CSCS for the DPT Student: You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Well, I hope we have answers to your questions about the CSCS.  I just want to thank everyone who answered the survey I posted out on social media to help with material for this blog post.  A number of my colleagues and I have noticed a trend in the interest for the CSCS credential from the NCSA.  I wrote a blog post a while back and you can read that here. There you can learn basic background information on what the CSCS is (unfortunately, some of the links are outdated because the NSCA updated their study materials).  With the recent spike in interest, I’ve decided to update my blog post with a group of fellow PT students who are also CSCS Certified to try and help answer your questions about the CSCS.

An amazing 65+ of you answered the survey so unfortunately I can’t answer everyone’s specific questions.  I had to boil it down to a manageable amount and to ones that were most common. So here it goes!

Here are some statistics from the survey put out:

  • ~ 50/50 male to female ratio
  • ~ 45% played a sport in high school and ~ 45% continued to play in college
  • Participants most commonly identified themselves as 3rd year, new graduates, 2nd years and 1st years in that order
  • Over 90% were interested in specializing in Orthopaedics and/or Sports
  • 38% had no experience training athletes, ~ 25% had less than a year or 1-2 years of experience training athletes

A special thanks to Matt Miller, Sierra Griffin, Regi Bastien, Jennifer Fath, Seth King and Jocelyn Wallace to contributing their knowledge for this blog post!

Questions from the survey:

How much does the test cost?

“It costs $340 as a member of the NSCA and $475 as a non-member.  I highly suggest being a member of the NSCA while you’re still a student to reap the benefits; plus, yearly membership is $65 a year and comes with access to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning as well as discounts to conferences and events by the NSCA.  More information about membership can be found here: and information on the test can be found here:

– Mark Kev, SPT, CSCS

What are the benefits of having the certification?

“You are studying for what is considered the gold standard for training athletes.  It has been so well respected, that the NCAA requires a strength coach working for a school to possess a nationally accredited strength and conditioning certification (  So if you want to train athletes, this is something nice to have in the toolbox.  Besides that, if you’re a member of the NSCA (which you should be), you have access to going to many of the cool conferences and events to meet some of the brightest minds in not only strength and conditioning, but sports medicine as many members of the NSCA are in that field as well from athletic trainers to physical therapists.”

– Mark Kev, SPT, CSCS

“I would like to piggy-back on what Mark mentioned about the NCAA requirement. Beginning August 1, 2015 all strength and conditioning personnel at the NCAA Div I level will be required to possess a nationally accredited certification. To date, the only accepted certifications are the NSCA-CSCS and the CSCCa-SCCC. So if working with college athletes is something that you are interested in pursuing, obtaining one of these certifications is going to be a requirement. (As the legislation currently states)”

– Matt Miller, SPT, CSCS, RSCC, SCCC

Being a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist has a lot of perks. Anyone who is interested in working with athletics would benefit from having this certification. As someone who is interested in sports medicine PT, having a CSCS background shows that you have experience with athletes outside of “having been an athlete in high school”. Also, the NSCA is a very well known association, and a leader in the strength and conditioning industry. Having your CSCS qualifies you not only to be a Strength and Conditioning coach, but a Personal Trainer as well, if interested”

– Sierra Griffin, SPT, CSCS

“For those that want to work as a sports medicine PT, a CSCS certification seems to be becoming the norm for PTs who desire to work with the athletic population. However, I would strongly urge those that are looking outside of the sports medicine realm to pursue the certification as well. I believe the CSCS certification can better prepare you to understand exercise dosage and prescription as well as intensity to continually challenge and progress your patients. This is something that must be applied across all settings of physical therapy and the ultimately goal is to get our patients back to successfully performing functional activities.”

– Jennifer Fath, SPT, MS, CSCS

“While I am definitely a guy that wants to work with as many athletes as possible, I have say that having the CSCS credential has also opened up many other unique non-athlete doors for me. I think that having extra credentials does more than add alphabet soup to the end of your name. It also shows colleagues, employers, referral sources, etc. that you were willing to push a little bit further than you had to with your pursuit of knowledge. For me, this was demonstrated by several graduate research assistant opportunities that initially opened up because of the credential. It also has brought me to a place where I can pursue other/supplementary career pathways, such as the primarily older neurologic personal training clientele that I currently have the pleasure of working with outside of (or perhaps in addition to) wearing my hat as a physical therapist.”

– Seth King, PT, DPT, CSCS (as of August 23rd? not sure what my actual nomenclature is until then…)

“Outside of what everyone else has said, the CSCS gives you a unique perspective on training patients of any population, not just athletes. Not every PT school covers program design and exercise parameters to the depth that studying for the CSCS will take you and earning your CSCS is a way of showing that you’ve taken an extra step to understand the “why” behind exercise prescription. It’s already given me a new perspective on therapeutic exercise that has helped a lot as we begin our musculoskeletal curriculum.”

– Jocelyn Wallace, SPT, CSCS

What is the best way to prepare? What was most difficult?

“The Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning Vol. III is a simply a must-have when preparing for this exam. The exam content is pulled directly from this text. While completing my graduate assistantship at Western Oregon University I made a point to read each chapter three  times prior to moving onto the next. By highlighting pertinent content and rereading the material for a third time, I was able to adequately prepare for the test. Now that is simply a study preference of mine not everyone is going to have that kind of time. However, if you do have the time to carefully review the text, it may be the only resource you are truly going to need. As for most difficult, the practical application component of the exam is not ideal. There are a lot of videos that you are only able to view once, so make sure to be fully engaged because you are not going to be given the option to go back after viewing the question.”

– Matt Miller, SPT, CSCS, RSCC, SCCC

“The Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning Vol. 3 is a must when preparing to take the NSCA CSCS exam. For anyone who does not have a background in Exercise Science or Athletic Training, preparing for this exam can be a little difficult. I recommend start by reading the book in its entirety. This may seem like a lot, but every piece of information is useful. After you’ve at least “skimmed/read” the book, I recommend finding someone who has already purchased, or purchasing your own NSCA Exam prep books. These will give you an idea of what the exam is like. Read each question, answer it, and then once you have completed the exam, determine where you were right or wrong. Each question will tell you what you need to study more in order to be successful at that material. Freshen up on your basic anatomy and physiology. Its important to understand the differences of eccentric and concentric contraction, etc.

I’d say the most difficult part of this exam for me was the exercise physiology. I do great with practical application, but remembering the krebs cycle and at which point are you using aerobic vs anaerobic systems was difficult. So again I say FRESHEN UP ON YOUR ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY.”

– Sierra Griffin SPT, CSCS

“The way I prepared for the exam, was to read the Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning book entirely while highlighting the important parts (at certain points it seemed like I was highlighting entire pages), and then read the book over again while focusing on the highlighted portions to save time. I also highly recommend signing up for the test along with a classmate or friend, so that you have someone to study with and bounce ideas off of. That is what I did, and it makes reading, studying and the entire process a lot more fun. While the questions at the end of each chapter are helpful for studying, I found that the NSCA exam prep questions were a lot more like the real test questions, and I would recommend getting your hands on those. I area that many students that I know who have taken the exam found difficult, was the questions like “If athlete X bench presses 225, squats 250, and power cleans 235, what does he/she need to work on?” While this question may not seem difficult, many students without a sports or weightlifting background had trouble with these types of questions”

-Regi Bastien, SPT, CSCS.

“Totally agree with everything everyone has already said. I would simply add that the most helpful thing for me was to take the practice tests. If they are still an available exam-prep resource through the NSCA, they will definitely be one of the more invaluable tools in your toolbox when getting ready to take the real exam.”

-Seth King PT, DPT, CSCS

“You absolutely have to read the book cover-to-cover. Take practice questions, figure out your weaknesses, then hit those spots in the book again. Understand where an athlete should be on different lifts, tests, etc. I found it helpful to purchase the exercise technique practice questions from the NSCA to practice answering the questions with the videos. Otherwise I used the practice question bundle from

The most difficult part of the exam for me was the nutrition section. As health sciences students, many of us have learned so much conflicting information about nutrition that it was hard to separate the NSCA’s opinion from all the other information in my brain. If I did it over again, I’d definitely spend a little more time understanding that chapter.”

– Jocelyn Wallace, SPT, CSCS

What was the length of time needed to study and take the test? (Given our background-exercise science/physiology)

“You are going to have a tremendous leg up on where I was when I took the exam. While I was amidst a S&C graduate assistantship when I took the CSCS exam, I was also fresh out of undergrad. Fortunately for me I was a Human Performance major so a lot of the content was not all foreign to me. I spent four months studying to take the CSCS, and in reality I probably only needed about half of that time. The content that may be most pertinent to DPT students will be the Program Design, Testing and Eval, Organization/Admin, and Sport Nutrition. The exercise science and kinesiology will more than likely be review, or will require little studying. 2-3 months of daily preparation (1 hour) is likely to suffice. If you don’t have an hour each day to study then obviously your timeframe will be extended accordingly.”

– Matt Miller, SPT, CSCS, RSCC, SCCC

“Given I had a background in Exercise Science, and had just graduated prior to taking the test, all of the information was still fresh in my mind. I studied for roughly 4 months before I took the exam, and during that time I had a full-time job. Unfortunately, you somewhat need to be a square and have some dedication when it comes to studying for the exam, but given this blog is for PT students, I’m sure you understand”

– Sierra Griffin, SPT, CSCS

“My situation was probably a little unique to most. Our program offers a one-week optional course where we attended class from 8-5, Monday through Friday, to help us prepare for the exam. We went through exercises, practice quizzes/tests, and videos in preparation for the exam. Following the one week course, I studied over the weekend and the following Monday before taking the exam the Tuesday after completing the one week course. The best thing to do if you are truly interested in obtaining the certification is to schedule the exam. That will certainly motivate you to study for it because no one likes to waste money.”

– Jennifer Fath, SPT, MS, CSCS

“I had just taken an exercise physiology course prior to preparing for the exam, so I had an advantage on that part of the exam. Being a PT student, I was also able to skip studying anatomy (there are anatomy recall type questions on the exam). With that said, I studied for approximately 4 weeks for a few hours a day. The week prior, I picked up studying more, went through all the practice questions I had access to once more, and drilled my weaknesses (the sprinting technique chapter was a big one, for me).

– Jocelyn Wallace, SPT, CSCS

Are there good practice tests similar to the actual test?

“The NSCA provides a handful of practice exams at an additional cost. The most pertinent being the Scientific Foundations Practice Questions ($75) and the Practical/Applied Practice Questions ($115). They also offer more specific sample questions (which were not an option when I took the exam) including Nutrition ($20); Exercise Technique ($50); Program Design ($40); Testing & Eval ($20); Organization/Administration ($15). However I can not speak to the value of these. The two aforementioned practice tests are certainly helpful, yet not entirely necessary study materials. While they were a useful tool to determine areas in need of attention, at a combined total of $190, I would not recommend purchasing them. “

– Matt Miller, SPT, CSCS, RSCC, SCCC

“Like Matt said there are definitely practice tests out there that are similar to the actual test itself. I was fortunate because the professor that taught our one-week course had access to the NSCA practice quizzes and exams that he provided us with to help us prepare. I found them to be useful and they did help narrow down the areas I was weaker in. An additional site that I looked into is They offer a chapter-by-chapter summary study guide with 230 practice questions for only $16.99. It may be something worth looking into. I bought it as a last-minute study guide and while the questions were not particularly similar, it can at least direct you to the areas you are weaker in.”

– Jennifer Fath, SPT, MS, CSCS

“I used the questions at the end of the chapters, purchased the exercise technique questions from the NSCA, and used the 230 question bundle from”

– Jocelyn Wallace, SPT, CSCS

They say the “Big 3” for the NPTE are musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and cardiopulmonary. What are the big topics I should be focusing on while I study for the CSCS exam?

“Study your weak points. Every chapter is going to have at least a few questions on the test, so based on your background (Athletic Training, Exercises Science, non-sport background) focus on areas you do not know much about. As you read the book, you will go over chapters that you feel you can skip, and other ones where you may ask yourself “What is going on?” Those chapters I may read 3 or 4 times until I really understand it, and then like I mentioned earlier, study with a friend who hopefully has a different background, and can offer a different perspective.”

– Regi Bastien, SPT, CSCS

“I would definitely say periodization is a big area to study and focus in on especially for the Practice/Applied Section. Nutrition seems to be an area that some people get tricked up on for the Scientific Foundation portion. If you can get access to videos and learn to recognize errors that commonly occur while performing exercises such as plyometrics, stretches, and/or in the administration of athletic performance tests, it would be super beneficial.”

– Jennifer Fath, SPT, MS, CSCS

“Reading the CSCS Exam Guide will give you a very accurate breakdown of what types of questions you can expect to see. Otherwise, I think it really comes down to what your strengths and weaknesses are. For me, it was nutrition, sprinting technique, and plyometrics. If I had to give a general guide of places to really focus on and understand, I’d say program design, exercise technique, and the chapter on testing.”

– Jocelyn Wallace, SPT, CSCS

How many of the tables and charts do we have to memorize from the textbook?

“It is all conceptual, so it is not about memorizing charts per se but being able to understand a concept and then being able to apply it in a particular manner or setting. There are several program design variables that will need to be memorized, but once you develop an understanding of why particular variables are conducive to generating a particular set of adaptations it is not so much about memorization as it is application. If that makes any sense.”

-Matt Miller, SPT, CSCS, RSCC, SCCC

“Agree. This is also true of the NPTE. Understanding and being able to apply concepts is what will carry you in these exams.”

– Seth King PT, DPT, CSCS

“While I agree that it all boils down to concepts, I think there are certain facts & figures that require memorizing. Aerobic interval ratios, energy systems as they relate to interval training, sport season program design parameters, training priorities by season, the 1RM percentage chart, volume assignments, and bioenergetic limiting factors are all tables I have saved from the book. I feel like knowing these tables, along with general norms for different lifts and tests specific to certain athletes, helped me a lot in taking the exam.”

– Jocelyn Wallace, SPT, CSCS

What type of questions could I expect on the test and how detailed are they?

“Everyone always asks, what about the nutrition questions? Questions may be worded such as: Sierra is a collegiate div 1 cross country runner who eats 100g Carbs, 75g Protein, and 20g of Fat per day. What is Sierra’s Total Caloric intake for the day? So you would need to be able to translate those numbers into kcals and then add. Also, a follow-up question to that may be: According to Sierra’s daily caloric intake, is she eating sufficient amounts of _________ based on her daily kcal expenditure? Questions like this require you to not only be able to convert g → kcals, but also to know what is sufficient for collegiate cross country athletes and how much they should be eating. Question similar to this can be said for 1RM values of various athletes. David is a baseball player and his 1RM values are as follows: Bench ___, Squat ___, etc etc. What program would you implement for David to better him as an athlete. Being able to take knowledge and apply it is important for this exam.”

– Sierra Griffin, SPT, CSCS

“As Sierra mentioned, being able to take knowledge and apply it to a practical scenario is crucial for this exam. They also love to ask questions about sequencing based on periodization (strength phase vs. power phase, in-season vs. offseason) or even simply looking at the best order to perform exercises in during a weight training session.”
An example of a program design question may be:

“A volleyball player is in a pre-season preparatory period and currently performing a resistance training program at a moderate intensity 4 times per week. Which of the following modifications is MOST appropriate when progressing to an in-season training program?”

  1. Increase intensity, Increase frequency
  2. Decrease intensity, Increase frequency
  3. Increase intensity, Decrease frequency

An example of an exercise science question may be:

“At athlete wants to train the glycolytic and aerobic energy systems. Which of the following rest periods is the MOST appropriate if she performs work intervals of 60 seconds in duration?”

  1. 1 min
  2. 2 min
  3. 3 min

Since I have some sample questions/tests from the NSCA that my professor provided me with, feel free to contact me if you would like me to send some your way at

– Jennifer Fath, SPT, MS, CSCS

How long is the certification good for? Do you have to take the same test to renew the certification?

“The certification is good for as long as you keep your continuing education.  Just as we have to do continuing education to maintain our physical therapy licenses, we have to do the same as a CSCS.  Every couple of years, we’re expected to maintain the latest knowledge in the field of strength of conditioning.  So, no you don’t have to take the same test over the renew your certification, unless you let your certification lapse… then you unfortunately have to take it over again.  More information about recertication can be found here:

-Mark Kev, SPT, CSCS

“Definitely don’t let all of your hard work get flushed away by not recertifying after 3 years. There are several different modes of CEUs that apply to your recertification, including webinars, other certifications (CPR/AED), NSCA-courses, and online journal snippets with quizzes. I will tell you that, for me last year when recertifying, a big portion of my physical therapy curriculum counted as CEUs. How cool is that? It certainly makes sense, doesn’t it? I would even encourage you to look for potential courses which would give you continuing education credit as both a CSCS and a Physical Therapist.”

– Seth King PT, DPT, CSCS

Would you recommend taking the test while in PT school or waiting until after graduation?  When is the best time in the PT school curriculum to take the CSCS?

“Honestly this question can go either way. Personally, I got my CSCS before the start of PT school, but given all I am currently doing is being a student, having the certification is not more beneficial than having to take the CEU’s to keep up with everything. If you’re someone who plans on being a personal trainer or strength coach, while in PT school, I recommend getting it as soon as possible, if not, it may be more cost efficient to wait.”

–  Sierra Griffin, SPT, CSCS

“Personally, I took the test during my Second year of PT school, and it was manageable. Now, based on your  specific program and workload at the time, things may be different for you. I wanted to be able to work as a personal trainer during PT school to gain extra experience in the field and earn some extra money, so I had motivation during a “light” semester to put in some extra hours studying every night. If you are planning on taking it during PT school, try to pick a semester with a lighter workload so that you can commit an hour a night to the CSCS book. I would recommend an hour a night, every night, until you read the book two times over, at least that is what I did. “

– Regi Bastien, SPT, CSCS

“I think that is dependent on how your program is structured. If you have a decent amount of down time or a couple of weeks off in between semesters, I think it is doable to study for the exam diligently and get the certification complete while in PT school. Plus, there is a lot of overlap in the anatomy/physiology portion of the CSCS to what you already learn in PT school. However, I completely understand wanting to take time away from studying and enjoying your break.”

– Jennifer Fath, SPT, MS, CSCS

“I took it during an easier semester right after taking exercise physiology. This kept me from having to study all of the scientific foundations portion over again in depth, which was a big relief. It has also been said to help with clinical placements and gaining research opportunities while still in school (according to professors in my program).”

– Jocelyn Wallace, SPT, CSCS

Are there classes available to learn more hands on applications of knowledge?

“Unfortunately there are no formal classes off the top of my head that allows you to learn more hands on applications for physical therapy students.  There are a couple of options to accomplish this:”

  • If you’re a exercise physiology/kinesiology major in undergrad, you can possibly be an intern strength coach as part of your curriculum
  • You can volunteer to be a strength intern or shadow one at your school or a private facility
  • Or find a mentor”

– Mark Kev, SPT, CSCS

“Not that I know of specifically for CSCS preparation. That being said, volunteering your time with any good strength and conditioning coach would be a good place to start. Past that, it’s always a good idea to make your body an experiment with your gym or garage as the laboratory. “

– Seth King PT, DPT, CSCS

Does this give you any sort of advantage when applying for a physical therapy job?

“Honestly, probably not.  There were many threads on social media asking that very question.  From the majority of answers that I saw (many of whom were employers) said no.  What makes a potential employee stand out, credential wise, was a specialization from the ABPTS such as the PCS, OCS, SCS etc.  Those have much more weight than the CSCS.  The CSCS might have a little weight depending on where you’re applying and how much experience you have.”

– Mark Kev, SPT, CSCS

“I agree with Mark. At the end of the day, this certification probably does not give you a big advantage. Personally for me, I am pursuing a sports residency following my graduation in May 2016. I feel it would be more of a disadvantage for me not to have this as I apply to residency programs as opposed to an advantage to have it simply due to the fact that is becoming a rather common certification for PTs, particularly sport PTs, to have.”

– Jennifer Fath, SPT, MS, CSCS

“I think everything you can do to show you are willing to go above and beyond to learn as much as you can will help set you apart from other applicants. While the CSCS itself might not give you a direct advantage, it is part of that puzzle.”

– Jocelyn Wallace, SPT, CSCS

Any last comments or words of wisdom for PT students seeking to earn the CSCS credential?

“I would like to make a quick study material recommendation. ‘Designing Resistance Training Programs Vol. IV’ by Fleck and Kramer is currently my favorite text pertaining to the development and implementation of resistance training programs. While this text is not a necessary resource to pass the CSCS exam, it is a great resource for all strength coaches looking to improve their program design skillset.  Best of luck to you all! I am more than happy to answer any additional questions ( and I hope that I was even remotely helpful.”

– Matt Miller, SPT, CSCS, RSCC, SCCC

“A lot of people I talk to seem to see the CSCS as something that’s being forced on them, like another task they have to tackle to be competitive. I want to urge people considering the test not to view it that way. Being a part of the strength and conditioning community will give you unique knowledge and access to many concepts that will help make you a better clinician and provide better care to your patients. Try not to lose touch with that bigger picture and always strive to learn for the sake of bettering your education.”

– Jocelyn Wallace, SPT, CSCS

About the Contributors

Matt Miller

Hi all, my name is Matt Miller. I am a first year physical therapy student at the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA. Prior to PT school I served on staff as a S&C coach at Western Oregon University, and at my alma mater Weber State University before that. I was a 3 year lettermen on the football team at Weber State and received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Performance. Go Wildcats! In addition to obtaining my CSCS certification, I am a Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach (RSCC) through the NSCA, and a Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified (SCCC) through the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.

Feel free to reach me by email with any questions.

Sierra Griffin

Hello Everyone! My name is Sierra Griffin and I am currently going into my second year as a physical therapy student at Florida Gulf Coast University. I completed my undergraduate education also at FGCU as an Exercise Science major and through that curriculum I spent some time working with FGCU Athletics, UF athletics, and Athletic Republic in Germain Arena.

Prior to my entrance into PT school, I took some time off to work as a physical therapy technician and during that time I studied and sat for the NSCA CSCS exam.

If needed, you can contact me by email at:, Best of Luck! Go Eagles! (& I’m a diehard Gator at heart)

Regi Bastien

My name is Regi Bastien, entering my 3rd year as a physical therapy student at Florida Gulf Coast University. I completed my undergrad at the University of South Florida, majoring in Health Sciences and a minor in Public Health.  Since earning my CSCS last November, I have been working at the Campus Gym as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor.

Email me at

Jen Fath

My name is Jennifer Fath and I am a 3rd year physical therapy student at Angelo State University in San Angelo, TX. I completed my undergraduate degree in Sports Medicine at the University of the Pacific, where I competed on the intercollegiate women’s basketball team. Prior to attending PT school, I worked as a Graduate Assistant women’s basketball coach and earned my MS in Kinesiology. Currently, I serve as the Texas SSIG President and as the Core Ambassador for Texas through the APTA Student Assembly. I earned my CSCS certification this past June after a completing a one-week optional course to study for the test through my DPT program. If you have any questions for me, feel free to contact me at

Seth King

Hey guys. My name is Seth King and I’m a 3rd year, final semester PT student at University of MIchigan-Flint. I just passed the NPTE and will soon be working in outpatient orthopaedics, as well as doing some private pay training and consulting on the side. My Bachelor’s Degree is in Health & Exercise Science from Spring Arbor University. I earned my CSCS credential back in 2011, prior to starting the DPT curriculum, and it has been an incredible journey since then! I’ve worked as a personal trainer within several different capacities in the past 5 years, ranging from leading a group exercise class to older adults with severe Dementia to High School athletes with NCAA scholarship aspirations. My biggest claim to fame is unashamedly my darling 3 year old daughter, who both kept my wife and I awake at night during the toughest semesters of PT school and motivated me to press on. I’d love to connect and answer any questions at all; just shoot me an email at . Go Blue!

Jocelyn Wallace

My name is Jocelyn Wallace and I am a 2nd year physical therapy student at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I earned a B.S. in Environmental Science at the University of South Florida and spent a few years working as a civil litigation paralegal prior to physical therapy school. I earned my CSCS in the Winter of my first year and it has already been an invaluable addition to my education.
If you have any questions you can contact me at


3 thoughts on “CSCS for the DPT Student: You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

  1. Hello,

    It’s great to read all of the comments posted in support of taking the CSCS exam. While the post is just over a year old, but still accessible, I’d love to see it updated with the inclusion of the following: A 4th edition of the Essentials text and a 3rd edition fo the Exercise Technique manual are now available inclusive of videos showing correct form and the most common errors. It is also important to stress that the exam is not based on the textbook as identified in one of the posts; it is based on the profession and evidence-based research. Both change more quickly than the text and 2 years of course work in exercise science cannot be incorporated into one book. The NSCA is now focused on providing more support for those seeking to certify and developing more products in response. If you have any questions, as the Exam Preparation Manager for the NSCA, I’d be happy to help. Kathryn Russell MS, MBTC, ATC, CSCS (

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