For Performance Enhancement training to really be effective, an athlete must be able to eliminate all negative biomechanical and muscular compensations
before attempting to make any significant athletic gains. For them, and even for people looking to maximize their health and fitness, Athletic Edge has
devised a proprietary system of Muscular Balancing and Corrective Joint and Movement Mechanics, or what we call "Muscle/Mechanics."
It is an integrated system of manual techniques and corrective exercises that address muscular imbalances, postural deviations and faulty movement
patterns and is a combination of studying related ideas from some of the most forward-thinking physical therapists, manual therapists and corrective
exercise specialists in the world. The result of years of study and practice, Muscle/Mechanics is the best way to move forward for both performance
Postural asymmetry can become a telling start to assessing the muscular imbalances that lead to injury
Often times, athletes will present with significant limitations in range-of-motion and strength. They will cite chronic pains and recount a list of
injuries that were sure to have relationships, as one injury caused a compensation, which led to another injury, which led to more compensations, etc.
(A shoulder problem may have its root in the hip; back problems may stem from the foot; etc.) After just one session of targeted and effective
Muscle/Mechanics, they leave amazed at the progress and hopeful that athletic performances can now really peak. While not treating an injury or
chasing pain, its effectiveness is due to the balancing out of the neuro-muscular system.
Finding the root of the problem
Although many manual techniques have been successful in the past, only here have they been so intuitively integrated for maximal effectiveness.
Ben Shear, Director of Program Design and Performance, realized the need to incorporate different ideas.
Muscle Activation: At its core, Muscle/Mechanics relies on Greg Roskoff's Muscle Activation Techniques, or MAT.
(Currently, Roskoff is a Biomechanical consultant for the Denver Broncos, Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets, as well as for players on the LPGA and PGA Tour,
to name a few.) MAT is a system of evaluating and correcting muscular imbalances that can lead to injury, slow down recovery and affect athletic performance.
It aims to correct muscular imbalances by looking at muscle weakness, rather than muscle tightness, as the cause of limitations in range-of-motion.
(The term "weak" does not describe muscular strength, but neuromuscular connection.) When the body recognizes an instability, which is caused by
muscle weakness, the body sends messages to opposing muscles to tighten up in an attempt to support and protect that joint. MAT's systematic evaluation
procedure, which correlates limitations in range-of-motion to muscle weakness, tests and treats the weak muscles in order to address the instability.
Through various isometrics and/or site-specific palpations, MAT re-establishes the diminished neuromuscular connection and re-activates weak muscles.
In turn, the protective tightness diminishes, which typically results in an increase in joint range-of-motion and strength through that range (mobility
with stability). Proper joint stability is crucial for injury-prevention, optimal functioning, and maximal athletic performance.
A muscle without strength is an unstable muscle. Unstable muscles lead to injury.
Myofascial Release: Muscle/Mechanics also uses principles from Thomas Myer's Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridian System.
Muscle is protected and encompassed by a web of "fascia." Any restriction or adhesion in what's supposed to be free-sliding within the fascia will cause
loss of range-of-motion and compensatory movement in other parts of the body. Because these fascial lines connect muscles in distant parts of the body —
sometimes from the top of the head to the bottom of the foot — pain that is felt somewhere along the line oftentimes originates somewhere
different along the route. While several other techniques examine muscular chains (groups of muscles that perform a movement together), Anatomy Trains
follows the longer, integrated myofascial system, which disperses and absorbs force throughout the entire body and helps regulates the length/tension
relationship of the muscles. The Athletic Edge Muscle/Mechanics program uses various techniques and implements to release problematic adhesions for
optimal muscle function.
A sophisticated understanding of the body must precede performance training
Spikey Ball: Don't let the name fool you... Spikey Ball is a serious and effective method for increasing proprioception
and also mobilizing certain joints. Proprioception is the brain's understanding of body position, without the assistance of vision or touch. If that
understanding is compromised, a person is susceptible to problems with skeletal alignment, coordination, balance, muscular balance, posture, and
compensatory movement patterns. The muscles themselves are full of proprioceptors, and when the brain is not receiving proper feedback about what the
body is doing, those proprioceptors must be re-ignited. In many countries, this is where most therapies begin.
World-renowned physiotherapist and Advisory Board member for the Titleist Performance Institute, Ramsay McMaster, has devised a tool for this: Spikey
Ball Therapy applies pin-pointed-yet-dispersed force on inadequately-charged muscles, re-establishing the necessary flow of information back to the
brain. While Spikey Ball Therapy can be used for muscle activation and myofascial release, it can also be effective for joint mobilization in certain
areas of the body as well. If joints are even partially immobilized, recovery from injury can never fully be attained, and new injuries can easily occur.
At Athletic Edge, the Spikey Ball is an avenue which often provides success within the Muscle/Mechanics system.
Corrective musculo-skeletal strategies often propel athletic performance
Postural Alignment: It sounds too obvious to say that the body must be in alignment in order to function correctly.
But symmetrical balance and full range-of-motion are critical to the body's basic physical and structural design. A postural analysis is an important
component of Muscle/Mechanics, as it provides visible and measurable deviations with problematic alignment.
Corrections & Improvements: A functional movement screen rounds out this fully-encompassing evaluation. With
comprehensive, individualized results, strategic corrective exercises can be designed for the most serious athlete, down to the individual who's
been hampered by recurring injuries. From Athletic Edge's unique and effective Muscle/Mechanics system, both types of clients will get a better
understanding of the kinesiology, biomechanics, and functional anatomy behind their chronic musculoskeletal problems. In short, they will feel
better while playing at their best.
The predominant reason for postural deviations and faulty movement mechanics is muscular imbalance. This can cause muscular inhibition and a loss of
range-of-motion, which is picked up by the brain as instability. Correcting an imbalance re-establishes stability. When the brain senses stability around a
joint, it will allow for more mobility. At that point, the postural deviations and faulty movement patterns can be addressed.
Proper posture (with all its symmetry and balance) is the starting point for good movement patterns. Each side of the body is affected by gravitational
forces pushing down and ground forces pushing up. If the body isn't symmetrical from side-to-side and front-to-back, these forces cause stresses. This negative
effect is magnified when the body is attempting to perform athletic movements.
Movement mechanics are often the by-products of muscular imbalances and postural deviations. When these faulty movements become ingrained into the nervous
system (i.e. become habit), detailed and specific movement training becomes necessary to permanently correct them.