When you exercise, you use the muscles that are working well.  In fact, we do this all the time, even when we are not exercising.  We naturally default to making tasks as easy for ourselves as possible.  Often times, we call this compensation.



Muscle Activation Techiques™ is like a tutoring session for your muscles that need the most attention.


Having the ability to compensate is a good thing, especially in the short term.  If you sprain your ankle, it is better to be able to walk with a limp than not walk at all.  However, issues may arise when we start to compensate for long periods of time.

In terms of muscles, an example would be having to rely only on your hamstrings to extend your hip because your glutes are not working well.  In the short term, this compensation may be fine.  But in the long term, we would like the glutes to be able to participate to their full ability.  This would help relieve some of the workload of the hamstrings and may prevent them from getting injured or overused.

Most of the traditionally-recommended exercises to activate and strengthen the glutes can end up creating a bigger problem.  Exercises such as squats and deadlifts usually do not challenge end range hip extension.  Therefore, the glutes aren’t ever forced to get better in positions where they are most likely to have problems.  As such, our problem areas and dysfunctional muscles continue to get ignored while our muscles that are already working well keep getting better.

Think of it like this:  If you were a teacher and you wanted to raise the average test scores of your class, you could do a few different things.  First, you could continue to teach and assign work as you have been and the students who are doing well will continue to do well while those who are struggling will continue to struggle.  In this case the test scores would probably remain the same.

Second, you could pile on more work and give more instruction to the students who are excelling in hopes of bringing their scores up to as close to perfect as possible.  If their scores raise, this may raise the average scores of class, but the added attention you’ve given towards the excelling students means you would not have been able to give the same attention to the students who are struggling.  In this case, these students’ scores may drop.

Third, you could spend part of your time providing additional attention and tutoring to the students who need it the most.  This would raise their scores while still providing enough challenge to the students who excel for them to maintain their scores.  Overall, this plan would result in a net increase in the average test scores for the class as well as help to get more students up to speed with what is going on.

Muscle Activation Techniques™ is a means be which to get the muscles that are lagging behind back up to speed.  It is like a tutoring session for specific muscles and is an adjunct to your regular workouts.

Not only will improving the ability of these struggling muscles help you to exercise and move more efficiently, it will also allow you to get more out of your exercise, as well.  Just like the chain with the proverbial weak link, improving specific areas that are not up to par will allow the entire system as a whole to work more efficiently and achieve higher outcomes.

Which of your muscles need a tutoring session?

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Charlie Cates

Charlie Cates is the leading consultant to high-level professional, college, & high school basketball players in the Chicagoland area for injury prevention, recovery, & muscle performance. As a certified Muscle Activation Techniques® MATRx practitioner & former college basketball player, he uses his personal experience & understanding of the game & player demands to create customized exercise options for his clients to recover faster & perform their best. He is certified in the highest levels of MAT®, including MATRx, MATRx Stim, and MAT® Athlete. Follow him on Instagram @CharlieCates!