Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) is a unique and practical approach to
evaluating and treating neuromuscular imbalances that contribute to
dysfunction and ultimately to injury. At the Center, we have one
practitioner, JoAnn Brickley, trained in this discipline.
How does MAT work?
MAT has taken basic components of physiology and biomechanics and
transferred them into a systematic approach for evaluating and treating pain
and injury. MAT looks at muscle tightness as a form of protection in the
body. Weak or inhibited muscles can create the need for other muscles to
tighten in order to help stabilize the joints. MAT gets to the root of pain
or injury by addressing muscle weakness rather than muscle tightness. This
helps to restore normal body alignment, thereby, decreasing pain and
reducing the risk of injury.
Some people believe that if you work a weak muscle as part of a chain, it
will eventually strengthen to its balanced strength ratio to the other
muscles of that chain. This is not true, according to Greg Roskopf, MA,
founder Muscle Activation Techniques, who teaches that “functional training”
(integrated exercise) will only reinforce compensatory patterns if the weak
links are not first identified and eliminated. The MAT trainer treats the
neuromuscular inhibition and the resulting tension/protective mechanisms in
the antagonists that restrict range of motion.
What is the process of performing MAT?
MAT is done as a four step process, which may need to be repeated a
number of times.
first step is to perform a joint-specific range of motion exam. This
evaluation is designed to identify limitations in motion as well as any
asymmetrical motion. The physiology behind the MAT range of motion exam is
that when muscle tightness is noticed, it is really a representation of
muscle weakness. This philosophy leverages concepts relating to the law of
a limitation in range of motion is identified, the particular muscles that
move the joint into that position must be evaluated in order to determine if
there is proper neurological input. To accomplish this, isolated strength
tests are performed in the shortened position of each muscle. This is not a
typical strength test. Rather, it is a neuro-proprioceptive response test
designed to evaluate whether there is proper neuro input to the muscle.
completing the strength test, the practitioner uses precise palpation of the
origin and insertion of the muscle to create a strong neuro input. This
activates the muscle that has been shut down, helping to create stability
around the joint and ultimately causing better range of motion and
Finally, we prescribe specific isometric exercises to keep the muscle
activated and strong.
What types of clients are good candidates for MAT?
Any client who experiences muscle or joint pain, has back problems, or
is experiencing chronic weakness or range of motion limitations is a
potential candidate for MAT.