Chain of Action - FIT Human Performance

Chain of Action


ChainOctober 27, 2013

So what do we think about when deciding what exercises to use when training clients, and why do we use them in any certain order?  I am asked this question  every so often?  And, how do we remember all this stuff?  Well, at FIT our exercise selection is customized for each client because we do not believe in a line-up of fixed equipment to use where you sit down and hope it fits your particular body size or shape. FIT selections of exercises are based on your movement patterns rather than individual muscles or muscle groups.  Movement patterns or exercises can be classified in an open or closed kinetic chain. What are open and closed chain exercises?

Open Chain Exercises:

  1. Distal segment moves in space.
  2. Independent joint movement; no predictable joint motion in adjacent joints.
  3. Movement of body segments only distal to the moving joint.
  4. Muscle activation occurs predominantly in the prime mover and is isolated to muscles of the moving joint.
  5. Typically performed in non weight-bearing positions.
  6. Resistance is applied to the moving distal segment.
  7. Use to external rotary loading.
  8. External stabilization (manually or with equipment) usually required.

Closed Chain Exercises:

  1. Distal segment remains stationary (fixed in place)
  2. Interdependent joint movement; relatively predictable movement patterns in adjacent joints
  3. Movement of body segments may occur distal and/or proximal to the moving point
  4. Muscle activation occurs in multiple muscle groups, both distal and proximal to the moving joint
  5. Muscle activation occurs in weight-bearing positions
  6. Resistance is applied simultaneously to multiple moving segments
  7. Use of axel loading
  8. Internal stabilization by means of muscle action, joint compression, and congruency and postural control

For example, looking at the photos below.  The movement is the same but the left picture (a squat) is a closed chain and the right picture (leg press) is an open chain.

All movements can be open or closed chain.

The key is to train what is functional to you. Let’s bring back the example above.  The squat is often more functional because most of us will do this movement everyday, you sit down, you pick something up from the floor.  Every time you go to the bathroom, you squat first to sit on the toilet. We apply a squat to most every workout we do here at F.I.T.  Now let’s consider the leg press. How does the leg press exercise carry over to a real life situation and how often?  Perhaps, sitting down and pushing an object away from yourself.  This will probably happen once a while but not frequently.

At FIT we develop exercises based on movement patterns and make certain they are functional. If you have been doing FIT workouts, they are quite different from standard “big-box” or SUPER-SIZED fitness center workouts, because we develop a customized program that is best suited for your individual needs.  Job one – safety.  Job two –  functional.  Job three –  variety.

In good health,


Nothing lifts me out of a bad mood better than a hard workout.  It never fails. Exercise is nothing short of a miracle.” – Anonymous