• Charles @ Axis

Benefits of MAT® for Runners

For many of us running is our preferred past-time. And, next to hiking, its one of the more affordable ways to experience nature, get fresh air and get into better shape. Its a great way to have fun and be social with friends or even test ourselves in races offered throughout the year over various distances and terrain.

Muscle Activation Techniques ("MAT") is a unique tool that is perfectly suited to help runners improve their performance. MAT can help runners...

  1. Stay injury free by reducing imbalances and compensations.

  2. Address the root cause of common running injuries.

  3. Add strength & speed up recovery - leading to improved performance.

The reason why MAT is so useful is because running has a few unique characteristics that make MAT a very applicable tool:

  • First, most runners are dedicated which usually means they participate with a high level of frequency. This could be 3-4 times per week or more if training for a particular racing event.

  • Secondly, the motion of running itself is highly repetitive in nature. Runners repeat the same gait pattern thousands of times over the course of just a single run.

  • Lastly, running imposes a high level of stress on several joints within the body.

Athletes who participate in the kind of sports that combine these three elements (frequent training sessions, repetitive motion, stress across multiple joints) tend to see the greatest benefits from MAT.

1. MAT Keeps Us Injury Free

Running is a full body activity. Tons of joints are involved when you run from your toes all the way up to your neck. A joint is where motion occurs and that motion is controlled by your muscles. Since running requires almost every single joint, it therefore requires a lot of muscles and places both the joints and muscles under a lot of demand or stress.

MAT Specialists look for the “weak links” or muscles that are not doing their job. When muscles are not doing their job well it can lead to compensations at a joint which can then lead to tightness, dysfunction and an injury.

When some muscles are not doing their job well (due to prior trauma, overuse, or other related issues) other muscles must step up to compensate. For a short period of time this is a reasonable plan that allows us to get around. However, if this continues long term, the overworked muscles become tired, tight, sore, and eventually the “itis-es” begin to show up; i.e. tendinitis, fasciitis, bursitis.

If compensation in your body continues, it can lead to further injuries. Using MAT, we are able to detect these compensations either early on or ahead of time so we can prevent a possible injury.

2. MAT Gets to the Root Cause of Injuries

Common running injuries seen regularly in runners are plantar fasciitis in the feet, sprained ankles, patella femoral syndrome in the knees, IT Band issues, piriformis syndrome and back tightness. These are all due to some kind of muscle dysfunction that’s holding us back. Most treatments out there solely look at the mobility side of the equation with the goal of always increasing it.

MAT is founded on the principle that a decrease in mobility has an accompanying decrease in stability (or strength). If we increase mobility (via rolling, stretching, flossing, cupping, etc.), but do not address the stability component, this opens the door for an injury.

MAT is one of the only modalities that addresses the stability component. When we correct the weakness by increasing stability, the lack of mobility that was present is no longer there!

If you’re unsure whether you have a stability issue, there are 3 signs to look for:

  • Tightness on one side of the body

  • Weakness on one side of the body

  • A range of motion limitation

3. MAT Improves Physical Performances

Finally, MAT got its start in the professional sports world. The best athletes in the world know that when all their muscles are tuned up and working, it gives them an edge over their competitors. It makes them more efficient when everything is working.

MAT can raise your muscle’s tolerance to work and handle different stresses and forces placed on your body. This can raise your ability to recover from different kinds of workouts or runs. For example, if you usually begin to experience symptoms at the 3 mile mark in you runs, MAT can help your body handle the stresses of running better so you don’t experience those symptoms.

Let's Talk About It

If you enjoy running and want to continue running for years to come, it’s worth investing in regular MAT tune ups. If you currently have an issue going on, MAT may be able to help you get to the root cause and return to running sooner. Reach out for a consultation and let's figure out how to improve your running this year using MAT.

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