BioJacked #5: Muscle Activation Techniques with Matt Simpson-Weber

Kiefer and one of his figure clients, Ina, have both had their bodies worked on by MAT practitioner Matt Simpson-Weber here in San Francisco, and have been blown away by the results in their ability to recruit and balance muscle fiber activation in tissues that have experienced long-term dysfunction.

Last time Kiefer left Matt’s studio here in the Mission district, he kept finding himself veering slightly to the left as he walked down the street. No doubt some insidious hex on his nervous system.

We’ve decided to invite Matt on to the show to talk through the technique and find out what kind of evil wizardry he performs on his willing victims, who all complain that they feel better and perform better shortly thereafter.

With special guest Anna Sweeney (Pilates instructor, figure competitor, personal trainer, and Beautifully Hardcore writer).

BioJacked Episode 5: Muscle Activation Technique

MAT with Matt Part 1 (56 mins, 53 MB, mp3)

MAT with Matt Part 2 (36 mins, 34 MB, mp3)

Part One: Stress, Trauma, and Overuse

  • 00:45 – Introducing Anna Sweeney, who is lots of things.
  • 01:00 [Human Performance Science News]
  • 01:10 Exercise Improves Cognitive Function
  • 03:30 Logical thought comes from our ability to move (ref to George Lakoff) — why movement and intelligence go hand in hand.
  • 11:20 Fast food confessions.
  • 13:45 “I was raised thinking that packets of ketchup were health food because they come from tomatoes.” –Kiefer
  • [break]
  • 26:45 What is Muscle Activation Technique? “Tightness” is secondary to weakness. The immediacy of MAT’s results.
  • 30:45 MAT is not ART (Active Release Therapy), and it’s definitely not stretching.
  • 32:30 The concept of Reciprocal Inhibition.

    We’re actually opening up ranges of motion by doing active contractions as opposed to a forced lengthening of muscle. –Matt Simpson-Weber

  • 33:00 Why “tight” should be scrapped in favor of “sensitive”, and why stretching is the wrong approach to solving muscle sensitivity. “The research is not very kind to passive stretching… Stretching often [frequency greater than once every 4 days] actually tells your muscles to disintegrate!” –Kiefer
  • 38:45 Foam rolling — how does it fit with MAT?
  • 40:00 Since MAT is all about specific muscle contractions, does Matt prescribe certain exercises to help with recovery?
  • 41:45 Explaining the difference between Motor Control Programs and Reciprocal Inhibition.
  • 43:45 Motor control programs explain why the push press isn’t about generating momentum. Olympic lifting and martial arts (probably) maximize motor control programs.
  • 47:30 “Pain is the indication that these imbalances have gone on too long” –Matt Simpson-Weber
  • 49:45 How stimulant overuse, sleep deprivation, and alcohol (even food) can have very physical, tangible effects on musculature.

Part Two: Improving Our Physical Vocabulary, Listener Questions

  • 0:00 The NASM standardized mobility testing/training: a false sense of security that reinforces bad patterns.
  • 5:15 What would be a better protocol to actually improve people’s outcomes in the personal training world?

If we all spoke the same [physical] language, we’d have better outcomes. –Matt Simpson-Weber

  • 7:50 You can tell when someone is a Pilates adherent or teacher when…
  • 10:50 Matt shares how he REALLY feels about yoga.
  • 12:55 Will it take longer than 2 weeks to fix long-term issues? (“How long does it take to get fit?” –Matt Simpson-Weber)
  • 14:30 What is the difference between MAT and Rolfing?
  • 16:20 Does using MAT work within the term of healing of an injury (e.g. an accident)?
  • 19:00 What does Matt do with scar tissue when it affects mobility?
  • 20:40 Does sprint interval training translocate GLUT-4? (e.g. running a 50-yard dash 10 times with 10s rest in between) — surprising answer.
  • 22:30 How does Kiefer go about researching topics? Example: how did Kiefer and Dave Asprey end up with a difference of opinion regarding caffeine and mTOR? (see the Bulletproof Podcast interview with Kiefer)
  • 24:15 Can MAT be used for the purposes of muscle growth?
  • 25:40 Addressing the Poliquin quote posted on the forums (here) about how muscular adhesions might prevent ability to do chin-ups.
  • 28:45 Has Matt seen a common cause for what lay-people call “shin splints”?
  • 29:55 What does Kiefer think of consuming 50g of protein upon waking, as in Dr Jack Kruse’s “leptin reset” protocol?
  • 31:45 Have you ever had a client whose dysfunction you could not correct?

Resources Mentioned

Muscle Activation Techniques (created by Greg Roskopf) Where Mathematics Comes From, by George Lakoff and Rafael E. Núùez Reciprocal Inhibition Motor Control Programs [wikipedia] ANATOMY BASED TRAINING