After 4 years of teaching high school academics and coaching the school athletic teams, I realized that teaching was not the right fit for me long term. I enjoyed being a coach and working with my athletes, so in 2004 I decided to become a personal trainer and since then I have been striving to be the best one I could be. I started by putting my clients through personalized exercise programs, then advanced my skills through Pilates certifications and after attending a presentation on Muscle Activation Techniques, I expanded my studies and certifications and my programming grew into something even more impactful for myself and my clients.
Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) is a bodywork technique using a systematic approach to identifying and treating muscular imbalances typically related to pain and injury. The focus of the evaluation procedure is based on understanding that the body will protect itself when it recognizes instability. Here’s another way to explain, if there is a project, be it a work or house project, and it requires a team to complete, then it is best for the entire team to be present and put in the work. If there is someone on the team who is not performing properly or not present to complete the work, it can lead to stress and possible discomfort for the team performing the project and someone on the team will have to do the extra work to cover for the non-performer. The same concept happens in your body. Muscles can shut down due to overuse, trauma or injury and when this happens the other muscles become stressed and express this by becoming what we may describe as tight, uncomfortable or painful.
There are numerous methodologies to address these discomforts by temporarily relieving the tension or tightness. However, the MAT approach is to seek out the inhibited muscles and get them performing again. In other words, try to get the whole team back together again instead of just trying to comfort the ones who are always doing the work.
So, after years of delivering fitness exercises to my clients and often hearing, “I can’t perform that exercise” or “that exercise hurts when I do it,” I can now use MAT to diagnose the problem and work cohesively to get all muscles performing again. This process allows the task/exercise to be accomplished plus allows for a progression in strength, which can continue delivering a more long-term fix to any muscle instabilities.
I’m sure you are asking yourself, what does this mean to me? How will this information benefit my health and wellbeing both personally and professionally? My goal is to give you simple directions and exercises to combat the most common issues I see day in and out which occur in the office (i.e. sitting too long or staring at a monitor with no neck movement), at home (i.e. bending over to pick up object from the floor or doing basic housework) or even aches and pains we discover as we age (i.e. tired legs or a tight back). Whether you suffer from minor or major aches and pains, I want to help you to uncover the root cause and provide activities you can do to address the problem while growing stronger.
Thank you and I look forward to assisting you all! Stay safe and well and keep moving!
M.A.T. Specialist, N.S.C.A. Strength and Conditioning Specialist, N.A.S.M. Performance Exercise Specialist, Peak Pilates Instructor