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Exercises for Connecting the Kinetic Chain

December 09, 2014 by NCSF 0 comments

Isolated exercises can be useful for maximizing specific muscle activation, but many clients will obtain greater benefits from the steady inclusion of compound, multi-joint exercises that connect cooperative force couples across the kinetic chain. Cross-joint, closed-kinetic chain lifts are advantageous for promoting maximal muscle activation and caloric expenditure, enhancing stabilizer muscle strength/endurance, and improving how well cooperative body segments work together during functional movements. Body segment connectivity can be improved with exercises that effectively connect the sling systems through the refinement of motor patterning and neural synchronicity. Lifts that connect segments of the kinetic chain can also serve to improve muscle balance and absolute force/power output potential over time. Muscles that work cooperatively produce more force than those that work in isolation.

“Kinetic chain connector” exercises require the fluid transfer of force over major segments within a single accelerative action where there is no transition point that allows for a pause. Consider the front squat to overhead press. The hips and knees are extended to ascend from the bottom of the squat, and as the body attains a standing posture, the bar continues to be accelerated to an overhead position with the shoulders and arms. Once the acceleration phase starts, it does not halt; challenging the cooperative activation of various force couples from one end of the kinetic chain to the other.

Personal trainers may wish to utilize exercises similar to following examples to improve functional strength and kinetic chain connectivity among their clients.

Front Squat to Overhead Press
Start PositionBottom PositionEnd Position
Sandbag Frontal Raise with Hip Extension
Start PositionEnd Position
MB Pullover to Stand
Start PositionMid PhaseEnd Position
Push-up with Slide Disc Pike
Start PositionEnd Position


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