- What is MAT?
- How does MAT work?
- Why is this vital to athletes?
- What makes MAT different?
- What to expect during MAT Treatment?
What is MAT?
Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) is a non-invasive, bio-mechanically based modality specializing in the muscular system. MAT is scientifically supported and was designed to identify and correct muscles in the body that have been compromised. Often the result of trauma, stress or overuse, a compromised muscle, either weakened or inhibited, produces muscle imbalance.
An imbalanced muscle structure results in other muscles tightening to compensate for the compromised muscle. The end result is a negative impact on functionality, pain or discomfort.
MAT corrects compromised muscles, restores the body to proper alignment and thus allows the body to function as it was designed, in a pain free state.
It has been used and endorsed by NFL, NBA, NHL, Olympic, PGA and LPGA athletes
How does MAT work?
To help with understanding how MAT works lets compare the body to a car. The way an initiation of a muscle contraction occurs, works similarly to that of the role a battery plays with initiating the start of a car. The body and car both rely on the connections that transfer electrical energy to produce a reaction. The cables that run form the ignition and connect with the battery, is similar to the nerves running from the spinal cord to the muscle. When a message is sent from the brain, the input is transferred through the nerves to the muscles creating a muscle contraction. Similar, to the key being turned in the ignition, that transfers impulses through the cables to the battery allowing the car to start.
The body can be seen as having many batteries, as each muscle is independently innervated, each connected by its own independent cable. The body functions very efficiently when every battery is properly connected, allowing each muscle to contract on demand.
Why is this vital to athletes?
Stability and controlled range of motion is vital in all sports. Having the ability to hold or transition from one position to the next with a natural ability to control elements of balance, speed, strength and power allow you to be at the top of your game.
By testing individual positions and muscles for instability Muscle Activation Techniques fills in a missing piece of the puzzle in conventional training. Stability can be created on a conscious level by focusing and bracing muscles, however this should be regulated constantly on a sub-conscious level, so that when an athlete moves without thinking or unexpected loads are placed on the body stability is there. This is important in all sports as there is no time to think and brace, which should not be the focus of the athletes attention.
Without correcting the weaknesses or instability what tends to happen is that the body simply strengthens and trains the existing working muscles. Over time this leads to the strong muscles getting stronger and the weak getting weaker; reinforcing and creating compensation. This takes away from the body’s ability to naturally control the elements of balance, speed, strength and power, thus hindering athletes’ performances, by making them lose their form and ability to transfer force efficiently through the body, leading to fatigue and injury.
Muscle Activation Techniques allows an athlete to work harder, recover faster and enhance their performance, keeping them in the game.
What makes MAT different?
MAT’s approach is focused on solving issues versus symptoms. MAT identifies and corrects the core root of the problem, as opposed to the effect. Specifically, MAT recognizes that the compromised muscles that lead to imbalance are the problem and it addresses those muscles versus the muscles that are acting in a compensatory manner and causing pain.
Correcting muscle imbalances retrains the body to function as it was designed. It creates the ability for the muscles to stabilize the joints and reduce the joint stresses that lead to arthritic conditions. The body becomes efficient and the related aches and pains are deterred. This means more stability and mobility, leading to a decreased risk of injuries and therefore ultimately allowing a person to have a longer active lifestyle while keeping the body feeling young!
MAT can be looked at as part of the exercise continuum. The most important component of MAT is that it provides a system of checks and balances. It enables a MAT practitioner to evaluate the integrity of the neuromuscular system whenever a force has been applied against it. MAT allows trainers and therapists to “check their work”. Therefore, MAT can act as an adjunct to all forms of therapy and exercise. It is a specific technique designed to improve muscle function. This improvement in muscle function can, in turn, provide an environment which can reduce the risk of injury while also speed up the body’s ability to recover from injury.
What to expect during a MAT treatment
The goal is to determine whether or not specific muscles that support a joint have the proper neurological input necessary to perform their function. Each muscle must be capable of performing its function as forces are being placed on a joint; if not, this leads to positions of vulnerability and compensation. The aim of the MAT evaluation process is to find out where the body displays these positions of vulnerability or weakness.
Comparative Assessment of Mobility (CAM) identifies limitations in motion, as well as asymmetrical motion.
Active Muscle Contract & Sustain Assessment. The MAT practitioner next evaluates each muscle to determine if there is proper neurological input. Can the muscle contract and contract on demand. It lets the practitioner know if the muscles can respond to forces applied in every day function.
Method 1: This method involves a light contraction by the athlete in a very specific position and force direction. The MAT Specialist provides a barrier to motion (isometric contraction) created by the athlete.
Method 2: Using the Treatment Direct Pressure Applied Perpendicular to Muscle Attachment Tissues (DFAMAT), the MAT Practitioner’s fingers apply a specific force perpendicular to the athlete’s muscular attachment site on the bones for a duration of 1-4 seconds per site. Many clients experience this as “waking up” the muscle, “increasing the muscular strength” and/or enhancing their proprioception (knowing where the body or joint is in space without visual input).
Step 4 – Reassessment
This is the checks and balances system of MAT. The practitioner then reassesses the Active Muscle Contract & Sustain tests. Once all muscles involved in the specific Comparative Mobility Assessment have been “treated”, a reassessment of the Range of Motion occurs
- Increased Range of Motion
- Increased Strength, Speed, Power, and Endurance
- Enhanced athletic performance
- Decreased incidence of injury
- Quicker reaction time
- Heightened sense of Balance, and Stability
- Career Longevity
- Maximized results from you training program
- Faster recovery from injuries
About the Founder
Greg Roskopf is the owner and president of Muscle Activation Techniques in Denver Colorado. He holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology form California State University Fresno, and is a biomechanical consultant to the NFL, NBA, and numerous other professionals. Greg has developed Muscle Activation Techniques over a 15-year process of research, application and collaboration. His work and findings are continuously reviewed in trade and academic publications For more information on Muscle Activation Techniques or its developer Greg Roskopf, please visit www.muscleactivation.com