Muscle Activation Techniques™ (MAT) prepares the body for all types of exercise, sports, physical therapy and chiropractic work. It helps reduce the body's need to compensate and can eliminate pain associated with improper body mechanics.
Muscle Activation Techniques, developed by Greg Roskopf, are a biomechanically based bodywork technique, where an MAT specialist will use a range of motion exams, speciﬁc muscle testing, precision palpations at the neuro-muscular junction, and/or low intensity isometrics in each process; to detect and remedy muscular imbalances.
Muscle Activation Techniques™ is a procedure that addresses weak links in the muscular system. The result of addressing weak links equates to the body functioning better and possibly decreasing discomfort, feelings of tightness, and inflammation. MAT does not directly treat pain, but MAT can provide faster recovery through reducing harmful compensation patterns.
The physiology and science that supports Muscle Activation Techniques™ works on the premises that joint mobility that is also stable is a result of optimal communication between the nervous system and the muscular system. The weak links I’m referring to are basically glitches in communication, not necessarily how many muscle fibers contract to lift your heaviest set. But don’t think for a second that weak links in the communication system won’t rear its ugly head when you are 89 minutes into your soccer game, or your last heavy set or on mile 3 of your marathon, because it will! The question is how long can your system function with weak links before injury, pain, and tightness present themselves.
Approaching the communication between the nervous system and the muscular system is effective because the muscles are a giant sensory organ. Just like the nose is a sensory organ that responds to chemicals, the muscles respond to mechanical force. Think of how gravity dictates our upright position, and that walking is a movement against gravity. The nervous system senses and calculates gravity and all the other forces around us. It uses it’s best available tools, the muscles, so that we can survive in a gravity based environment.
Since the muscles are a giant sensory organ, and that dictates the outcome of forces challenging the body, doesn’t it make complete sense that optimizing their communication will improve movement in all its forms?
Exercise, sports, and daily activities are all made possible by the brain and nervous system’s exquisite feedback operations: Balancing both muscle force production and regulation through a system of sensory detection; calculation of a complex response to movement challenges; and ultimately creating an output solution via the muscles and tissues, executed through the nervous system. The muscular system is quite impressive in that it will operate in under less than optimal circumstances through muscular and joint compensation. If this feedback loop of less than optimal conditions is allowed to continue over time, it can diminish a person’s ability to function at a high level of performance. This is when pain, tightness, and injuries present themselves. MAT aims to identify and correct muscular imbalances through improving a muscle’s ability to communicate sensory information to the brain through a systematic process.
Muscle Activation Techniques are a unique approach to correcting muscular imbalances. In traditional therapy settings, the focus is on the tightening of muscles that create instability. Founder of MAT, Greg Roskopf, equates this tightening response to walking on ice. Your body’s natural inclination is to tighten all your muscles to keep the major areas protected--everything is on high alert. MAT’s approach is based on the belief that the “tightening” is a secondary response to muscle weakness. An MAT specialist will seek to address the body’s desire to provide stability through the joints by strengthening the signals sent to muscular attachments at the joints; concentrating on the contractile abilities of the muscles, as well as strengthening your body’s awareness of a comprehensive muscular response. This, in effect, “melts the ice” --creating stability in any circumstance.
Jennifer Schwartz-Biggle is the owner of Impact Sports Science. Growing up, Jenn was a fierce competitor on the soccer field. She played for the the Maryland State and regional teams, won a division II scholarship and had walk-on trials for European club teams. After losing her mom at 20, Jenn took a hard look at life and decided to commit herself to her passion for soccer. Upon leaving undergrad at Goldey-Beacom College, she tried her hand at playing overseas. Although her professional soccer career did not take off, it allowed her to learn about what it meant to be a female athlete. America presents such great opportunities and she firmly believes that both the past and present generations of female athletes will change the world.
At 23, Jenn enrolled at the Physical Therapy program at Marymount University and a few years later, after her second ACL tear, discovered the life-changing practice of Muscle Activation technique (MAT). Immediately Jenn knew that she wanted to bring MAT to the world of female athletes, elevate their game and physical well-being even more. She has never had her ACL repaired and the process of building and maintaining strength has been priceless to her technical skill development.
In 2009 she launched Impact Fitness DC and began coaching girls soccer. Personal training paid the bills but wanted she was really after was to be able to blend the injury prevention aspect of MAT into her true love - soccer. In 2012 she became a certified MAT specialist and this fall, Jenn will complete her Masters of Science in Health and Fitness - a graduate program designed specifically for MAT specialists.
Jenn has helped a large array of clients (Olympic level athletes, 14 year old competitive soccer players, and Moms ready to focus on their own body) gain strength, stability, and achieve their seemingly impossible goals.
"Being able to integrate my love and appreciation for the game of soccer, the incredible effects of Muscle Activation Techniques™, and the practice of healthy living is a dream come true.” - Jennifer Schwartz-Biggle
Bachelors of Science in Health Sciences and Pre Physical Therapy from Marymount University
Masters of Science in Health and Fitness Management
Muscle Activation Techniques™ Specialist MATcs
Certified through American College of Sports Medicine
Insured through IDEA Fitness
Completed the Muscle Activation Techniques™ Jumpstart series to prescribe isometric based exercise
Is completing the Resistance Training Specialist Mastery Program to apply science and physics to the body with exercise application.
Played Division II collegiate soccer and Maryland ODP.
Actively coaching in Alexandria Soccer Association’s Travel Academy. Past coaching experience includes TC Williams High School Girls Soccer, Strength and Conditioning Coach WPSL Torino Ladies, and travel girls soccer from ages 10-16 years of age.
Katrina’s love for health and fitness began at an early age when she first watched the cartoon television show, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” She began training in Karate at age 5 and received her first black belt by the age of 10. She has since studied various styles of martial arts such as Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do, Aikido, Kenpo, Krav Maga, Silat, Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu (Gi and No-Gi) and Muay Thai Kickboxing. She is an avid athlete with her passion being Rugby, playing Second Row, Flanker and Outside Center. She played Rugby at the college level for Penn State University and at the club level for the Norfolk Storm. Her foundational fitness experience stems from her previous 5 years of military service. Katrina received her BA in International Politics from Penn State University, her MA in Economics from The University of Oklahoma, and is currently completing her MS in Health and Fitness from Globe University.
She believes that there is more than one way to reach one’s fitness goals and that the trick is to find the most efficient, effective and appropriate way for that person, within their life, to achieve their goals. Katrina is extremely passionate about health and fitness and is dedicated to helping her clients reach their goals. She knows that everyone is stronger than they think they are and that it’s just a matter of helping them find that strength—both physically and mentally.
Favorite Health and Fitness Quote: “ I plan to age but NEVER grow old!!”
-Muscle Activation Techniques Certified Specialist
-ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer
-NESTA Certified Biomechanics Specialist
-RKC Certified Kettlebell Instructor
-IYCA Certified Youth Kettlebell Instructor
-IFPA Speed and Power Specialist
-Certified Metabolic Training Expert
-Certified Mixed Martial Arts Strength and Conditioning Coach
-Certified USA Rugby Strength and Conditioning Coach
-USA Rugby Certified Coach