kinetic chains

Open And Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises

It’s common to compare a healthy body to an efficient machine. It is constructed of fixed parts given motion through joints, much like a machine.

The idea that these joints and segments influence one another while moving is known as a kinetic chain. When one is moving, a series of things happen that have an impact on the motion of nearby joints and segments.

Kinetic chain exercises are used by physical therapists, chiropractors, and personal trainers to aid in body shaping, performance improvement, and injury prevention and rehabilitation.

What Is Kinetic Chain Exercise?

Exercises that use kinetic chains adhere to the kinetics principle found in mechanical engineering. According to the kinetic chain theory, our body’s joints and organ systems are interconnected. When one of them moves, all the other joints and segments that are connected to it are also impacted. Your body’s distal parts move freely or are locked during kinetic chain activities. Let’s think about the motions your body makes while you conduct wall throws to better comprehend the kinetic chain.

Types Of Kinetic Chain Exercises

Depending on the moment of the body parts that are furthest from the center of the body, kinetic chain workouts can either be “closed” or “open.” Your hands and feet are examples of distal body parts that may be fixed or mobile.

Open-Chain Exercises

Open kinetic chain workouts are those in which the distal end of a certain limb can move about freely in space. For instance, your hands are not fixed or resting on the ground when you execute overhead tricep extensions. Instead, they raise and lower the dumbbell. Bench press and bicep curls are two further instances of open kinetic chain exercises.

These workouts are not compound motions, as opposed to closed-chain exercises. Instead, individuals focus on a particular joint and only use the muscles connected to that body part while doing the task. Specific body parts can be isolated from one another and strengthened using open-chain workouts. Bodybuilders and persons receiving physiotherapy should choose these workouts.

Closed-Chain Exercises

Exercises that include a closed kinetic chain keep the distal points of a particular limb stationary. The distal elements of these exercises can either be fastened to a stationary object, such as a Plyo box or a bar, or they can be on the floor. The best kinetics exercise of this type is the push-up. You attach your hands and feet to the ground while doing them, while the rest of your body moves. A pull-up is a similar closed-chain exercise since the hands are fastened to the bar throughout this exercise.

Benefits Of Kinetic Chain Exercises

Promote Strength And Muscle Gain

According to a study, workouts using open and closed chain pulley machines have a good effect on the trunk’s muscular strength. Your chest, belly, pelvis, and back muscles are located here. Kinetic chain movements are ideal for recreational athletes who want to use their bodies as effectively as possible for their sport since they safely assist in the development of superior strength and muscles.

For instance, wall balls and lunges with a rotation are excellent exercises for softball players since they simulate the pitching motion. The secret to achieving the optimum exercise for kinetic chain strengthening is striking a balance between open and closed-chain motions. Closed-chain workouts are more important since they concurrently work numerous muscles.

Improve Metabolic Rate

Exercises with a closed kinetic chain target numerous muscles at once and include movements like push-ups, squats, and lunges. These times demand a lot of energy, which increases metabolic rate and aids in fat burning. Additionally, open-chain exercises target particular muscle groups to build their strength and improve their performance during closed-chain exercises, which burn more calories.

Improve Muscle Strength

Muscular strength and functional fitness go hand in hand. Both open-chain and closed-chain workouts are effective at building muscular strength. Additionally, after anterior cruciate ligament restoration, open-chain workouts may be quite important for maintaining knee function. They focus on particular muscles for particular activities. They aid in keeping your activities coordinated in this way. Having stated that, joint stability cannot be achieved only by open-chain motions. To improve kinetic chain mobility, joint and muscle health, and general fitness, your workout should have a balanced mixture of open- and closed-chain exercises.

Improve Functional Fitness

Your functional fitness will greatly benefit if you incorporate kinetic chain movements into your training regimen. Exercises that use a closed-loop system can improve the dynamic balance required for acts that involve moving oneself. Our everyday movements include both closed and open kinetic chain actions. There is dynamic activity everywhere, whether you are bending down to pick something up, putting a container on the top shelf of your cupboard, or climbing the stairs. This is why it is so important to practice these practical skills that improve your life.

Improve Joint Stability

According to a research, both kinetic chain workouts help people with injured anterior cruciate ligaments, which help to support the knee joint. Closed-chain motions enhance joint compression and stabilize joints since they include fixed distal ends. Additionally, open-chain workouts distribute the strain across the nearby muscles. For kinetic chain physical therapy, many physical therapists utilize open and closed-chain exercises.

Disadvantage Of Kinetic Chain Exercises

Interfere With Rehabilitation

The healing process following an injury may be hampered by engaging in closed-chain activities. The malfunctioning of the affected region is extremely common when there has been an injury. Due to the discomfort, edema, and restricted range of motion, it is not a good idea to perform closed kinetic chain exercise under such circumstances. In order to target and develop specific muscles in the affected area, you must instead begin with open-chain motions.

Cause Joint Injuries

Hastily performing kinetic exercises while hunched over puts tension on the joints, which can cause injury. Additionally, it may occur if your motions are not coordinated. For instance, performing a squat with poor posture might result in severely strained knees. Therefore, be sure that your motions are in alignment and that you can maintain your balance before performing exercises like deadlifts and squats. You may also examine the functionality of your joints using tests like the closed kinetic chain upper extremity stability test.

Cause Wear And Tear

Exercises with an open or closed kinetic chain are excellent for creating a sensible training schedule. The most common error, though, is to pay attention to only one of these motions. For instance, you could have superior closed-chain options if all you do to grow your arms is bicep curls. The movement is unstable since there is no fixed point, which increases the risk of shoulder discomfort. You could get larger biceps as a result of this. However, there is a high chance of experiencing wear and tear in the shoulder region. This may be easily avoided by include a mix of closed-chain exercises and open-chain activities in your training schedule.


Open Kinetic Chain Exercises

Seated Leg Extensions

Open-chain quad workouts include seated leg extensions. It denotes that the front thigh muscles are used. Additionally, by bolstering the knee ligaments, these serve as open-chain knee workouts.

Place your feet on the lever machine so the pad is just above your ankle. Pick an average weight. This kinetic exercise may also be done on a chair without weights. Hold the handlebars while maintaining a 90-degree angle with your knees. Lift the weight while inhaling until your legs are fully extended. At no time throughout the exercise should you lock your knees or arch your back. As you exhale, reposition your legs to where they were before. Perform 3 sets of 8–12 repetitions.

Bicep Curls

The muscles at the front of your arms, known as the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis, are the focus of bicep curls. To increase arm strength, try this open-chain kinetic workout.

Place your feet hip-width apart on the ground, with your toes pointing forward. Hold a dumbbell in each hand while maintaining a strong core. Maintain a comfortable posture with your arms at your sides, palms facing front. To lift the weights, relax your shoulders, take a deep breath, and bend your elbow. While doing so and as the dumbbell gets closer to your shoulders, keep your upper arms steady. Take a breath out as you slowly return the dumbbells to their starting position. Use a weight you can handle and do 2-3 sets of 8–12 repetitions.

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Bench Press

The biggest muscle in the anterior chest wall, the pectoralis major, is the primary muscle worked by the bench press. The triceps and shoulder muscles are also worked during this open-chain kinetic workout.

Your eyes should be about in line with the front of the rack holding the bar as you lay on the bench. Make sure your spine is not arched or rounded by keeping your feet wide and flat on the ground. Pull your shoulders back and grip the barbell with both hands firmly. The outside of your clenched fist should contain your thumb. Maintain a 45-degree angle with your torso and keep your upper arms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. As you take the barbell from the rack, lock your elbows. Take a big breath in and bring the bar to your chest. Your nipple line should be exactly where it should be. As you exhale, raise your arms over your chest and push the bar. Start the next rep from here and lower the bar to finish the first rep. Put the bar back on the rack and lower it to the barbell rest when a set of repetitions is complete. The elbow you are using for this exercise should be locked out. If you utilize heavier weights, do 3 sets of 3–5 repetitions.Increase the number of repetitions to 6-10 if the weight is low.

Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises


The most well-known compound closed-chain exercise is the squat. They work a variety of muscles, including the quadriceps, calves, and glutes.

Your feet should be firmly planted on the ground, somewhat broader than your hips, and pointed slightly outward. Join your palms together, extend your arms out in front of you, and bend your elbows. Maintain a straight back and a tight core. Your starting point is here. Taking a deep breath, kneel down while bending your knees and pushing your hips back. Make sure your knees and feet are in alignment. Squat until you are in a parallel squat position, with your hip joint lower than your knees. Exhale now, press the ground with your legs, and gently raise yourself back up. 3 sets of 12–15 repetitions should be done.


Pull-ups exercise the muscles in the upper back, neck, shoulders, and spine. They contribute to increased physical fitness and general bodily strength.

Step out from behind the pull-up bar. Your hands should be facing away from you while you hold the bar with your arms extended overhead. Start pushing your shoulder blades together while holding your hands shoulder-width apart. Lift your feet off the floor while bending your ankles. Your starting point is here. To make sure your chin is above the bar, raise your chest just a little bit and draw your elbow close to your body. Return to the starting position gradually. Execute 3–4 sets of 6–10 repetitions.

Push Ups

Push-ups, one of the functional exercises, target the chest, shoulders, arms, and core. These closed-chain shoulder exercises aid in strengthening the upper body as well as the core.

Sit on all fours on the ground. Make sure your hands are beneath your shoulders and firmly planted on the ground. Maintain a straight back so you may produce a plank-like shape. Your starting point is here. Take a deep breath in and squat down, bending your elbows. From head to toe, your body need to be in a straight line. Exhale, push yourself back up until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, then reset to the beginning position. Maintaining perfect technique, complete 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Closed Vs. Open Chain Exercises

Since closed-chain workouts target many muscles, most fitness professionals and trainers favor them in their kinetic fitness regimens. These workouts are more efficient than open-chain exercises because they involve compound motions. No matter what, open-chain movements remain crucial. Both exercises with upper and lower target chains should be included in a well-planned kinetic training program. Have a larger percentage of closed-chain workouts in your regimen if your fitness objectives are more strength-based for improved advantages. Alternately, use an open-chain exercise that targets that muscle group in addition to the closed-chain exercises if you want to concentrate on a particular muscle area to make it pop.

Bottom Line

Exercises with an open or closed chain are ideal if you want to schedule your workouts wisely. You may develop lean muscles and strength by combining the two in a well-planned kinetics training program. You may use these kinetic chain exercises to help with your everyday tasks and functional fitness. Furthermore, these exercises aid in stabilizing joints and improving body balance as part of physiotherapy.

Bench presses, bicep curls, seated leg extensions, chest fly, hamstring curl, lateral pull-downs, push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, deadlifts, and leg presses are some efficient open and closed-chain exercises you may incorporate into your sweat session. Follow all safety precautions and keep perfect form when performing these workouts. You’ll get the best results possible without putting undue stress on your joints or muscles.

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