Types Of Exercise

What is the difference between open-chain and closed-chain exercises?

A Answers (1)

  • AScott Martin, MD, Orthopedic Surgery, answered
    In open-chain and closed-chain exercises, the chain referred to is a series of body parts, such as a hip, knee, ankle, and foot. In an open-chain exercise, the body is stationary while the limb moves. In closed-chain exercise, the limb is stationary while the body moves. For example, a squat is a closed-chain exercise because your feet stay stationary while your quadriceps do the work. In contrast, a seated leg extension is an open-chain maneuver.

    Open-chain exercises may be more effective for particular therapeutic goals such as increasing quadriceps strength after an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. But overall, physical therapists are incorporating more closed-chain exercises into rehabilitation programs and recommending them for people with painful joints because these exercises involve more muscles and joints and help to create stability around a joint. The wall-sit exercise is an example.
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