Posts made in June, 2013

CSCS Practice Questions – Program Design Part 2

Posted by on Jun 30, 2013 in Practice Questions, Program Design | 3 comments

First, let’s talk about the last question:

Your athlete recently completed set a 6 rep back squat PR of 285lbs.  However, he recently decided to switch up his training and start preparing for endurance events and you want him to start completing higher volume sets of 15.  What would you predict his 15RM to be?

A.  335lbs B.  215lbs C.  235lbs D.  205lbs

This is a very easy question if you have the table in front of you.  6RM correlates to 85% of 1RM.  So you take 285/0.85 = 335.  15RM is roughly 65% of 1RM, so you take 335 x 0.65 = 215lbs, so the answer is B.

Not very exciting to go over some basic algebra here, so let’s dig into some different techniques to hopefully commit this table to memory.

Here is the table for predicting 1RM:





So there are a few quirks about how humans respond to rep-maxes and loading.  Weird that between the first and the second rep, there is a drop of 5%, and the only other time there is a drop that steep is between rep eleven and rep twelve.


This is the tactic I used to commit this table to memory.  Only memorize the reps that correspond with a drop of 5%.  In this case, it’s 1,2,4,6,8,10,11,15…I didn’t have to look to remember those numbers, and I know between each of those numbers there’s a 5% drop so I can recreate the other column 100,95,90,85,80,75,70,65.


1RM Table Recreation

1RM Table Recreation

Looking back at the original table, you can recreate by filling the rest in by subtracting 3 from the previous number.  So for 5 reps, subtract 3 from 90 and you get 87.  Sometimes it’s 2, but for the purposes of the test you can just use 3 or 2.5 and get close enough.

That’s my trick for remembering the table, hope it helps!

Next Question
An athlete you are training wants to improve his performance on the final leg of a 10km race.  You decide repetition training is appropriate for this.  Which of the following describes repetition training?

I.  work:rest ratio: 1:2
II. frequency: 1x/week
III. intensity: greater than VO2 max
IV. duration: 3-5minutes

Read More

Total Cost of NSCA CSCS Certification

Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 in Exam Preparation | 2 comments

So recently I was running down some numbers for the cost of some of my activities, and I thought that I had put together a piece on the cost of getting your CSCS Certification already, but apparently not.  So here is what I compiled.

[table caption=”CSCS Certification Total Cost” width=”500″ colwidth=”300|100″ colalign=”left|center”]
Membership Costs,$120
CSCS Test, $260-$295
CPR/AED Certification, $50-100
Book (affiliate link), $78
3 Practice Exams + DVD, $85
Total, $595-645


This puts the cost at somewhere north of $600 depending on the cost of your CPR/AED cert, where you get your book and at what price, whether you register for the test early, paper vs. pencil exam, etc. etc.

I’m assuming throughout, that you don’t have a degree in exercise science.  If you do, then you probably don’t need all this material, and in fact you may be able to take the test outright, or with just studying the book some.

You may be able to find a better deal or package, that has more or less study material than the quick list I made above.  Go ahead and check it out for yourself at the NSCA Store.

The other cost
Is of course, time.  One that I have very little of…but if you’re determined to get the cert or make a career change you will find the time.

Read More

CSCS Practice Questions – Program Design Part 1

Posted by on Jun 20, 2013 in Practice Questions, Program Design, Review Topics | 1 comment

Well, the time has come to tackle some Program Design.  It’s frustrating how little time I have to study, and surprising how long one of these posts usually takes.  Each post is easily a 1.5 hour endeavor at the minimum, and possibly up to three hours or more depending on the variety and quantity of diagrams and pictures included.  I hope in the end, putting all these words and diagrams to paper (err, blog) will help me retain the information better, and be useful to others later on.

So now we cover a question that is very similar to a question I missed on the last practice exam I took.  I’m actually glad that I missed this question, because knowing these percentages like the back of your hand is extremely useful.  I have a couple of friends/clients that I write programming for, and when I’m coming up with their next set of workouts it comes in handy.  I might be looking at their last sets, and say the completed 5 sets of 3.  In the interest of varying the volume & intensity, and adding some variability to the workouts I might switch to 3 sets of 5.  When doing this, I want to push them…but not to failure…. so being able to quickly say a 3RM of 270 is an estimated 1RM of 300, puts an estimated 5RM at around 255, means I could easily prescribe 3x5x260 for their next workout and feel comfortable that I’m very gradually and progressively overloading them.

Of course I had to look up those numbers on the 1RM calculator (I won’t link it here so as to not allow you to cheat the next question!) and therein lies the problem.  I haven’t memorized this yet, and I should…and that’s why I missed the question.

Program Design Practice Question 1



Your athlete recently completed set a 6 rep back squat PR of 285lbs.  However, he recently decided to switch up his training and start preparing for endurance events and you want him to start completing higher volume sets of 15.  What would you predict his 15RM to be?
A.  335lbs
B.  215lbs
C.  235lbs
D.  205lbs

Hint: the table for this is on page 394 of the book.


Read More

CSCS Practice Questions – Exercise Technique Part 3

Posted by on Jun 14, 2013 in Exercise Technique, Practice Questions, Review Topics | 0 comments

To answer the last question you first need to know what’s involved in the T-Test.  I gave a hint in the last post by showing this picture:



The T-Test..
is a test of agility.  Four cones are arranged in the above pattern.  The athlete runs from A->B->C->D->B and then returns to B, always facing straight ahead from the stop and touching the base of every cone except on the return to A, in which he/she can run as quickly as possible straight through A.  This requires a forward run from A->B, sideways shuffle from B->C, C->D, and D->B, and running backwards from B->A.

This is where the practice exams sometimes fall short.  For one, you need to know what the T-Test is, and secondly you need to know how to cue and athlete when running forward and laterally by telling them how to hold their head or what objects to focus on.  The practice exam tells you to look on a certain page, but that page may only tell you about one of these two things.

Now that you know what the T-Test is, you just need to know how to give proper cues.  In this case the options were:

I. “Focus your eyes on each cone”
II. “Keep your head in a neutral position”
III. ”Keep your head slightly tilted towards each cone”
IV. “Focus your eyes straight ahead”
A. I and II only
B. II and III only
C. II and IV only
D. III and IV only

Since the T-test requires you face straight ahead the entire time, and there are two correct answers…the only thing that makes sense here is to “keep your head in a neutral position” (because why wouldn’t you put your spine in the best position?) and “Focus your eyes straight ahead” since it will be easier to use your peripheral vision when you’re not facing the direction you are going.

Correct answer: C. II and IV only

For now this wraps up the questions on Exercise Technique, on the practice exams a large part of these questions have a video component…which I have not yet tackled here but I have plans to.

Read More

More Resources for CSCS Exam Studying

Posted by on Jun 3, 2013 in Exam Preparation | 0 comments

One of my readers pointed out a new (to me at least!) resource for studying for the CSCS Exam.  It’s a website called Quizlet.

If you search under CSCS Exam there are quite a few ways to study.  Users can freely contribute by making flashcard sets, quizzes, tests, and tracking of topics to dynamically keep track of what you do and don’t know.  I highly recommend you check it out.

The only potential problem I see with a service like this is quality control with user generated content.  In some of the questions I skimmed through, I found a level of detail that I felt would not be representative of the questions on the test… at least based on my experiences with practice test 1 and practice test 2.

Let me know of any other cool resources you guys find and let me know via whatever method you want via my connect page or email me, julian at cscs exam guide dot com.

Read More