Open kinetic chain exercises

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Open chain exercises (OKC) are exercises that are performed where the hand or foot is free to move. The opposite of OKC are closed kinetic chain exercises (CKC). Both are effective for strengthening and rehabilitation objectives.[1] Closed-chain exercises tend to offer more "functional" athletic benefits because of their ability to recruit more muscle groups and require additional skeletal stabilization.[2]


Single-joint versions of these exercises are typically non-weight bearing, with the movement occurring at the hinge joints (elbow or knee).[3] If there is any weight applied, it is often applied to the distal portion of the limb. Open chain exercises are postulated to be advantageous in rehabilitation settings because they can be easily manipulated to selectively target specific muscles, or specific heads of certain muscles, more effectively than their closed chain counterparts, at different phases of contraction.

Open kinetic chain upper body exercises[edit]

Open kinetic chain lower body exercises[edit]


  1. ^ Open and closed kinetic chain exercises improve shoulder joint reposition sense equally in healthy subjects. Rogol IM, Ernst G, Perrin DH. J Athl Train. 1998 Oct;33(4):315-8.
  2. ^ Weight training of the thigh muscles using closed vs. open kinetic chain exercises: a comparison of performance enhancement. Augustsson J, Esko A, Thomeé R, Svantesson U. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1998 Jan;27(1):3-8.
  3. ^ Closed Kinetic Chain Exercise. A Comprehensive Guide to Multiple Joint Exercises. Todd Ellenbecker, George Davies 2001 ISBN 978-0-7360-0170-0
  4. ^ Fleming, Braden C.; Heidi Oksendahl; Bruce D. Beynnon (1 September 2005). "Open- or Closed-Kinetic Chain Exercises After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction?" (PDF). Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. 33 (3): 134–140. doi:10.1097/00003677-200507000-00006. Retrieved 28 April 2012.