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Closed Kinematic Chains

Closed Kinematic Chains

The beauty of closed kinematic chains is readily apparent in the Strandbeest of artist, Theo Janssen. Creatures of all kinds, real and imaginary, are forms of CKCs in the flesh.

Disambiguation: kinematic and kinetic chains are different and the terms are not interchangeable terms.

Kinetic Chains in exercise physiology are descriptors of body position to differentiate weight-bearing exercise from non-weight-bearing exercise. Closed kinetic chains refer to positions where the body is loaded in weight-bearing, like in a push-up. You could describe the arm movement in warrior poses as open kinetic chain movement, because the hands aren’t fixed to the ground or a wall to “close the chain.”

Kinematic Chains refer to an arrangement of bars that are linked in such a way that movement in one bar will influence movement in every other. In my approach to human anatomy for yoga, I’m only ever thinking of the body as a closed kinematic chain (CKC) composed of infinitely scalable CKCs, forming a network of “body mesh” that is linked in a tensegrity architecture.

A beautiful example of the CKC is found in the work of artist, Theo Janssen. His Strandbeests are composed of many bars to form a complex, closed kinematic chain that moves “on its own” with the power of the wind:

Thanks to the artist for permission to use the featured image by Adriaan Kok of Animaris Currens Ventosa Oostvoorne, 1993 Kopie.

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