Fitness Post – Partial versus Complete ‘Kinetic Chain Exercises 

There has been a lot of use of ‘Machine Weights’ in Comercial Gyms within the last thirty to forty years but the development of more of the cable devices within the last twenty years has catered for sports people wanting natural movements that are closely related to their sports. But most people will stick to the shorter partial kinetic chain movements, such as the Cable Row, as depicted in the photo above. The more freer movements which involve momentum have started to gain more usage with the advent of CrossFit training and the like over the last ten years or so. So what are the positives and negatives of both ways of doing resistance programs?

  • Firstly the exercises that involve full movements that use a multiple number of parts of the body (complete kinetic chain movements) increase the intensity of the workout but they involve a greater skill level to perform correctly. These exercises mimic the natural movements of the body, which is good but I see people doing them in commercial gyms without control of form. This can lead to injury more quickly than the traditional exercises because momentum comes into play.
  • The more traditional exercises such as the Cable Row depicted in the first picture are great for those people who want to gain muscle size in specific muscle groups but they don’t have any great crossover into everyday and athletic movements. People who do this type of exercise in a gym usually stick to the same exercises within their program without much change over periods of years. Please don’t get stuck on this repetitive behavior as this can lead to no improvement and long term injuries.
  • If to desire to gain most out of your time in the gym it is best to change your routine around constantly and use exercises that work more muscle groups at once. Unless you are very experienced and are willing to regularly change your routines you should use the supervision of an experienced personal trainer to ensure you are performing the exercises correctly and that your routine has a positive direction to it. 
  • Partial movements have their place in routines though and particularly in Rehabilitation. You have more control of movements and you can work around injuries with these exercises. These shorter movements also can be designed to strengthen specific muscle groups that need the extra attention.

The take home message here is that you should use both types of movements within your resistance program, depending on your specific needs and ensure you gain the help you require from at least someone who has the ability to see if you are executing the movements correctly or not.

Always look at both sides of the apple before you take a bite….

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