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.