Focus on Your Weaknesses and Build Your Foundation

By: Sarah Kuindersma, MAT Specialist

As many of us find ourselves forced to step back from the sports and recreational hobbies we love, right now is a great time to take some time to focus on our body movement fundamentals so when organized sports re-open, you can go in ready to play. With that said, here are Sarah’s suggestions for preparation, rebuilding, and doing your body some good as we head into this next year.

Focus on Your Weaknesses

Now is a great time to assess, work on and fix the weak areas in your training which could include any muscle imbalances and weaknesses that are identified. We've all heard the expression, “You're only as good as your weakest link,” and it's true that it’s often the little things that make a big difference overall. For example, if your glutes aren't firing efficiently, any activity you do will place more stress into your low back, creating stiffness and a decrease in performance. This could mean, for example, less power in your running stride. Therefore finding a way to build your glutes can help to solve or prevent future issues.

Build Your Foundation

Look at this year as an opportunity to build or rebuild a solid foundation. Some of us might have experienced some losses due to lack of activity, and now might need to ‘Get back to the basics.’ Your body stores information in the central nervous system and every time you learn a new movement, a motor pattern is actually integrated and stored. These movements become automatic and are fine-tuned by unconscious feedback that your body is storing as you are learning something new. The saving of motor patterns effectively makes the neuromuscular system much more efficient when the body is exposed to similar demands. For this reason, we do not have to think about a movement like walking, riding a bike, or throwing a ball, we just know! Without basic joint mobility and strength, it will cause to many inefficiencies, so it would be the equivalent to trying to build a house without ever knowing how to use the tools.

Check out Sarah's YouTube channel for some movement ideas, from basic exercises to sport-specific movements, here. If you'd like specific mobility drills to improve your game make sure to book an appointment to have it tailored to your needs and goals. 

How can an MAT Specialist help you identify and focus on your weaknesses and build your foundation?

A problem related to muscular imbalances occurs over time when we are exposed to stress, trauma, or overuse. The resulting inflammation on the body will bring about a less efficient muscular system and diminished neuromuscular function. In other words, your ‘saved’ faulty motor pattern when drawn upon can lead to injury or a loss in the proper power of the motion itself. This transformed communication between the nervous system and the muscular system can lead to altered mechanics which, in turn, can trigger symptoms relating to muscle tightness, pain, and many other physical complaints. 

Active Sports Therapy offers M.A.T.®(Muscle Activation Techniques), which is a way to assess and correct an individual’s muscle imbalances. M.A.T. ® is designed to re-establish the communication pathways between the nervous system and the muscular system in order to restore muscle contractile capabilities.  Having an M.A.T. specialist assess your mechanics can help you learn more efficient ways of moving and lower the chances of a future injury. You can also learn how to train more efficiently for your limitation.  If you would like to learn more about whether M.A.T.® might be right for you please contact us to  schedule a free meet and  greet with specialist Sarah Kuindersma.

Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) Are Poor Movement Patterns Holding You Back?

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By: Sarah Kuindersma MATm, PTS

Do you feel like your daily movement patterns don't feel quite right? Have you caught yourself saying man I feel old, or my body just doesn't do that anymore?

Did you know you can change the way you feel and move? Active Sports Therapy is the only clinic in Calgary that has a certified Muscle Activation Techniques Master Specialist who specializes in helping correct poor movement mechanics.

What is MAT?

Muscle Activation Techniques MAT is an exercise based technique that assess and corrects poor movement patterns and inefficient neural muscle firing within the body that can contribute to poor posture, joint tenderness and muscular pain.

How does it work?

MAT first identifies where there are imbalances in the body, then helps restore proper function through manual palpation and specific exercises. These imbalances are muscle compensations triggered through trauma, exercising with improper form or overall fatigue and stress to the system. Certain body parts compensate for other weaker body parks. Essentially, following an injury or too much stress, muscles can shut down neurologically which forces other muscles to work overtime. This is known as muscle compensation patterns. These patterns can continue after the injury is no longer a problem which can contribute to pain or postural abnormalities post-rehab for the initial injury/stressor.

What’s the goal?

The primary goal of MAT is to reduce pain and tension in overworked muscles, which become damaged and fatigued due to learned compensation patterns. Soft tissue manipulations can help to stretch painful or tight areas and even correct posture, but if the tightness quickly returns it means the body has built this compensatory pattern that needs to be re-taught the proper way to function to have a longer lasting result. Without addressing the underlying cause the pattern will continue.

History

MAT's® corrective movement system was first created by Greg Roskopf in 1999. He created this unique system of precise muscle tests and adjustments to help correct muscle and movement memories that were stored in the brain region that’s responsible for learned motor control.

Book a free 15 Minute Meet & Greet

If you are interested in finding out more if MAT can help you move better call AST and book a free 15min meet and greet with Sarah Kuindersma to learn more.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Is Your Check Engine Light On? How Muscle Activation Technique can Help

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By: Sarah Kuindersma, MATm, PTS

Question: What would you do if your check engine light came on while you were driving?

a) Ignore it and keep driving

b) Stick some tape over the warning light

c) Unplug the wires top the bulb

d) Stop immediately and call a specialist

Question: What would you do if you felt pain while training?

a) Ignore it and keep training

b) Stick some tape or support bandages on it

c) Take pain killers

d) Stop immediately and call a specialist

Did you answer D for both questions? 

Even though we may view the check engine light or pain as an annoying and irritating inconvenience, we need to take them both seriously as they are indicating there is something that needs our attention before it turns into a more serious issue.

Whether it’s our car or our body, respecting the system and calling a specialist to assess and diagnose the system is a necessary step on the road to restoring it to optimal function.

Think of pain as your check engine light. It’s signaling to you that something is wrong in your system. It is not telling you what the exact problem is; the site of pain doesn't necessarily indicate where the problem is. The pain is just an indicator that there is a problem just like the check engine light on your car is indicating there's a problem with your engine that needs to be assessed ASAP before serious damage occurs.

MAT specialists can diagnose your muscular system to get to the root cause of the pain just like a mechanic runs a diagnostic check on your engine.

Stop guessing and start assessing.

The MAT Philosophy

MAT is a non-invasive technique designed to balance the muscular system of people of all ages. With an approach that can assess and correct muscular imbalances, joint instability, and limitations in range of motion, it uses a systematic approach to help muscles function with maximum efficiency.

Who Will Benefit

MAT is effective for anyone from an elite athlete to a patient who is recovering from an injury to those dealing with the effects of aging and arthritis. This technique has been successfully used in professional athlete settings, in personal training environments and of course in rehabilitation situations. MAT is great on it’s own, or as a compliment to other injury treatments you are seeking. Often patients find the MAT can help them reach the next level of recovery.

See for yourself by calling AST to book in for a free 15 minute meet and greet with Sarah Kuindersma, MAT Practitioner.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]