January 28, 2011

Avoid Training Setbacks with Muscle Activation Techniques

Just a little MAT plug and some helpful info for those running into barriers with their exercise routines.


March 6, 2010

Prevent Tendonitis with Muscle Activation Techniques

Has anyone been diagnosed with tendonitis–which sometimes manifests as that nagging shoulder or elbow pain that just doesn’t seem to go away?  Have you ever wondered what’s really going on?  We often don’t think about how muscles help stabilize our joints.  In fact, muscles not working properly may cause tendonitis.  Muscular imbalances may lead to abnormal joint wear and tear, resulting in pain and potential injuries.  Next time your shoulder or elbow begins to hurt, don’t just ice it down–get to the root of the problem.  Muscle Activation Techniques can help with this.  It helps identify and correct muscular imbalances that may lead to sore joints.

January 22, 2010

Running Injuries

Flip through any health-related magazine and you’ll find study after study highlighting what to do and what to avoid.  I take these studies lightly because the next week I inevitably read another study contradicting the first. With so many studies and conflicting results, which one are we supposed to believe?

I was flipping through the IDEA Fitness Journal and found another study—this one observed running-related injuries (which many of my clients come in with). The article cites that other research has reported that 70 percent of runners sustain some form of running related overuse injury, with 80 percent of injuries occurring at or below the knee.

According to the lead author, “Based on the literature review, it appears that foot pronation and inadequate hip muscle stabilization are the top categories for injury.  Hip muscle weakness especially appears to lead to atypical lower extremity mechanics and increases forces on knees and feet while running.”

Here’s an easier way to look at it.  Your knee is a reactive joint; it does whatever your hip and foot tell it to do.  If your hip is unstable, your knee will have to work overtime in order to compensate.  If your foot is unstable, the same thing can happen.

When I see clients experiencing knee pain, often times one of the first things I check is the stability of their hip.  If the hip is stable and not causing the pain, I see if I can find any imbalances in the foot.  Remember, the site of pain is typically not the source of the problem.  Another important note here is that the source of the pain could be coming from anywhere.  We mention the hip and foot, but those could just be starting points.  Could a limitation in your shoulder affect your knee?  You betcha!

That’s the goal of Muscle Activation Techniques: to address muscular imbalances that lead to pain and injuries.

May 9, 2009

GW Classic Pics

A couple of weeks ago, I was a vendor at the GW Classic 10 miler in Old Town Alexandria.  We had a really great turnout and I  talked to a bunch of runners about Muscle Activation Techniques™ .  After conducting range of motion evaluations  and performing muscle testing, it was amazing to see how quickly the runners responded to MAT.  Check out the photos from the race–hope to see you next year.

March 10, 2009

To Stretch or not to Stretch– THAT is the Question

As far as I can remember, athletic coaches, gym teachers and my parents have always told me to stretch. I was very active growing up, playing basketball, soccer, baseball and swimming so I just thought this was the right thing to do.

Now that I work in the fitness industry and have taken classes addressing these questions (Muscle Activation Techniques™ (MAT) and Resistance Training Specialist), I have reconsidered my position on stretching. In The New York Times article, Stretching: The Truth, the author takes a look at stretching and proper warm-up techniques. Below is an excerpt from the article:

“You may feel as if you’re able to stretch farther after holding a stretch for 30 seconds,” stated Malachy McHugh, the director of research at the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “So you think you’ve increased that muscle’s readiness.” However, typically you’ve increased only your mental tolerance for the discomfort of the stretch. The muscle is actually weaker.

I’ve experimented with this in my office using MAT and the results are quite surprising.

For warming up, I recommend simulating the activity you’re about to do. For example, on the treadmill, start with a walk, move into a medium paced walk, a fast walk, a slow jog, medium jog, fast jog, slow run, medium run and finally a fast run.

With weights, I see a lot of folks stretch their chest muscles before bench pressing. They put their arm up against the wall. Although many people think stretching will relax their muscle and increase range of motion, it doesn’t make sense to relax the muscle right before contracting it. Next time you are bench pressing, try beginning with a light weight and gradually getting heavier.

Another thing to remember: jogging for 10 minutes doesn’t prepare you for the bench press; it prepares you to jog for another 10 minutes. Remember to simulate the activity you’re about to do.