercises that we perform are good examples of this kind of exercise. So, what are closed chain exercises?

Defining Closed Chain Exercises

These are exercises that target more muscles by keeping one specific joint from moving. There are two main joints that are always used as a reference in kinetic chain exercises. These joints include the joints of the hands and feet.

The only way you can prevent these joints from moving is by placing either the hands or the feet against a stationary object. A good example of this is when you plant your hands on the floor while performing pushups.

The joints in the hands and wrists do not move. However, other joints are moving, including the elbows and the shoulders.

The movement of the other joints also activates other muscle groups along the kinetic chain. In pushups, the kinetic chain includes the muscles and other tissues of the hands, forearms, upper arms, and shoulders.

You also get to activate the muscles of the chest, the lower back, and the abdomen. These muscles also get worked up; not only the muscles of the hands.

Difference from Open Chain Exercises

Open kinetic chain exercises focus more on a single joint and a single muscle group. A good example of this type of exercise is a biceps curl. When you perform this exercise, you only work the elbow joints and the biceps brachii muscles. Your hands are free to move.

Benefits of Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises

Exercise physiologists say that closed chain exercises are a lot better than open types. It is important to understand that closed chain exercises are weight-bearing exercises. On the other hand, open chain exercises are non-weight-bearing exercises.

One of the benefits of closed chain exercises is that they get to target more muscle groups. This can lead to better muscle development, including strength and tone. It also allows the muscles to learn to work together as a single unit.

More joints are also involved in the various movements. This can help improve one’s flexibility. These types of exercises emphasise more on the compression of the joints. It can lead to greater stability of the joints.

The most important benefit of closed chain exercises is that they can help improve one’s overall functional fitness. The reason for this is that the movements associated with this exercise correlate to the very same movements we make every single day.

Examples of Closed Chain Exercises

Dips, pull-ups, chin-up, and pushups are examples of closed chain exercises for the upper body. These movements concentrate on the simultaneous contractions of different muscle groups. The deltoids, biceps, triceps, and pectoralis are the major muscle groups that these exercises activate.

Examples of CKC exercises for the lower body include leg presses, power cleans, lunges, squats, and deadlifts. They activate the hamstrings, quadriceps, soleus, hip flexors, and gastrocnemius.

Closed chain exercises are those movements that fixes the hands and/or feet against a stationary object or surface. The other muscles and joints along the plane of movement get activated.

Emma Pyke
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