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Muscle Activation Technique For Endurance Athletes

You know I am all about muscle activation, but what about Muscle Activation Technique? Did you know that Muscle Activation Technique is a growing field in the certified specialist provider spectrum that could help you get the most out of your body and your training.

Today, I want to introduce you to Martin Kimpson, a Certified Muscle Activation Technique (or MAT) specialist who I have had the pleasure of meeting several times and even visiting his Strictly Muscles clinic at Lateral Fitness in the River North neighborhood of Chicago.

As someone with a history of muscle activation issues and injuries as well as a running coach and personal trainer, I was instantly curious and wanted to learn more about the field, and I thought you all might as well! So I asked Martin if he would like to put together a post explaining to all of us a bit more about Muscle Activation Technique, and how MAT could benefit Endurance Athletes.

Please welcome Martin!

Muscle Activation Technique for Endurance Athletes: How can you get more from your muscles beyond strength training? Find out on @suzlyfe

Muscle Activation Technique for Endurance Athletes

Martin Kimpson (Strictly Muscles)

How important is exercise to you? For many people exercise is a vital part of their happiness and identity.  It is who they are and what they do with the little bit of spare time they have in their life outside of work and family.  Question: Have you ever had the ability to exercise taken away because of injury?  Unfortunately the most common answer to this question is “yes!”  Well a growing number of athletes in the professional and recreational world are using Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT™) as a way to turn that answer to “no!”

MAT™ is a technique that helps athletes recover from competitive stress quickly and helps them prevent future injuries. MAT™ prepares the body to be more efficient in training and athletic performance.

Muscle Activation Technique for Endurance Athletes: How can you get more from your muscles beyond strength training? Find out on @suzlyfe

In order to reach optimal performance capabilities, an athlete is forced to train at high intensity levels. Because of this, there is always the risk for injury. Some athletes may be predisposed to an injury, due to muscles not contracting efficiently, which place increased stress on joints and other tissues. When training at a high level, those inefficiencies are magnified, and sometimes the body can no longer handle the stress, eventually breaking down. It is like driving a car with bad alignment. The faster you drive it, the faster the tires are going to wear out. The body functions in much the same way. 

Muscle Activation Technique for Endurance Athletes: How can you get more from your muscles beyond strength training? Find out on @suzlyfe

The goal of MAT™ is to address the weakness before an injury occurs. Conventional therapy will typically treat the symptom, but the cause of the problem is often left unaddressed. The end result is that the athlete does not heal, or they go on to experience repetitive injuries or a more severe injury.  The primary benefit of MAT™ is the ability to assess, prepare, improve, and manage an individual’s muscular system. By balancing the muscular system, MAT™ provides an improved environment for restoring physical performance. This allows the athlete to return to sport sooner with improved athletic capabilities.

Everyone knows what a tug-of-war match is. It’s two different teams of people pulling in opposition to one another. Now let’s imagine that each team are actually muscles pulling around a joint (contracting). Let’s say one of the sides start to lose participants, what happens? There are less people helping to respond to a whole bunch of people.  That’s tightness! A few muscles are over working and trying to respond to the high amount of forces (i.e. high mileage or intervals). MAT™ isn’t focused on getting rid of the muscles that are tight, because they are the muscles working. It’s focused on getting more muscles back on the side of the tug-of-war, which increases strength and decreases the need for some muscles to work more than others.   

Muscle Activation Technique for Endurance Athletes: How can you get more from your muscles beyond strength training? Find out on @suzlyfe

MAT™ is ideal for endurance athletes that are frustrated that they are unable to maintain a regular training schedule due to repetitive injuries like IT band syndrome or plantar fasciitis. They are worried about a future where they aren’t able to run and compete like they want to. They feel sad that they are not able to keep up with their friends on race day anymore.

The great thing about MAT™ is it helps people learn about their body and teaches them how to address the issue on their own. It’s not about “fixing” you. It’s about getting your muscles contracting better, improving the amount of tension the muscle can develop, and maintaining that strength. The results of getting your muscles contracting more efficiently are you can train harder while decreasing the risk of injury.

Strictly Muscles is a Muscle Activation Technique clinic in River North Chicago.

Thank you, Martin!

Could Muscle Activation be the secret to your greatest race ever? @strictlymuscles #runchat Click To Tweet

What questions do you have for Martin about Muscle Activation Technique?

Are you familiar with Muscle Activation Technique?

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday and Running Coaches Corner

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Have you read these gems?


  • Reply Carla

    I had never hear the word PREHAB until Amanda/run to the finish and then I began to see it everywhere.
    It’s amazing how smart we’ve gotten in the field of preventative everything just in the past few years

    March 30, 2016 at 5:10 am
  • Reply Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    This is so interesting! I have heard of this before and did a search in my area but didn’t find anyone at the time. I would love to try it out, depending on the time commitment and cost. I do think it would be worth it as one other way to help prevent injuries!

    March 30, 2016 at 5:18 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I definitely agree.

      April 2, 2016 at 11:50 am
  • Reply Haley

    My girlfriend is a PT and she has talked to me about this before. This is such a great preventative.

    March 30, 2016 at 6:03 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think it is going to be the next big wave of interventional practice!

      April 2, 2016 at 11:47 am
  • Reply Ruthie

    I don’t know much about this so thanks for the post!I like the idea that it’s not a one time “fix!”

    March 30, 2016 at 6:04 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      People are always looking for quick fixes, but constant vigilance is the only answer!

      April 2, 2016 at 11:48 am
  • Reply Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    I feel like I could benefit from this big time! Now if only I were an endurance athlete.

    March 30, 2016 at 6:19 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Anyone can benefit from it!

      April 2, 2016 at 11:46 am
  • Reply Julie

    The more we know about ourselves the better we can take care of our bodies!!

    March 30, 2016 at 6:40 am
  • Reply Emily @ My Healthyish Life

    Soooooo now I want to try this. I’m all for these techniques that prevent injury. I’ve at a SET treatment (structural energetic therapy) so I wonder if it’s similar. It hurt like HELL.

    March 30, 2016 at 6:44 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oooo. I don’t think so. I would say this would be far less painful!

      April 2, 2016 at 11:44 am
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    How interesting!! I didn’t know much about this and now I do :-)) Thanks! I feel like I could really benefit from this.

    March 30, 2016 at 6:48 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Anything to get our bodies working better for us, right?

      April 2, 2016 at 11:45 am
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner

    This is really interesting! I agree that most PT treats the symptom and does not really delve into the cause too much. Thanks for sharing

    March 30, 2016 at 7:01 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I am lucky that my PT does all of it, but if you are not so lucky, MAT is a great middle step.

      April 2, 2016 at 11:43 am
  • Reply Annmarie

    So cool! Now I want to make my hubby perform MAT on me haha!! Thanks for linking up and sharing 🙂

    March 30, 2016 at 7:02 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You guys are already so busy and accomplished, I can’t imagine you adding anything on!

      April 2, 2016 at 11:43 am
  • Reply lacey@fairytalesandfitness

    I have never heard of Mat. Luckily I am not injury proned but I’m sure this technique can benefit everyone.

    March 30, 2016 at 7:10 am
  • Reply Lauren

    As a future OT this is super interesting, especially as the more I learn about muscles, the more I know that everything is freaking connected so learning about your muscles and how they fit together is really important for injury prevention!

    March 30, 2016 at 7:41 am
    • Reply suzlyfe


      April 2, 2016 at 11:41 am
  • Reply Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    Oh, I so need this! I’m going to start PT in a couple of weeks (apparently this PT is quite popular) and I’m going to ask her about this.

    March 30, 2016 at 7:57 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Which PT are you going to? You know I love me a PT… but MAT could be something great for you to learn about to keep you out of PT (after you are done with it).

      April 2, 2016 at 11:40 am
  • Reply Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment

    I am not familiar with the Muscle Activation Technique (or MAT) but will definitely keep it in mind and check into it. Thank you for sharing.

    March 30, 2016 at 8:04 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      All of us fitness nerds need to know about it!

      April 2, 2016 at 11:39 am
  • Reply Ashley @ A Lady Goes West

    I recently learned all about MAT and wrote an article about it. Such a beneficial tool. Thanks for sharing, Susie! 🙂

    March 30, 2016 at 8:08 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Isn’t MAT interesting?

      April 2, 2016 at 11:39 am
  • Reply Martin Kimspton

    Thank you everyone for commenting about coach Suz’s post. MAT™ is great for preventing injuries as well as assisting in the rehabilitation process. Feel free to contact me at with questions you may have.

    March 30, 2016 at 9:50 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you for your post, Martin!

      April 2, 2016 at 11:38 am
  • Reply Sam @ PancakeWarriors

    I work in a gym full of ladies, many of them are coming to the table with injuries and others are often concerned about re-aggravating old injuries. What are some at home exercises they can do or how do they find a MAT specialist?

    March 30, 2016 at 9:59 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I will definitely defer to Martin and MAT specialists for this. MAT is so specialized that I would hesitate to recommend anything!

      April 2, 2016 at 11:37 am
  • Reply Nicole @ Fitful Focus

    This is so interesting! I’ll do anything to avoid injury!

    March 30, 2016 at 10:12 am
  • Reply Michelle

    Very interesting! Haven’t heard of this technique before!!

    March 30, 2016 at 10:41 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Glad to be the one to introduce you to it!

      April 2, 2016 at 11:36 am
  • Reply Ange @ Cowgirl Runs

    My right glute is still being a jerk. It’s activing more, but it’s definitely lazier than Ol’ Lefty.

    I’m seeing my physio today, so I’ll be seeing if she knows of anyone who does MAT because I’m certain I’d benefit from it.

    March 30, 2016 at 10:45 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That is just rude to have a lazy right bum. Seriously.

      April 2, 2016 at 11:35 am
  • Reply Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    So interesting! I had never heard of MAT before but it makes sense how it can help with repetitive injuries. Thanks for sharing!

    March 30, 2016 at 10:52 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Absolutely! Glad that you found it interesting!

      April 2, 2016 at 11:35 am
  • Reply Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    So interesting. I could have definitely benefited from this in past injuries!

    March 30, 2016 at 11:45 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      All of us could have!

      April 2, 2016 at 11:34 am
  • Reply Pam

    I have never heard of this technique, but may have to look into after my marathon next month. It could have helped me after my recent IT band injury

    March 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm
  • Reply Martin Kimspton

    Sam@pancakewarriors…perfect question. To find a MAT specialist near you visit

    March 30, 2016 at 4:59 pm
  • Reply

    As usual Suz, I am completely enlightened to a subject I hadn’t heard of before and am now completely fascinated to learn more! Great stuff. I had no idea……

    March 31, 2016 at 2:49 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I feel like this is something you would love to study, you big nerd 😀

      April 2, 2016 at 11:33 am
  • Reply Lauren @ i had a big lunch

    Stuff like this FASCINATES me! So cool!!

    April 4, 2016 at 11:19 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know. We are total nerds lol

      April 5, 2016 at 2:09 pm

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