Voyage LA Magazine Article: Meet Junior Amazan of Kinetic Precision (Click Here)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Junior Amazan.

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Junior, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I believe that within every person lies a great athlete. The question becomes how do we pull the athlete out?

The passion for what I do started as a high school multi-sport athlete in Uniondale, NY. At the time, I didn’t realize the struggle that I was facing was the same struggle a lot of other young high school athletes were facing as well. I had a thirst to improve but it seemed as though the only answer to my questions about how to get better was to “push harder.” So, I did.

Back in my high school days, a normal strength and conditioning program could more or less be considered a bench press competition. My district didn’t have the budget to provide us the type of program that we needed, nor did they see a need for one. When I reached the colligate level of NCAA wrestling at Ithaca College, their program was quite overwhelming as a freshman. I didn’t feel as prepared as some of the other athletes did; I didn’t feel knowledgeable enough to use and benefit from the resources that were suddenly available to me.

After arriving at Ithaca College, I quickly realized what my plan would be. Instead of asking my coaches about how to improve my own sports performance, I would hunt down the answers myself. I would make sure that I could come back to the community and share that new knowledge with kids like me; kids who want to get better but just don’t know how. I would make sure that every kid was fully prepared to benefit from the resources available at the collegiate level and beyond, and that they were not overwhelmed by all the complexities that come with being an elite athlete. I graduated Ithaca College with my degree in Sport and Exercise Science w/ Medical Emphasis and with that the idea of Kinetic Precision was born.

Knowledge is power, and since my time at Ithaca College I’ve never stopped my pursuit of knowledge in the sports performance field. In order to present the type of company that I know Kinetic Precision can be I’ve made it my mission to chase the most cutting-edge sports performance methodologies that are out there today. Expanding my network of specialists and coaches has opened the door for me to continue my education and to gain invaluable hands-on experience in the field. All of this has helped me to mold Kinetic Precision into what it is today.

Through KP, I’ve been able to help athletes all over Southern California. We send our athletes up to the collegiate level, ready to take on the rigorous work ahead of them. Kinetic Precision is a culmination of my experiences and education growing up in sports. I’m determined to continue to develop KP as a means of helping every athlete shine.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think every journey worth taking will present obstacles along the way. Every struggle that I have gone through has led me to where I am today. If it weren’t for my experiences, I wouldn’t be able to present the quality of service that Kinetic Precision offers.

An early obstacle that I confronted in Los Angeles was the abundance of trainers. In the early years, even through today, I have to continuously find ways to separate Kinetic Precision from every other training service available in the area. That is why I spend so much time developing my programs, to ensure the highest quality and efficiency in our training sessions, above and beyond what other training services in the area offer.

Getting word out about Kinetic Precision is another obstacle that surfaced in the beginning and is something I’m still working on today. Social media gives me a platform to scream from and a way to work through this obstacle. Through networks like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, I am able to reach people that I couldn’t get to before. I give athletes, along with their coaches and parents, a glimpse into what we do in our programs and what it’s like to be a part of our KP family.

All in all, each obstacle that I battle leads me to build fortified systems around my brand, making Kinetic Precision’s foundation stronger, wider, and more focused than ever before.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Kinetic Precision – what should we know?
Kinetic Precision is a sports performance program that helps athletes of all levels and backgrounds reach their goals. We look to give every kid an opportunity to reach greatness. We develop long-term programs that will help our athletes to grow, not just in season but also year-round. We train athletes from a variety of different sports backgrounds including football, basketball, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, soccer, and more.

Our beginner programs are focused on building the right foundation for our young athletes. This program combines elements of movement preparation and patterning. We teach our athletes to train in ways that make them better at moving in their given sport, while keeping them healthy and active. We implement injury prevention strategies backed by experts like Grey Cook DPT in the physical therapy field. These strategies keep our athletes in the field of play and out of the athletic training office.

Our more advanced athletes dive deeper into power development and speed/agility training. We keep in mind the movement portfolio of each specific sport and prepare personalized schemes to get our athletes to reach their highest levels.

We recognize that sports performance goes well past what you do in the gym, so we educate our athletes in a variety of other areas that they can utilize to improve their overall outcome. The first area of education we focus on is nutrition. Putting the right fuel in your body is a constant message our athletes get from us. The second is recovery. We recommend recovery strategies that will help the body regenerate and refuel for the next competition or practice. These strategies may include things like yoga, massage/self-myofacial release, meditation and more.

Here at Kinetic Precision, our unique specialty lies in wrestling development. Having competed and coached wrestling for most of my life, I have firsthand knowledge of the needs and demands of the sport, and an intense passion for what the sport can do for young student athletes. Kinetic Precision: Wrestling Academy bridges the gap between the sport of wrestling and the wider world of strength and conditioning. We use unique energy system development techniques, in combination with wrestling specific movements to prepare our wrestlers to compete at elite levels. While power and speed plays a large roll in our program, we put emphasis on other elements like recovery strategies, mental preparation, and nutritional behaviors — processes that are vital and especially unique to this sport.

I’ve worked hard to establish KP: Wrestling Academy as a competitive club, one that that includes both Youth (under 14) and Elite (14+) teams that travel to compete in high level tournaments year-round. Wrestlers from all over So Cal have joined our academy and have reaped the benefits from our program, including gaining exposure to college coaches and working through experiences that they’ll carry with them forever.

As a company, we are the most proud of our athletes. They say we get a kick out of seeing them struggle through a tough day of training, but really, it’s not the training that puts a smile on our faces, it’s watching their journey. As coaches and mentors, we ask that they have faith and trust in our system. We push them to their limits, thinking that they’ll have nothing left and they always prove us wrong. We give them tasks that are nearly impossible and every time they come back a little closer than before. We smile knowing that one day they will reach the impossible. And even though day to day it may physically hurt, they will eventually see how great their journey has been and they will smile too. These athletes give us everything they have and for that we are thankful and proud.

Through my experiences I have learned that all great strength and conditioning programs contain certain specific components. In those terms, Kinetic Precision is similar. We offer structure and organized progress like many other strength and conditioning programs, we can track progress and also tell you when you need to step it up.

What’s different about Kinetic Precision is that we account for the larger picture. Not only do we game plan for a good season, but we also game plan to enjoy a great career. We refuse to run around our athletes’ questions. Instead we provide access to a pool of knowledge shared by nutritionists, sports psychologists, physical therapists, massage therapists and more. To prepare our athletes for the future we not only provide a well thought out strength and conditioning program, but we provide a wider network that helps our athletes close the training loop that consists of Strength and Conditioning, Nutrition and Regeneration. We give them all the answers and resources they need to improve their performance.

Based on my own experiences growing up as an athlete, I’ve positioned KP’s marketing approach and price points to be different from the norm. Most programs of this kind either selectively choose elite level prospects to participate, or they cost way more than the average athlete can afford without assistance. We give athletes of all calibers an opportunity to experience our program, at a price that allows them to participate long-term.

We develop not only great competitors but also great people who work hard for their dreams. Why leave any kid behind? Why deny them the opportunity to achieve greatness? By providing structure and organization, we change lives.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
There are two qualities that drive me closer to reaching my goals with Kinetic Precision. The first is passion – for sports, for the kids, for the science, for the brand. Obviously, we all strive to be financially fit, but if you are a coach, that won’t get you far. My payout isn’t a paycheck, money isn’t the prize I strive for – I strive for the chance to really help a kid change everything. The look on their face when they reach their ultimate goal is my ultimate currency. The moment they realize all the hard work was worth it, that’s why I do what I do.

The second quality is patience. Would you rather your house be built in ten minutes or ten months? In order to be effective in changing lives, I work hard to build a program that emerges from strong foundations, and we all know that strong foundations take time. Though I am still in the early stages of this journey, I have already learned so much that has allowed me to strengthen KP’s foundation. Through hard work, patience and determination, I know that foundation will only get stronger. I will continue to provide quality guidance for my athletes – I know that our journey and success as a company will mimic theirs. As our athletes grow and reach our goals, so will we.

 

Is Crossfit to Blame?

In our line of work the geography is ever changing. We are constantly noticing changes in methodology and philosophy, sometimes even in technical skill. It is our job as coaches to stay on top of this continually shifting terrain. 

 

One of the newer trends that we are recently going through is Crossfit. Crossfit, unfortunately has been given the bad guy roll. While it does have its downs, Crossfit is not evil and it is unfair to label it as so. Crossfit has started a trend that can not be undone. As strength and conditioning coaches we push ourselves to find new and better ways to get quicker results. Crossfit has challenged the traditional program method and has completely flipped the true meaning of intensity and focus on its head.

They are able to push an athletes intensity and will to new heights. It challenges the durability of each athlete with a large emphasis on form and technique. In fact, under their guidelines, if certain markers are not met within the biomechanics of a repetition than that repetition does not count. 

 

If you have ever looked at some of the major Crossfit movement patterns you will find that there is a high rep count and varying load. We believe that Crossfit has found a way to optimize the most important variable in training; intensity. By using competition, you can push someone further then they could have gotten on their own. This gets the intensity up to the optimal zone to facilitate change in the body. We can almost ensure that each athletes intensity will be up to where it needs to be in order to hit specific performance goals. 

 

Longevity and injury prevention are the major issues that Crossfit faces. How long can a person do Crossfit without over stressing the body? Can Crossfit be used to fix potential movement patterning issues that an individual athlete may have? Unfortunately with Crossfit, these are not the primary goals of programming. It has opened our minds to a different type of programming but still needs some work in the field of longevity. 

 

Before we fault Crossfit, we need to understand who would fully benefit from this type of program and how to actually implement the program. Based off the movement technique requirements and the intensity needs, it seems that athletes would benefit the most from this type of training. They have the strength and experience to be able to move safely and efficiently. They would be able to handle the load and rep schemes. Most serious athletes have gone through some type of periodized program. Strength and conditioning coaches call it pre-season, post-season and in-season training. Each program has a different focus and goal. If an athlete does not have the knowledge to be able to develop a personalized program for themselves, Crossfit would be a perfect alternative. It forces the athlete to push themselves all while increasing the competition element (Crossfit Games). 

 

Still, even for athletes of a high caliber, we understand that this type of intensity is not sustainable. This is not a fault of Crossfit, but our own. For example, nutrition is a variable that most people struggle with. The problem is not always what we eat but how much of it we're eating. Many people have been told red meat is bad for you and to stay away from it. In response we see many people eliminating red meat from their diets completely. Some even go as far as removing all meats from their nutrition. Ice cream is another example. Apparently we are suppose to avoid ice cream at all cost! One taste and you may not make it to see tomorrow! On the other end of the spectrum you'll find things like supplements. Supplements like protein are thought of as a "healthy" thing to implement into your diet. So what people did was replace meals with this protein supplementation. This obviously is something that we do not suggest. There are lots of vitamins and minerals that you miss out on by doing this and the effects can lead to serious complications. 

 

The major lesson here is moderation. There is a time and a place for everything. Like these nutritional examples, Crossfit is also being looked at wrong. Crossfit is not bad for your health. In fact, in people who meet the movement requirements, you can notice a huge increase in strength, power and endurance both muscularly and cardiovascular. You can even see huge ascetic changes in body composition and muscle girth. The reasons most people run into trouble is:

 

1) Just being your best friend, who is an above average athlete, is doing Crossfit and seeing good results doesn't mean that you are now ready to get off the couch and start Overhead Snatching. There are movement patterning protocols that you must first follow to ensure you are not going through potential threatening movements. 

 

2) Even if you are a high caliber athlete this type of intensity can not and should not be maintained through out the whole coarse of a year. We consider this overtraining. This is where even elite athletes run into troubles like torn joints and ruptured discs. 

 

In order to reap the benefits of Crossfit you need to make sure it is not your first step towards getting back in shape. Understand that the movement required in Crossfit are advanced and the intensity is high. If you combine these two element and your body is not prepared for it then something will give. Secondly, if you've got the prerequisite movements down then you must then choose the proper training cycle to place it in. For athletes this may be off-season. By doing Crossfit during the off-season you can push yourself to get stronger and faster. The biggest thing to remember is once that off-season cycle has ended you intensity and focus needs to change. You can not continue to move at the same pace and intensity or your body will let you know through injury and pain.

 

Too often in our field is Crossfit being bashed. It is not Crossfit that is bad, it's the way we utilize that style of programming. The fault is on us. You wouldn't blame the hammer for bending the nail, but the person holding the hammer. 

Functional Movement Screen

            The functional movement screen is now a widely used tool by many strength and conditioning coaches. One of the biggest issues that we focus on here at Kinetic Precision is proper mechanics. We need to make sure we look at the pure movement ability of the athlete. By putting these athletes in semi extreme positions that will force out any compensated movements, we can take a look at the stability and/or mobility at different joints, or of a pattern.

            Grey Cook and Lee Burton, the minds behind the Functional Movement Systems, have developed a screen to allow us coaches to look at injury potential and overall weaknesses in basic movement patterns. In todays post I want to focus on the philosophy of training the movement pattern and not the muscle.

            The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is composed of 7 movement assessments where you we scored based on joint stability and/or mobility. This is a great tool for us pre-programing because it allows us to take into consideration the individuals fundamental movement issues before we layout a game play. We might find that certain issues are made clear given the results of the FMS. For example, rotary stability is a huge component of most sport and life. An individual involved in the sport of wrestling or lacrosse will require a ton of rotary stability in order to be successful at that sport. If we give that athlete a FMS screen and they score a “1” on the rotary stability, I know that this is a component that I must improve before getting to our more complex movement patterns involving rotary stability.

            In training we focus a bit too much on muscles and not enough on movement patterns. I was once told if you can clean up the movement pattern then you can fix the musculature innately. We all have seen various compensations in a squat. If we take a muscular approach there are a million and one different exercises that we can develop and use in order to: strengthen the glutes, adductors and internal rotators of the hip. But why put all of our focus there? Why not just clean up the movement pattern of the squat? If we can clean up the squat technique and reinforce that movement neurologically then we would have fixed the compensation issues and the actual movement itself.

            The FMS is a great tool that we use to assess our athletes. In correcting certain issues we need to make sure we focus on movement patterns before musculature. Clean up the movement pattern and myolinate them in the brain and we can fix most underlying issues. 

Neuromuscular Training

Strength coaches are continuously trying to find and control the variables that can positively affect the programs that they create. We change set/rep schemes, tempo, center of gravity and much more. There are other factors that we sometimes can over look: purpose. On the physiological side, we look to mimic the movements of that sport. The more sport specific you can get in your programing the higher the likelihood that your gains will be translated on the playing field. What about the mental components of the program? What are your athletes thinking about during there big lifts? Is it possible that the things we think about during our work out can effect the muscle activation during a specific movement?

            By training our neuromuscular pathways it is shown that we can fine-tune our muscle recruitment and activation. This helps us as strength and conditioning coaches to bridge the gap between field play and weekly strength and conditioning sessions.

            One technique that I use with a lot of my athletes is visualization. During a big lift (Bench, Squat, Dead Lift, etc.) have your athlete go through the movement with little to no weight but mentally visualize a load that for them might seem completely out of range. Cue them on proper technique and have them go through a smooth range of motion. I have found that squeezing the grip on the bar helps to increase the stability of the movement and also increase the level of visualization in the athlete. You can try playing with different variables like breathing, power or approach, some athletes will respond differently to each element. Repeat this for a set of 10 then immediately go into your lift with weight. What we are doing here is trying to trick the brain. If we can mentally convince the brain into believing that it needs to recruit more fibers in order to complete the movement, when you pick up the weight you can experience a larger recruitment rate and a cleaner lift with more control.

            This also goes hand and hand with sports visualization.  If you look at a movement like the hang/power clean for wrestlers visualization is key. Just like in the sport of wrestling, timing and switching muscle groups on and off is the key to success. By having our athletes visualize a similar technique used in wrestling like a lift into an Olympic throw we can simulate this muscular timing technique in our clean. On the flip side, if our athletes or focused on what they have planned after the session, girl/boy friends or even they’re next meal, the movement tends to fall apart.

            By demanding not only the physical but the mental focus of our athletes, we can begin to bridge the gap between training and sport. Give it a try.