Closed Chain Exercises And Runners Knee (Zero Impact?)

If you think you might have runner’s knee, seek professional medical help. The information provided here serves as an introduction to closed chain exercises only.

If you are in a hurry, here’s what you need to know:

  • The knees are part of a chain of moving body parts that include the feet, the ankles, the hips, and of course, the knees.
  • Exercising these body parts in a closed chain means the feet are planted on the ground.
  • The squat is a classic example of a closed chain exercise for the lower body. Push-ups for the upper body.
  • Closed chain exercises promote stability and control, making them an excellent practice to help with runner’s knee.

If you suspect your old running shoes are causing your knee discomfort, take a look at this article about running shoes for bad knees, for some information that will help.

Are Closed Chain Exercises Good for Runner’s Knee?

Most people who suffer from runner’s knee don’t knee to be told to take it slow when starting to exercise again. Closed chain exercises are a good starting point, thanks to your feet never leaving the ground.

That said, don’t dive in with weighted squats. The compression on the knee joint would be too much. A good start would be to stand with your feet hip-width apart, engaging the glutes and abs while gently shifting your weight from one foot to the other.

Closed Chain exercises

Examples of Closed Chain Exercises For Runner’s Knee

As mentioned above, there’s more to closed chain exercises than squats and controlled swaying. We can include:

  • Quad Dips
  • Wall Sits
  • Stork Stands
  • Split Squats

This video gives a perfect introduction to a closed chain exercise.

What are the benefits of closed chain exercises for runner’s knee?

Closed chain exercises allow you to manage the load with no jarring impact on the knee. With the correct form, the knee isn’t unduly strained. Making the low or no impact nature of the exercises an ideal way to start getting back into running after your runner’s knee has recovered sufficiently.

Should I do closed chain exercises if I have runner’s knee?

Not without professional advice. Depending on the nature of your runner’s knee, it will need time away from running to recover. Closed chain exercises are ideal for the runner who has been through a process of rehabilitation and is now ready to start to exercise again.

This should be done under the supervision of a medical professional.

For more information, take a look at the reference material here.

Final Thoughts

Closed Chain exercises are good exercises for those who suffer from runner’s knee thanks to their low impact and high stability nature.  

I use them in my strength training program to help avoid problems with my knees, other joints, and muscles. They are excellent at building up the muscles that support the knees and protect them from the punishment that running puts them through.

Closed Chain exercises


Slightly obsessed middle aged runner.