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Next Level Spring Seminar

w/ special guest Matt Ibrahim

Saturday 4/23/22


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Click the flyer icon for more info, including full list of speakers, schedule, pricing and more!

Spring Seminar flyer

Seminar Descriptions and Presenter Bios

Matt Ibrahim

Deceleration & Landing: Building The Brakes


The fields of Strength & Conditioning and Sport Performance receive a lot of attention for the expression of power and force production in the form of plyometrics and speed. However, the precursor to these elements is what represents the first steps toward building long-term athletic development. The athletic performance skills of deceleration, force absorption and landing make up the essential building blocks that, when trained properly, can help your athletes build strength, durability and injury resilience.



Matthew Ibrahim has been a Strength & Conditioning Coach since 2007 while working with athletes looking to build strength, improve performance and maintain healthy lifestyles. He is also a College Professor of Exercise Science and a Ph.D. student in Human & Sport Performance, which allows him a foot into current academia and research. As a public speaker, Matthew has presented at EXOS inside Google Headquarters, Sports Academy (formerly Mamba Sports Academy), Perform Better, Equinox, Stanford University and for the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) on several occasions. His work has been featured in Men's Health, Men’s Journal, T-Nation, Science for Sport,, Exxentric, TrueCoach and TrainHeroic.






Nate VanKouwenberg, CFSC

Connecting The Dots: How to Streamline Functional Strength Training in PE and HS Athletics


“Functional Strength Training” is the latest buzzword in fitness. Much like preceding fitness trends, the term is often misguided, leading to endless misconceptions and sub-par implementation. However, QUALITY Functional Strength Training can be a game changer for students, athletes and adults alike. The goal of this workshop will be to provide Physical Education Teachers and HS Coaches the tools required to transform their fitness units and athletic development programs, by streamlining functional progressions and skill cues district-wide. 



Nate is the Founder and Owner of Next Level Strength & Conditioning in Fairport, NY. Since 2004, Next Level has helped a wide range of athletes and general fitness enthusiasts reach their goals. Aside from Nate’s role on the business and staff development side of Next Level, he also coaches the Pro Total Hockey Training group each summer and is currently in his 7th season serving as the strength coach for the RIT Division 1 Men’s Hockey Team. 


In addition, Nate is a Physical Education teacher and strength and conditioning coordinator in the Victor Central School District. Using his experience developing Victor’s K-12 Functional Strength Training curriculum, Nate has created a comprehensive staff development workshop for PE Teachers, Coaches and AD’s called Functional Strength Training for PE. Nate has presented at countless conferences and school districts over the years in an effort to improve the quality of PE fitness units and HS strength and conditioning programs. 

Media Handles

Twitter: @NateVank19

Dr. Russ Manalastas

Beyond The Basics: Returning The Rotational Athlete To High Level Sports After A Back Injury


When an athlete suffers a back injury and needs to return to sport, there is much left to be desired when attempting to go through the traditional model of care to get an athlete to pre-injury levels. Instead of assessing and having a systemized way to determine whether or not the athlete is ready, the majority of what makes up the return to sport protocol is pain levels and whether or not the athlete is experiencing any at that current moment. There is a reason we continue to see re-occurrences of back pain, oblique strains, and other issues due to the lack of attention and detail the first time around. During this discussion, we will go over ways we assess our rotational sport athletes from how they move, how to test rotational power, and our process of understanding when an athlete is ready to return to their sport after dealing with back pain. 



Dr. Russ Manalastas is the owner of MANA Performance Therapy, which is a performance based physical therapy clinic located inside Next Level Strength & Conditioning and Cobblestone Creek Country Club. Dr. Russ got his Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science from the University at Buffalo in 2006, and then got his doctorate of physical therapy from UB in 2009. 

In addition to his degrees, Dr. Russ is a board certified clinical sports specialist, and holds many different certifications in manual therapy, strength and conditioning, & golf. His main focus is to help golfers, hockey athletes, those dealing with an ACL injury, and the everyday athlete crush their rehab and get back to sport and life. In addition to his roles and responsibilities at MANA Performance, he is the strength and conditioning coach for the men’s and women’s golf teams at Nazareth College, and is also an adjunct professor at Nazareth in the physical therapy department. 

Media Handles

Facebook/Instagram: @Manaperformancetherapy, @RussDPT

Twitter: @RussPT

YouTube: Search Pain Free Golf Performance or MANA Performance Therapy

Mike Moon, CFSC

Sports Performance Program Design for High School Athletes


Athletes too often follow the latest trend found on social media or posted to an online forum, whether it be prescribed by their uncertified sport coach or worse, haphazardly performed on their own without guidance or feedback. Implementing a functional strength training program backed by scientifically proven methods and utilizing a system of progressions and regressions sets each athlete up for long term success! We’ll discuss the optimal number of sessions each week, our training split, session blueprint, exercise selections, KPI monitoring, and sets + reps based on age and ability.



Michael Moon has been a Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach (CFSC) since 2013 guiding athletes with purposeful training and lifestyle choices that will improve the quality of their performance and life. He has been Head Strength Coach at Next Level S&C since 2015 and RIT Women’s Hockey since 2019, writing programs for middle school, high school, and Division 1 athletes. He is a former Ithaca Bomber (football) from ‘09-‘12 with a B.S. in Clinical Exercise Science. He is a father to Stella and Gunnar with wife Kristina. 

Media Handles




Dylan Brickner, CFSC

Strength & Conditioning: A Vehicle for Transferable Life Skills

As exercise practitioners, so much of our thought is directed towards the X’s and O’s of training. Being that our profession is built upon the fruits of exercise, optimizing training is really important! Be that as it may, the pursuit to become bigger, faster, stronger, can at times neglect the underlying benefits of psychosocial development also derived from sport. Sport is a lens through which moral maturation is possible. By having a deeper understanding as to how we as exercise practitioners can more fully develop those we work with, the greater lasting impact we can have!


Dylan Brickner has been a member of the Next Level team since his internship in 2018. Upon graduating from SUNY Brockport in 2019, Dylan has gone on to work full time as a certified strength and conditioning coach (CSCS), hold the role of Office Manager at Next Level, and continue to enjoy his love of running and the outdoors.

Media Handles

Instagram: dylanbrickner_


Joe Aratari, CFSC

Roundtable Q&A Happy Hour Special Guest! (Fri 4/22)


Joe Aratari has been a strength and conditioning coach for close to ten years at Next Level Strength & Conditioning. At Next Level, Joe oversees the internship program, staff development as well as our high school strength and conditioning services. Joe primarily coaches high level high school athletes, runs our summer college sports performance program, assists with our professional hockey players and is the head strength coach for the Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacrosse League.


In addition to Next Level, his impressive resume includes his role as the Brighton Central School District (NY) Strength Coach. Prior to Brighton, Joe spent 7 years at Penfield High School and helped develop one of the premier HS S&C programs in the Northeast. Until ‘22 Joe was also the NYS director of High School Strength and Conditioning through the National High School Strength Coach Association. In his efforts, Joe has presented and consulted with hundreds of high school coaches and athletic directors in NY and the country to raise the standard of HS S&C and start programs from scratch.


Joe also is the strength and conditioning coach for 11 Nazareth College (NY) athletic programs. Joe is also the recruiting director and strength and conditioning advisor with the Aces Girls Lacrosse program in western NY. 


Joe has a degree in exercise science and played 4 years of collegiate soccer. 

Media Handles

Twitter- @JoeAratari 

Instagram- @JoeAratari