Muscle Activation Techniques
MAT is a biomechanically-based process designed to correct and treat muscular imbalances that lead to decreased performance, chronic pain, and injury. This systematic approach uses range-of-motion limitations as a way to determine which muscles aren’t functioning optimally so they can be strengthened appropriately.
How MAT Works.
Test, Treat, Re-Test. Based on the limits found during the comprehensive range of motion exam, specific muscles are targeted based on their mechanical ability to shorten within the limited range. These muscles are tested for weakness through specific testing positions and precise force is administered to restore the muscle’s ability to contract. Once the recognition process is complete, the muscle is re-tested in order positively reinforce the new pattern.
How this is relevant to sport and overall function?
Decreased Performance: The body doesn’t care about throwing a baseball, swinging a golf club, or doing a squat.It’s number one priority is life, so the body will ALWAYS pick a solution that protects the joint and surrounding tissue from traumatic injury. Unfortunately, this solution doesn’t always line up with optimal performance. Because of this, many of us operate at a level below our “performance ceiling,” leaving behind unfulfilled potential. MAT serves to help the body more efficiently protect itself so that you can operate at your true, maximal level.
Acute Injury: This occurs when the demand placed on the body exceeds the mechanical abilities of the muscular system. The primary job of the muscular system is to absorb force, therefore an inability or delay in doing so results in excess force being transferred to the passive structures of the joint. If a big, strong muscle is delayed in shortening = VULNERABILITY!
“If you take your hands off the steering wheel the guardrails will keep you on the road for a while but eventually something is going to get damaged. The active system is our first” line of defense!” These deficiencies also place us at risk for muscle strains and tears. If a muscle is having to compensate for a weakness elsewhere, it may get overworked and damaged in effort to produce excess force (i.e. hamstring strains).
Arthritis, Degenerative Joint Disease: Joint health is directly influenced by equal forces being transmitted through it. Therefore, irregular force overtime will result joint degeneration. This irregular force stems from muscles tightening up in order to compensate for weaker ones. These acute compensations turn into more permanent solutions the longer they go unnoticed. Most people don’t even know they are present until pain sets in. MAT provides a process that can prevent and mitigate the effects of these diseases that have become a norm in our culture.