Muscle Activation Articles

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A Personal Trainer talks about working alongside Muscle Activation Techniques

Working as a Corrective Exercise Expert, Larry was referred to me from a Physio. He initially wanted to work on his posture to help decrease aches and pains. Which he was suffering from frequently as he travelled regularly with his work, often sat in planes seats that weren’t always designed for 6ft +  travellers.

In the past Larry had a very active background playing basketball at a high level, and when I started training him he was doing recreational sports like cycling, golf etc. This level of activity had decreased due to time but also due to not being able to recover from physical activity quickly enough, also breaking down experiencing some sort of pain afterwards. This would then put a stop to his regular exercise pattern for him.

From my assessments he had a poor level of support and was unable to engage his deeper core muscles without the bigger muscles taking over and trying to stabilise him. He was unable to squat without major compensations and it was evident that lunging was a movement pattern that physically and mentally his body wanted to avoid.

I set a programme that initially taught Larry how to engage his deeper core muscles at a base level where he was working in a more stable environment e.g. floor, mat based exercises. Later we introduced Fit ball exercises. This progressed to descended forms of squats, dead lifts, lunges which he could perform with his deep core muscles engaged and posture uncompromised.

It was at the next stage Larry’s programme where his improvement level slowed down as I started to ascend Larry into doing bigger versions of Squats, Dead lifts, Lunges etc. He had the core control but had limitations in the range of movement we could work him in before any compensations kicked in.

Also I noticed if he had a period of lots of travelling, his performance in his sessions would decrease and occasionally we would need to end a session early, this would lead to an irregular exercise pattern. To an extent Larry’s day to day aches pains had decreased due to his increased stability but again due to long periods of travelling he would still complain of a stiff neck.

This is when I decided to refer Larry to Owen.

Larry responded amazingly well to Owens method of treatment, and in a very short space of time his range of motion improved dramatically. When performing weighted squat and dead lifts he was dropping much lower into these exercises, more so than I had ever seen without any compensation in the exercises.

This spurred Larry on to continue regular treatments with Owen and his training and performance are rising again, where before he was at a plateau. I am now noticing his joint stability improving in all areas and I am able to intensify his programmes without fear of him breaking down and he is now maintain a more regular training pattern as his endurance improves in these new ranges of motion.

See Larry's Testimonial about using Muscle Activation Techniques with Owen Hedicker.

Some words from Owen:

By all accounts Larry had come a long way already before he was referred.  This is a great example of someone progressing out of pain and into recovery but not being able to move onto greater levels of exertion.  The combination of the exercise itself and a hectic lifestyle meant Larry was stuck in a cycle of breakdown and recovery.

In assessing Larry it was clear that actually being quite athletic he had a great ability to cover underlying instabilities by compensating with muscles and movements that he was strong in.  It is worth noting that the core / stability training Larry has completed was and is obviously beneficial but the strong muscles may have become stronger and the weak remained weak*.

*In MAT weak muscles refer to inhibition of the muscle’s ability to contract on demand and regulate tension across a joint to stabilise it as opposed to absolute strength or strength endurance covered in conventional training methods.

By testing for and activating muscles that had become inhibited Larry has more stability and support within his body accounting for the changes in range of motion and greater stability and strength in his exercises.  This also means he has been able to recover faster between his sessions and is not as run down by his work schedule allowing him to progress further still.