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Knee Mobility: How to Perform an Open-Chain Knee Circle

education mobility Nov 12, 2018


Remember the closed-chain knee circle we introduced you to that gave you permission to let your knees cross your toes?

Here is a new variation that requires much more precision and control because it is in an open-chain position!

We want your knees moving through a FULL range of motion. If you are new to this type of mobility and motor control training you will shy away from the majority of the movement so hold yourself accountable and find that full circle. 

Hanging Knee Circle


Here's how you perform the drill:

  • Begin in a tall lengthened spine, lift one leg up into hip flexion
  • First, learn to externally and internally rotate the knee without allowing the hip and ankle to substitute
  • This is important because as you move through the inside of the circle, your lower leg is externally rotating. As you move through the outside of the circle, your lower leg is internally rotating.
  • Minimize motion at the hip and pelvis as you move through the knee circle. We are looking for a stable pelvis throughout this movement. 
  • At the slowest speed, focus on the tibial internal and external rotation. 
  • You may lose some of the precision in tibial rotation as you increase your speed and that's ok, we want you to practice this at multiple speeds.
  • Draw circles both clockwise and counter clockwise

Common mistakes:

  • Moving the whole lumbo-pelvic complex rather than performing knee circles
  • Too much movement in the hip. There will be a small amount of internal and external rotation of the hip but it should not dominate the movement. 
  • Losing the tall spine position
  • Pelvic instability
  • Building up too much tension all over
  • Breath holding

Let's get your knees moving in all the ranges they are meant to move! Let us know how it goes!

(Education Credit: this drill is part of a series of mobility drills taught by Z-Health Performance Solutions - a leading educational company in neuro-centric training for pain and performance) 


About the Author: 

Taylor Kruse, recently featured in Men's Health, is dedicated to empowering you with the truth and tools for improved health and performance.

His inspiration stems from more than 15 years of education and coaching through systems like Zhealth Performance, The Burdenko Method, and various movement practices.

In 2013, he co-founded KRUSE ELITE with girlfriend, Alisha Hale. Both are dedicated to inspiring people, coaches, and trainers into their best health and performance.


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