Welp, it happened – the first big snowfall of the year for the Chicagoland area.  Sunday the snow fell by the inches, and sure enough, Monday came around and it had to be moved.

The first snowfall of the year is always interesting for us at Muscle Activation Schaumburg. Without fail, we hear multiple reports of people’s bodies getting all out of whack after spending the better part of an hour moving around the heavy snow.  Sometimes people report that they threw their back out. Other times we hear of achiness throughout the shoulders and upper back. Often we learn of people’s hamstrings and hips being tweaked. Regardless, these are all indications that it may be time for them to get their muscles tuned up with MAT®.


When you do a physical activity that you are not accustomed to, such as shoveling snow, for a prolonged period of time, this can put excessive stress on your body in ways that it is not ready for.  Not only that, but the bending and twisting motions that often accompany snow shoveling can wreak havoc on your lower back and hips. Combining this with the heavy weight of the snow that came down this past week, and it is a recipe for disaster for your muscular system.

Related:  What does muscle have to do with it?

Fortunately, there is something you can do to help not only get your body back on track, but also ensure that the likelihood of it getting stressed again goes way down.  Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT®) is a process of identifying which of your muscles are not working as well as they should be working and then helping those muscles to work better.  Much like you would take your car into the mechanic to get it tuned up from time to time, MAT® can serve as this tune up for your body.

When it comes to shoveling snow, there are typically three issues we see present themselves if your body gets tweaked.  The first issue is difficulty turning your body side to side or flipping from your back to your stomach (and vice versa).  The second is issue is difficulty bending forward or down towards your toes. The third issue is difficulty lifting your legs towards the ceiling (one at a time) while lying flat on your back.  These are the three most prevalent issues we see, but there are many others that can accompany these, as well.

Related: 4 Early Warning Signs That You Need MAT®

With MAT®, we would be considering all of these motions and trying to figure out which ones you could not perform well.  Once we have identified the troublesome motions, we would then look to find which muscles aren’t working well that should be helping you to perform the motions.  After addressing these muscles, we typically see that not only does the strength of the muscles improve, but the motion that was initially difficult becomes much more fluid and easier to perform, as well.

Here is a great before and after clip from a client’s session this past week whose body got tweaked after shoveling snow:

MAT® does not utilize any kind of stretching or releasing techniques, but rather focuses on improving the strength of the muscles that are not working well.  By doing so, the motions that were once difficult often become far easier.

If your body got out of whack after shoveling snow this weekend, MAT® may be the thing you need to get it tuned back up.  You can find out more information about MAT® in our free eBook here. And if you are interested in scheduling a free consultation call to see if you would be a good candidate for MAT®, you can do so 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!