At Muscle Activation Schaumburg, we see a wide variety of clients for Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT®).  We see clients who are younger and older, clients who are more physically fit and those who are not, and clients who are highly athletic as well as those whose athleticism may be lacking.  But, despite this variety, there is a consistency that we see regarding the differences between our clients who are professional athletes and those who are not.

You may be thinking to yourself, “There are a TON of differences between those who are pro athletes and those who aren’t,” and you would be correct, but really the biggest differences fall into two categories.  Yes, the pro athletes have bigger muscles, stronger muscles, and better endurance.  But, that’s not the biggest difference.

The biggest difference between our clients who are pro athletes and those who are not comes down to two things – 1) The pro athletes have a greater ability to tolerate stress; and 2) The pro athletes have a great ability to recover from stress.  And, it is the combination of these two characteristics that is so potent, because a strong determining factor in their ability to tolerate and recover from stress is having a greater ability to compensate.

Now, as I have written about before, having a greater ability to compensate is not the same as having a greater need to compensate.  Having a greater ability to compensate means you have more options available to get the job done.  If you think of driving your car to the grocery store, the more routes you have to get there, the better.  If one route is closed down or is slower because of traffic, you can access a different route and get to the store without issue.  However, if you only have one way of getting to the grocery store and that route gets shut down, then there is a big issue.

Having a greater ability to compensate is a really good thing.  For your body, it means having more muscles working well to help protect and move your joints.  If some muscles stop working as well for the time being, other muscles can pick up the slack and help move and protect you.  As long as your ability to compensate stays greater than your need to compensate, things will be okay in the moment.

However, when your need to compensate starts to exceed your ability to compensate, that’s when we start to see more issues popping up.

In the short term, compensation is a brilliant thing.  In the longer term, it may not be ideal.  This is where MAT® can step in.

The goal of MAT® is to figure out where in your body there are muscles that are not working as well as they should, where the ability of the muscles to contract on a moment’s notice is not there.  Then, a certified MAT® practitioner can address these issues to get your muscles back up and working how they are supposed to work.  In other words, the practitioner can figure out where you have the need to compensate and improve your ability to do so.

Often, an increased need to compensate can present itself as tight or achy muscles, stiff joints, joints feeling unstable, or generally feeling weak.  All of these issues can impact your ability to do the things you love to do in life, whether it is playing golf, going for walks, or chasing your kids around the yard.  Even seemingly mundane daily tasks such as going up and down stairs, bending over to pull laundry out of the dryer, or putting groceries away on the top shelf can all start to feel more difficult.  This is usually a sign that your need to compensate is becoming greater than your ability to compensate, and would be a good time to give your local MAT® practitioner a call.

If your body is not keeping up with the things you want to do in life, your muscular system may be in need of a tune up.  By visiting your local MAT® practitioner, your muscles can get firing again and your ability to compensate can start to become greater than your need to compensate, giving you a greater ability to do the activities you love most.

Remember, while there are many testimonials from professional athletes on the power of MAT®, most pro athletes already have a very high ability to compensate.  MAT® was not designed only for pro athletes, but rather for people of all ages and physical abilities.  To see if MAT® may be a good fit for you, connect with an MAT® practitioner in your area here.

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!


Ric · February 10, 2018 at 12:38 pm

If you are unfamiliar with MAT, please read this article. Charlie Cates hit a home run with the explanation, and it will change the way you think about the function of your body.

    Charlie Cates · May 28, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks so much, Ric! Hope you are doing great!

Comments are closed.