Fundamentals of Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT)

by Greg Roskopf |  Date Released : 08 Apr 2011

Founder of Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT), Greg Roskopf discusses the scientific rationale, application and benefits of MAT in this audio interview with Bobby Cappuccio. Some dicussion topics include: 

What is the scientific rationale of MAT?

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. A primary goal of MAT is to improve communication between the nervous system and the muscular system.

How does MAT fit into any exercise continuum for a typical personal training client?

  • MAT works to ensure the muscles are firing properly for a balanced mechanical system so that clients get the maximum benefit from exercise and sport.
  • An MAT practitioner is a muscle mechanic who "tunes up" clients' systems to enhance physical performance and avoid injury. Injury is a consequence of subjecting the body to forces it cannot handle.
  • MAT is an effective part of an exercise continuum.

How does “functional training” correlate with MAT?

  • People are only as strong as their 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.

Why do the strong get stronger and the weak get weaker?

  • 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.

What's a good starting point for learning more about MAT?

  • MAT's Jump Start introductory program
  • 10-month Certification Internship with MAT

For more information, visit

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Greg Roskopf

About the author: Greg Roskopf

International acclaimed developer of Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) whose concepts are utilized worldwide for rehab and performance. Greg works with numerous professional athletes and sports teams including the Denver Broncos and Nuggets.

Greg Roskopf has devoted his career to the study of the “cause and effect” of the muscular system and how it relates to pain. As the author of the Roskopf Principle and the founder of Muscle Activation Techniques he not only developed the MAT™ program but also created a curriculum for this technique that has been taught to students all across the globe. Muscle Activation Techniques fills the gap between the medical and the exercise fields. Greg has over two decades of experience applying MAT™ to his clients and developing students into competent and respected practitioners.

Greg has worked as a consultant for various professional sports teams including: the Denver Broncos, the Utah Jazz, and the Denver Nuggets. Beyond this, Greg works with clients at all physical capability levels who are looking to address challenges they experience due to injury, stress, or trauma to their muscular system.

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