Let’s start with a little explanation. What the heck are CKCM(closed kinetic chain movements)? Well, these are the movements during which your body is moving through space. (ex. squats, push ups, pull ups, deadlifts). Opposite are opened chain movements those are when some external resistance is moving through space. ex. (lat pulldowns, leg extension).
So what are the benefits of CKCM?
To start with most of the closed chain exercises are compound movements which means they are engaging multiple joints at once and therefore more muscle groups. This is great for your physique because it means that these exercises have bigger potential in creating positive hormonal response after your workouts. The positive hormonal response is key for achieving aesthetics, athletism, and overall health.
Another positive aspect of CKCM is that they are easier on joints than most of the OKCM. You see I’ve heard tons of complaints about shoulder pain caused by poor technique on a bench press or OHP but never have I ever heard anybody complaining about pain in shoulders caused by handstand push-ups. It’s true that if you are doing something wrong you simply won’t be able to perform HSPU but you will be able to do the OHP but that’s not the point. Studies have shown that closed chain movements are a great way of improving joint stabilization. Besides that, they are often used for rehabilitation after shoulder cuff and knee injuries. So there must be something in them if they are commonly used to help people recover.
Another reason why I am a big fan of CKCM is that they are better for the activation of small stabilizing muscles. Those muscles are often lacking attention in our workouts and they are usually the one that are stopping us from making progress on our key exercises.
Again that may be the reason why they are easier on joints.
And now this is the quote from one of the pages that I found while studying the subject:”Closed chain exercises better mimic activities of daily living, which means they improve your “functional” fitness. They’re great for athletes, too, since sports require multiple joint and muscle movements to happen at once. Very few movements in real life or in athletics isolate joints and muscles like open chain exercises do”.
The biggest advantage of CKCM, in my opinion, is that they are much easier to progress. The main reason I got interested in the subject of CKCM and OKCM is that it was easy for me to do constant progress every week on my deadlifts, pull-ups, and squats but I couldn’t pass certain weights on my OHP. After little research, I’ve found calisthenics and I introduced some of the exercises into my workout routine and started making great progress.
Don’t get me wrong I am not saying that bench press or biceps curls are bad for you, I am just saying that if most of your major compound exercises are closed chain movements.
So what are my absolute favorites of CKCM?
If I were to choose my top 5 it would be the following:
Pull ups/Chin ups
Pistol squats(because they are great for creating stabilization in the entire body and give you nice sleek legs, not the bulky one)
These exercises are great for developing an impressive, strong and functional physique. They are the core of my workouts.
I encourage you to incorporate some of them into your workouts and check out if you see the difference. You may find it easier to build up your lifts.