Sarah came to me with some muscular system issues following an Ironman triathlon. This is her experience of Muscle Activation Techniques.
“For several years I have been doing at least one Ironman triathlon and a spring marathon per year. I have always been diligently stretching, doing 2 yoga sessions a week, daily foam rolling and having weekly sports massages. However I kept getting niggling injuries.
This year before my first Ironman event of the year I started to get very tight hip flexors. I was struggling to squat without overarching my lower back and sitting back in hip opening exercises. I did lots of hip stretching and release work on them. I thought I was ok going into my event, but my right hip flexor started to tighten up on the swim. This then caused me to cycle slightly twisted on the bike and within the first 10 miles of the 112 mile bike ride my lower back started to protest. By the second lap of the bike I was struggling to stay down on my tri bars. I got off the bike hunched over and felt like a 90 year old. My back was hurting on the run and part way through my knee started to mal track as a result of my change in gait due to my back. This caused pain whenever I ran. It resulted in a long painful marathon.
Upon returning from my event I was uncomfortable sitting at work and very uncomfortable after more than 3 hours on the bike. With my next Ironman event in 3 months’ time I need to get both my back and hips resolved. I also wanted to find something that would get to the root of my general tightness and avoid the problems I had in my Ironman event and niggling injuries I kept getting.
A few weeks after my event I went to see Paul to find out more about Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) and whether it could work for me. I signed up for 5 weekly sessions which would take me up 2 weeks before my next Ironman. I was a little surprised when Paul told me to stop stretching and foam rolling. However I dropped to one yoga class a week, the only stretches I did were when they were part of a class and I stopped foam rolling.
Paul worked through different areas of my body to find muscles that weren’t contracting well and worked on correcting them. My body seemed to respond well to MAT. I was able to do a 5 hour bike ride after a couple of sessions. My hips were looser. My second Ironman race was totally different. I experienced no tightness in my hips or discomfort in my back on the bike. Post race I had no ill effects. My sports masseur commented that I was in very good shape given I had just done an Ironman.”
Sarah Yates, Triathlete.