By Meg Stephenson, Director of MAT® Education, Broadview University
Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT), a method for treating muscle dysfunction, body pain, stability and mobility issues, is pleased to announce its 20th anniversary delivering MAT education. Founder, Greg Roskopf, suffered a back injury in 1983 which eventually put an end to his college football career. Though it seemed devastating at the time, Greg’s injury put him on a journey towards identifying how muscle dysfunction can lead to chronic pain, injury and impeded performance.
That injury led him to a lifetime journey dedicated to healing and helping others. The output from that rehabilitation effort and quest to identify the root cause of muscle dysfunction spurred the development of Muscle Activation Techniques. Twenty years later, this method is still in practice around the globe.
Roskopf has worked on clients representing a broad range of physical health and fitness. From pro athletes including John Stockton of the Utah Jazz, John Elway and Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos, Bryson DeChambeau of the PGA and NHL players like Nathan MacKinnon, Roskopf has applied MAT to numerous pros across multiple sports. Some professional athletes have explicitly required continued access to MAT practitioners as part of their contracts. However, the techniques have benefited people from all walks of life, not just pro athletes. In 2011, Roskopf worked with his first paraplegic client. Through the client’s dedication to the MAT treatments, he took his first steps in 2013.
2017 marked a pivotal year when MAT signed a formal alliance with Broadview University as the exclusive provider of the only accredited muscle performance certification program in the country. The current partnership with MAT and BVU was developed due to MAT education seeing rapid growth. MAT has always had a mission to teach this content so more people could benefit from this technique that changes lives. As a regulated school in Colorado, MAT was very interested in improving the certification test out rates of their students. Many students commented that they lacked the confidence to go out and use their new skill set because it was so much information to learn and put into action.
BVU had been aware of the MAT education for decades seeing their growth as a training company and wanted to find a way to help get this amazing content to more students worldwide. BVU had the platform and history of online education to help students learn and retain information. BVU also had a strong sense of compliance and regulation with career education. MAT and BVU realized the opportunity to work together, each bringing their strengths to the table, to improve on the delivery of this incredible content to help students gain the knowledge necessary to feel confident with their abilities to go out and make a difference!
One of the key benefits of MAT is that it can serve as a stand-alone technique or it can also function as an adjunct to any other modality.
Certified MAT practitioners can work as a Certified MAT practitioner or they may add the techniques to a career they are already in, i.e., Massage Therapy, Physical Therapy, Chiropractic, etc.
For more than 20 years, athletes, non-athletes, geriatric to pediatric clients have reported positive outcomes from receiving MAT. MAT is a technique that can be utilized by basically anyone that works in the health and exercise fields.
The Muscle Activation Techniques education program teaches students a revolutionary approach to the assessment and correction of muscular imbalances, joint instability and limitations in range of motion within the human body. MAT practitioners had been most visible in the category of elite athletes, however, the transition to teaching students this technique through a more convenient model has allowed MAT practitioners to reach the mainstream market in cities around the world.
Prior to teaming up with Broadview University, MAT solely taught their education programs residentially in Colorado. The time and travel commitment required to learn this education limited the ability for many interested students to attend. This program now runs 85% online preparing students for their time “in-house.” Students attend a 2-day in-person lab at the MAT® World Headquarters in Denver, CO to fine-tune their hands-on skills and take the practical exam for certification. This transition was definitely something many of the students and staff did not believe would work, but all were pleasantly surprised at the increased student outcomes achieved.
Before our partnership students were only taught the MAT process “in-house” where they would attend 8 three-day weekends in Denver, CO once per month for 8 months. What happened was that the amount of information in the 3-day weekend was often overwhelming and only roughly 50% of students had taken and passed the certification exam, which is why there was a need for change. MAT® was trying to figure out how to engage the students more to help them retain the information and feel confident in their skills for testing.
Since we have started the online program, where testing occurs after each of the 4 segments, the outcomes have increased dramatically. For example, of the 83 students who have completed the Lower Body Module, only 3 did not pass. The other great improvement is that those students who complete the program have been more prepared and confident when taking the practical exam for certification. This is due to the requirement that all online coursework must be complete prior to attending the lab and our outstanding feedback from our instructors on the video submissions from students.
“I resisted this online format for years. This is a practical application process. There’s no way people can learn this far away. The students have to be in the facility, they have to learn it, practice it and get feedback. It’s been amazing to me to see how online has brought a whole other level to the education and quality to the process that supports the MAT method in and of itself. Our students are coming in better prepared for class as opposed to the classroom only class. The old way was eight three-day in-house weekends where the students would get overloaded,” said Greg Roskopf, Founder and CEO of Muscle Activation Techniques®
Then came the COVID-19 pandemic and MAT education had to transform and become even more virtual for students to continue on their education journey.
Due to the success that students were having with this hands-on technique through online video lectures and the ability to submit video practical assignments for feedback, we knew we could continue to keep students learning through this difficult time. The decision was made to take the practical lab virtual as well. The instructor led a full day of live sessions and provided lectures on theory, the MAT thought process and specific techniques with demonstrations on family members along the way. Students were able to ask questions with immediate feedback and watch further demonstrations to help them gain further knowledge of how to move forward confidently with this hands-on skill. Many students and instructors, again, came into this virtual lab session with skepticism, later to find out that it provided exactly what was needed to allow these students the ability to keep moving forward without delay at a time when the rest of the country was shut down.
Laura Whitely, Physical Therapist, who completed the Online Module program and earned her Specialist certification said, “The videos are extremely helpful. Being able to re-watch, re-learn, and correct your technique. When I go back to practice and something doesn’t feel right, you can go right back and look at the videos and self-correct the problem.”
Students who enrolled in the MAT program during this crisis not only took advantage of the downtime to get ahead in their learning, they also gained a skill set to help them in their careers as the world begins to reopen. The typical student in the MAT program often claimed their biggest obstacle to overcome in order to learn this amazing content was the time restraints they had in their professional lives in the sports arena or fitness centers. For once in a lifetime, these students were able to have a break from their profession to focus on learning, turning this challenging time into an opportunity to get ahead in their careers. Broadview University was fortunate to have had the foresight to believe in the proper use of technology for education of a hands-on skill and the power in delivering knowledge to the student in a convenient format without losing sight of quality.
Having the ability to maintain serving our students safely during such a difficult time for our world was such a positive experience in keeping our students on track towards reaching their education goals. It also allowed us to innovate ways to make that virtual time as effective as being together when reviewing our hands-on skills. In fact, it may be the national shutdown that ends up taking this program to the next level.
Virtual learning of this content has opened doors to many who never believed they would have the chance to learn this technique.
We are grateful for the opportunity to teach Muscle Activation Techniques to such incredible students who take pride in making a difference in the health of their clients. This skill set was not meant to be only for practitioners of elite athletes, it is too powerful to be hidden away! We are excited about the student outcomes we are seeing out of this online format and look forward to hearing the stories of the continued success of MAT practitioners making a difference in people’s lives all over the world.
MEG STEPHENSON is the Director of MAT® Education for Broadview University. She started working with Broadview in April of 2018 as a professional development specialist when MAT® online was in its infancy. She has helped the Broadview and MAT® teams to grow the program from one online module to now offering 4 Specialist level modules, 6 Mastery level modules, the MAT® Specialist Certificate and associates, bachelor’s and master’s degrees focusing on MAT®.
Meg has been in the education field for most of her career including as a head coach at the University of Minnesota where she was awarded National Coach of the Year honors in 2013 by her peers. She is proud to see how the MAT® online curriculum has allowed more people to learn these amazing techniques and become certified practitioners!
Contact Information: Meg Stephenson // Director of MAT® Education // Broadview University // 651-447-8251 // firstname.lastname@example.org // https://broadviewuniversity.edu/mat/ // https://www.facebook.com/BroadviewUniversity/