Do you train the right chain?

Posted by juggernautPT on February 23, 2015

Do you train the right chain?
Do you train the right chain_zpssw7abevh

This is NOT an article on how to hang chains off your necks whilst doing dips but it is an article to help you understand the benefits that training the right 'chain' can bring. 

The concept of the kinetic chain originated in 1875, when a mechanical engineer named Franz Reuleaux proposed that if a series of overlapping segments were connected via pin joints, these interlocking joints would create a system that would allow the movement of one joint to affect the movement of another joint within the kinetic link.

Dr. Arthur Steindler adapted this theory in 1955, and included an analysis of human movement. Steindler suggested that the extremities be viewed as a series of rigid, overlapping segments and defined the kinetic chain as a "combination of several successively arranged joints constituting a complex motor unit." The movements that occur within these segments present as two primary types—open and closed.

So then what is Open Vs Closed kinetic chain and which one is better for the results that functional training enables? We can identify Kinetic Chains in exercise quite simply by remembering this.

Open Kinetic Chain: Body stays still. Hands or Feet move.

Closed Kinetic Chain: Body Moves. Hands or Feet stays still. 

As an example most Suspension Training and body-weight exercises are closed kinetic chain – the body moves, while the hands/feet stay still.

Close Kinetic Chain exercises increase the use of stabilisers, and push joint surfaces together, while open kinetic chain exercises typically pull joint surfaces apart.

This makes closed kinetic chain exercises the preferred choice for early stage rehabilitation, as the unstable and often painful joints tolerate being pushed together rather than pulled apart.

Closed kinetic chain exercise also often result in higher core activation.

Interestingly, being very strong in an open kinetic chain movement does not always transfer to the similar movement pattern in closed kinetic chain. Ever known someone who can lat pull down enormous loads, but struggles with chin ups?

We have certainly seen this with clients who can bench press over 100kg, but struggle with suspension training chest press due to the unstable environment and closed kinetic chain nature of the exercise.

In summary if you train to get stronger in Closed Kinetic chain to improve the way you move in real life. To help you get started over the next few weeks I'll give you my top 7 Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises for the Upper Body  using a suspension trainer.

#7 CrankIt Chest Press

Why we Like it! This is a great all rounder to get started with suspension training on the upper body. It will challenge shoulder and core stabilisers, increase the strength of the chest and triceps whilst integrating the core and can be performed by almost anyone.

Form: Standing in an incline push-up position lower your chest to the handle then press back up to start position.

Technique Tips: Watch for hips sagging down or being pushed back to assist the movement

Positioning: Face away from the anchor with both straps at a long length

Purpose: To Strengthen your push pattern targeting your chest and triceps.


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