Kinetic chain exercise is a specific type of physical exercise that may be integrated into aerobics, circuit training, certain endurance training, weight lifting, pilates, yoga, or kickboxing. It may also be used in physical therapy, such as knee rehabilitation. A kinetic chain is a chain of joints exercised together. For example the hip, knee, and ankle joints, when taken together, comprise the lower extremity kinetic chain. Whether used for rehabilitation purposes or for strengthening purposes, there are two types of kinetic chain exercises: open (OKC) and closed (CKC). CKC exercises (such as squatting) involve weight bearing while OKC exercises (such as active flexion-extension) of the leg do not. In CKC exercises, movement at one joint produces predictable movements at all other joints.
CKC exercise has been used after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructive surgery to restore normal function and force. CKC exercises appear to have gained popularity over more traditionally used OKC exercises.
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There is insufficient reliable evidence about the effectiveness of kinetic chain exercise.
Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
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Proponents of these exercises suggest that during kinetic exercises there are typically two kinds of external forces: shear and compression. Using the knee as an example, shear force causes a side-to-side shift in the knee, which is typical of the open chain exercises, and may place a large amount of stress on certain ligaments (such as the ACL).
Compression force is caused from a strong external force placed on the knee, which pushes the head of the femur together with the head of the tibia. Proponents of the compression exercises suggest these CKC activities may enhance joint stability. In contrast, OKC exercises use isolated joint and muscle function and while they may help restore muscle force, in theory, they may not improve joint stability.