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Dec 2 2016
MAT - Muscle Activation Technique

Do you keep hearing talk about MAT and don’t know what it is or if it is something you would benefit from? Keep reading then to find out more.

MAT stands for Muscle Activation Technique. So what does that mean? It is an evaluation and correction tool used by the personal trainers at Holy Family Memorial Wellness Center to determine if there is a muscular imbalance and to provide correction. Many us of have muscular imbalance whether we have had it for years or whether we just developed it. This imbalance may contribute to various things such as injury, a slow recovery and/or low performance. Having a MAT assessment allows a trainer to see if there is an imbalance and work on correcting it by forcing your muscles to contract on demand. Different tests are used to determine if there is weakness and then exercises to help strengthen and correct the imbalance, helping to strengthen those muscles.

Sometimes people have tight muscles and they assume it is overuse or lack of stretching which might be the case. If tightness is recurring this could be happening because other muscles are being worked harder due to the muscle that is week and not contracting to help out during exercise or daily living activities. MAT assessments, by a personal trainer, can find and strengthen the weakness relieving the tightness of the other muscles allowing them to work equally and efficiently.

Whenever there is a muscle weakness or a limitation in motion, it is an indicator that muscles on the opposing side of that muscle are weak and not contracting properly. The tight muscles, or stronger ones, are over contracting creating the tightness. Sometimes stretching and deep tissue massage may not always work to increase motion or help reduce the pain. Our bodies will continue to compensate for weakened muscles over time and this can cause repetitive stress on our bodies and muscles.

The best way to illustrate MAT tightness and correction is by thinking of 10 strings equally hanging onto a 100 pound brick. They are equally loaded with tension and strength, at 10 pounds/string. If five of the strings stop working the 100 pound brick still needs to be held but now with five strings so each string just got a little tighter holding up 20 pounds of weight causing them to become tighter. By correcting the five strings and making them work again that will release the tension in the other strings equalizing the workload. Think of the strings being your muscles working together or some of them being overworked.

Lisa Hansen is a certified personal trainer and a group exercise instructor at HFM Wellness Center. To learn more about membership and services at the HFM Wellness Center, visit 


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