Monday, 5 September 2011

Muscle Activation Techniques

Anytime the muscular system experiences stress, trauma or overuse, communication to the nervous system is altered. This will negatively impact to the contractile capability of the muscle. The goal of Muscle Activation Techniques are to improve communication between the nervous system and the muscular system.

With clients I use this rationale for the primary stages of training. The aim is to help the client "activate" muscles properly. The end product is reduced injury, increased stabilisation and Aesthetically it helps burn more calories & tone faster!

You are only as strong as your weakest link. Isolated weakness negatively affects how the body functions as a whole, since the body is forced to compensate. Functional, integrated exercise could lead to or reinforce the dysfunction of existing weaknesses unless those the contractile ability of the isolated parts can be strengthened to make the whole body stronger and more efficient. Function is about the timing of muscle recruitment. Stress, trauma and overuse negatively impact slow twitch muscle fibers' ability to stabilize joints, maintain upright posture, provide oxidation, resist fatigue.  Inflammation alters the metabolic characteristics of slow twitch fibers altering their oxidation capacity and activation threshold. As a result, muscles fire less efficiently. This is not as much of an issue for strength as it is for stability of joint structures. Joints then become vulnerable and compensation patterns are often reinforced. Many times corrective exercise cannot correct neuro-muscular imbalances because it's a nervous system problem, and we need to restore the communication pathways between the muscles and the nervous system so that the muscles can fire on demend. Then you can follow up with reinforcement exercises. 
The problem comes when most trainers dont understand the importance of the muscle system activating in the correct order and at the correct time. Simple exercises such as squats, lunges, sit-ups/abs are often not monitored or even taught wrongly! For the right muscles to activate first of all you have to have your start up postion correct. Lets take squats as our example:

Squats-fuctional exercise, tones BUM, thighs, hamstrings (assist), abdominal/core system.

The problem: Squats are usually done so bad that they actually cause reduced tone to Bum-one of the main muscles they shpuld be activating and helping tone! This is caused at the very set up of the exercise.

What Not to Do: Externally Rotate Feet (turn feet outwards) this leads to your gastroc (calf) muscle becoming tighter and this leads to increased knee disfunction which inturn leads onto your bum working less! So no tone!
 Push bodweight through ball of feet or even toes- this distribution encourages your quads to work harder than your glutes (bum)
knees adduct or abduct (knock in or move out)-knees knocking in usually means your adductors are working over time when under stress, this means their opposing muscles the abductors are working less! And you know what! your BUM is an abductor (your glute med to be correct)

Il post some MAT exercises this week but for a full assessment contact ,me & book into the manchester or cheshire studio. If you want to tone fast pr you can seem to make a change to your bum, chest, back of arm, abs then you need this assessment!

Peace & Love Stuart

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