You might think it’s a rather obvious observation to say that in our bodies, everything is connected. This point is plain to see without even giving it much thought, but what may not be as apparent is just how deep these connections go and how each one can affect our overall performance. The interaction of all of these different parts is what’s called the kinetic chain, an essential concept when it comes to understanding how the body works. And by strengthening the kinetic chain, you can reduce your risk for injuries in Springfield.
The kinetic chain, or kinematic chain, is the system of all the moving parts in our body. It consists of bones, muscles, joints, connective tissues, nerves and gravity, which are designed to work together in order to make the body move effectively and efficiently. As you can imagine, this means there are countless different pieces that all serve a purpose in the collective whole of the kinetic chain. Every action within our body creates a ripple effect across this chain, and no movement is limited to the area it occurs in.
Since each part of this chain relies upon the rest to do its part successfully, a problem in one spot can throw the entire system out of whack. Biomechanics is a term used to describe how the kinetic chain is functioning. Healthy biomechanics enables us to move efficiently by properly supporting all the elements of the kinetic chain, while poor biomechanics cause the body to overcompensate for links that are failing. This results in increased energy spent on certain movements, as well as muscle fatigue and pain.
When our bodies consistently function with poor biomechanics, various parts of the kinetic chain will eventually become stressed and damaged. If nothing is done to correct these issues, over time it will lead to injury. As the saying goes, the chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link, and this rings especially true for the kinetic chain. The kinetic chain lessens the load on the skeleton—especially when running or performing any other aggressive movements—and the stronger the chain, the less stress on your bones and joints.
This is why it’s essential to strengthen your kinetic chain and keep your risk for injuries in Springfield to a minimum.
Kinetic chain exercises to help you avoid injuries in Springfield
There are two types of kinetic chain exercises: open and closed. Open kinetic chain means that the segment furthest from the body (usually your hand or foot) is free, whereas closed kinetic chain means it is fixed, or stationary. Open chain exercises are better at isolating specific muscles, while closed are more functional and good at mimicking many of the movements of our daily lives. Nonetheless, both are beneficial in their own way. Here are some key examples of open and closed chain exercises to get you started:
- Upper body
- Open chain: biceps curls, lateral raises, triceps extensions, shoulder pendulums
- Closed chain: push-ups, pull-ups, forward planks
- Lower body
- Open chain: knee curls, knee extensions, hip abduction, hip adduction, seated calf raises
- Closed chain: squats, lunges, stair climbing, deadlift
Most of these exercises should already be familiar if you work out regularly, but there are plenty more options if you’d like to take it to the next level. At ARS Hand and Physical Therapy, we can help identify if any part of your kinetic chain is weak and recommend specific exercises to strengthen it and reduce your risk for injuries in Springfield, NJ. Contact us at 973-379-7006 to schedule an appointment today, or click here for more information on the kinetic chain.