## Reader Question – Isokinetic CSCS Exam Questions

Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in Reader Question | 2 comments

When somebody buys my book, I always send them an email from my personal account telling them they should feel free to ask me any questions they might have. Yesterday I had a great question from one that I wanted to share with you guys. A fair number of people write to me after having not passed one of the portions – so I felt this was relevant.

I took the CSCS exam in July and failed unfortunately. I didn’t fail by much, but before I take the exam again, I want to master everything and not leave it up to hoping that I get a few more questions that are more up my alley.
I messed up on the Scientific Foundations and was significantly under-prepared for that. I figured my 2 years working as a trainer would be enough (along with just reading through the chapters), but it was not.
I failed the Exercise Science and Programming Section by just a few points, much to my surprise. I felt very comfortable with the content, and breezed through the section, but I believe my failing was due to messing up/confusing the  order of exercises when testing vs. when having athletes work out.
The book, if I’m not mistaken, admits there is some leeway with order when administering evaluations, but in general, on p. 245 they list the accepted order. It just wasn’t entirely clear to me what the safest administration order is, and when you get a question where they give you a scenario, you can find two answers that are very similar and it’s hard to distinguish.
I also got tied up on some of their anatomy questions.
(side note, here’s my question for you: they use the term “isokinetic” quite a bit in the book, and on my test, but the book never EXPLICITLY defines it, as far as I could find. It seems it means “constant speed” in relation to exercises, but I had a number of questions on my exam that used the term and it didn’t always seem like “constant speed” was relevant)
Anyway, any insight you can share would be appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read this if you do.
My Response:
This happens fairly often in my experience, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Your second go around you have the right attitude for passing – mastery is the way to go. Going for “good enough” often results in failing by a small margin.
The isokinetic questions are there as a way to trip up people who don’t pay attention to details. Iso is a greek root for constant, kinetic is movement. So isokinetic is constant speed. There is no practical use for isokinetics – it’s purely a scientific exercise to find out more about muscles. You need a special device to do isokinetic testing, a device that can control the speed and adjust versus force output.
There’s a funny looking graph in the book that most people don’t understand on page 78. It tells us a lot about eccentric, concentric, extensors, and flexors and their relative strength under those different contractions. For example, flexors under an eccentric load are the strongest, especially at around -90deg/s.
Little niche topics like these are extremely important in the exam. They don’t take up a lot of space in the book, but they are confusing and frustrating. They take a lot more time to study. Spend a a lot of time on these topics and really get them down, because as you can tell the NSCA likes to get you on these. Commit that graph on page 78 to memory, be able to draw it on your scratch paper come exam day.
I want to stress the need to strive for mastery, in all topics of the CSCS exam. Blowing sections off or glossing over parts that seem irrelevant is a quick way to burn some of your time and money not passing a section.
Always, always, always – I recommend at a bare minimum you should do the following in preparation:
-Do all 3 official NSCA practice exams
-Do every review question in the book twice
That’s how I did it. My book and other similar resources are supplemental.

## I’m a CSCS – Now What?

Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in FAQs, Personal | 1 comment

### “What are you doing now that you have your CSCS?”

If I was in there shoes, I would want to know too. Taking the CSCS is a lot of work, and before you begin such an undertaking you should consider whether or not it would be worth it.

At the start of all our journeys to become a CSCS – we are all in different places. Some (like me) are switching careers and are looking for a way to establish ourselves as knowledgeable when it comes to strength and conditioning. Some of us need the certification in order to be employed as an S&C coach for the military, NCAA, or similar places of employment. Some, like Ryan Grella of cscstestprep.com are physical therapists and being a CSCS just makes sense for your job and career.

### The Transition

As I continued to get bodywork for my various ailments, I continued to ask questions about his techniques. It dawned on me that a happy, healthy, and fulfilling living could be had doing this work. Tired and bored of my desk job – i took the plunge. I quit, and lined up all of the following activities

• Massage School
• Active Release Techniques (lower, spine, upper) courses
• Finishing my CSCS + writing on this blog + finishing the book
• Neurokinetic Therapy

### Fast forward to the present day

I’m working in a room right next to my mentor, Thomas Wells. Working on building my business and honing my techniques. Every day is different. Every client is different. Some cases baffle me, others are straightforward. The work is extremely fulfilling.

But at the same time it’s stressful. Learning how to run your own business is a challenge. You never really have “time off” – because you’re working for yourself. There’s always more to do. Learning how to cope with this is the major challenge. But that’s the point – i’m being challenged and growing.

### Would I do it all again?

Absolutely.
My CSCS certificate sits on my wall right next my ART Full body certification. It reminds me that I am an expert on strength and conditioning. Even though it is just a piece of paper, it boosts my self confidence – and in any service based business self confidence is key.

It also tells the client that when I assign them a corrective exercise for their ailment, that exercise is being chosen by someone knowledgeable.

I haven’t written on here in a while, and that’s mostly because i’m very busy. I’m working on my business website www.juliancorwin.com. It’s all a work in progress

## The CSCS Exam – Math Questions (Answer)

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014 in Exam Preparation, Practice Questions | 1 comment

See my previous post for background. Note that I did edit that post on 6/21.

The question is:

The collegiate training center is currently undergoing renovations and all 6 teams of 124 athletes need to share a smaller facility. You modify the facility arrangement to fit slightly more power racks – for a total of 7. The athletic director insists on every athlete maintaining their 1 hour of strength training. The training center is open 8 hours, but every athlete is pairing up and sharing racks operating at a 1:1 work:rest ratio. However, since you are using power racks assume that racking and re-racking weights will cause a 15% drop in efficiency in rack use.
The athletic director asks if you figured out a plan for the athletes, what do you tell him?

I. We can’t accommodate the athletes
II. We can accommodate the athletes
III. We need the facility open 1 more hour
IV. We need the facility open 4 more hours

A. II only
B. I only
C. II and III
D. II and IV

In questions like these, I like to think of it in terms of needs and resources

## Needs

By needs I simply mean how many resources are required to get the task done. We have 6 teams and 124 athletes, but in this case we aren’t given any scheduling or segregation requirements between the teams – so the number 6 is irrelevant. Each athlete requires 1 hour of strength training, but will be pairing up and operating at 1:1 work:rest ratio. So in terms of time at the station they will only really need 30 minutes. However due to the 15% loss in efficiency due to racking and re-racking weights, each athlete will need closer to 35minutes. Multiply this number by 124 athletes and you get the total number of rack-minutes you need.

What my scratch paper might look like on exam day

## Resources

The training center is open 8 hours, with 7 racks.

8 hours x 60min/1hour x 7 racks = 3360 rack-minutes. Notice again I like to keep descriptive “made up” units to describe the resources available. Rack-minutes are a resource just like any material resource that we use math to describe (8 six packs x 6beers/six pack = 48 beers, etc).

A quick comparison of our needs vs resources reveals 4340 – 3360 = 980 that we are still in need of 980 minutes of platform-minutes. If we look at the possible answers to the question, we can go back and calculate which option yields us the best answer.

1 additional hour gets us 1 hour x 60min x 7 stations = 420 minutes
4 additional hours gets us another 1680 minutes

More scribbles

See from the math that we really only need 980 extra minutes, somewhere between 2 and 3 hours. However since 3 hours isn’t an option, the correct answer is the one that BEST meets the objectives in question – 1 hour isn’t enough, and even though 4 hours is overkill – it’s the only answer that meets our needs. So the answer is D.

We can accommodate the athletes and
We need the facility open an additional four hours

## The CSCS Exam – Math Questions

Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Exam Preparation | 0 comments

### You don’t need to know differential equations to pass the CSCS exam

$i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial t}\left|\Psi(t)\right>=H\left|\Psi(t)\right>$

But having taken it wouldn’t hurt you, because in order to do well in higher level math like differential equations your basic algebra has to be rock solid. I know, mine is – and it’s a result of every EE class being essentially applied algebra and calculus. Yours would be too if you used it intensely for every major class you took.

If I missed a math question on the CSCS exam, it wasn’t due to my poor math skills – but due to an incorrect assumption or remembering something incorrectly.

This is where I can help you – don’t miss a question because you suck at basic math.

### What Kind of Math is on the CSCS Exam?

Sometimes on the exam or in the practice materials we will get a question that seems like it needs a lot of math. And often times it does, but we’re not talking differential equations or calculus here – just some pretty basic algebra and careful interpretation of the wording of the question.

I want to talk briefly about a thing called dimensional analysis. This is a skill that you have to be totally comfortable with to get anywhere in a science-based field. As an engineer I had to deal with all kinds of units, conversions, constants with crazy units – and this helped me in unexpected ways when it came to math questions on the CSCS exam, and even more so in life in general.

My advice here is to keep track of your units, and even make up units as you do your math. Make up units that are descriptive of the things they are calculated from. Much like force is described as a “kilogram-meter per second squared”

$F=ma=\frac{kg m}{s^2}$

Basically it helps to keep track of units, because as you are multiplying things out and dividing and moving units around – you may suddenly realize (based on the units) what you are dealing with. This can help in kind of unexpected ways, conceptually speaking.

Let me show you what I mean with a question I made up. Take note that this question is harder than ones you would find on the CSCS exam. I believe having skills higher than those required on the exam is helpful in that it makes your skill level sufficient that your performance can take a hit due to nervousness, and you can still perform well enough to pass.

The collegiate training center is currently undergoing renovations and all 6 teams of 124 athletes need to share a smaller facility. You modify the facility arrangement to fit slightly more power racks – for a total of 7. The athletic director insists on every athlete maintaining their 1 hour of strength training. The training center is open 8 hours, but every athlete is pairing up and sharing racks operating at a 1:1 work:rest ratio. However, since you are using power racks assume that racking and re-racking weights will cause a 15% drop in efficiency in rack use.
The athletic director asks if you figured out a plan for the athletes, what do you tell him?

I. We can’t accommodate the athletes
II. We can accommodate the athletes
III. We need the facility open 1 more hour
IV. We need the facility open 4 more hours

A. II only
B. I only
C. II and III
D. II and IV

Part of the trick to these questions is interpreting the wording into math. I like to think of this type of question in terms of resources and needs, then interpret those things into math.

Stay tuned for my next post to see the answer.

## Lean Mass is 2500kcal per pound, NOT 3500kcal

Posted by on Jun 13, 2014 in Exercise Science, Review Topics | 0 comments

I had a discussion with a few people on the facebook study group page recently.

There is a lot of confusion surrounding this concept, and it’s because it isn’t highlighted very well in the book. In the very first paragraph on the top of page 224 it talks about the kcal requirements of lean mass being 2500kcal/lb, not the usual 3500kcal/lb. This has profound implications for many of the exercise science questions – I suggest you commit this fact to memory.

### This distinction tripped me up for the longest time….

Due to me being at least a little bit OCD about understanding concepts and being honest with myself about what I know vs. don’t know, I had a question on a practice exam that I could not get the right answer to. I’m good at math – my numbers were right, they just weren’t coming up with the right answer. Convinced that the question itself couldn’t be wrong – I went back and re-read the question carefully….

“…assume all of the weight gained will be lean mass” — hrmm, I wonder why they would point this out? MAYBE LEAN MASS HAS A DIFFERENT REQUIREMENT…at least according to the NSCA.

So I pored back over chapter 10 and finally found it, unbolded, unhighlighted, hanging out inconspicuously on the aforementioned page 224.

According to the NSCA: