Book Preview Video

Posted by on Jun 10, 2014 in Anatomy, Book, Exam Preparation | 0 comments

Hey guys –

I must admit, it’s a little weird shooting video of myself talking into a video camera. It took a little bit of courage to put this out on the internet, it feels personal and risky. But at the same time I hope to give you guys a little bit of an idea of the stuff in my book as well as alleviate any fears you have in buying my book….if you don’t like it you can get a full refund.

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Exam Study Strategy – Honesty! Honestly?

Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Anatomy, Study Strategy | 6 comments

Today after answering a few reader questions, I was thinking about what attributes make a person a successful test taker.  Some of these attributes may strike you as pretty obvious.  A test taker needs to exhibit or spend the following things to be successful.

  • Time – to study
  • Effort – Not just reading and letting the words slip past your brain while you study
  • Intelligence – The ability to grasp complicated concepts

Throughout school I met plenty of people who had all three of these things and still did poorly on test day.



I’m talking about being honest with yourself.  This is a different kind of honesty than just always telling the truth to other people, because being honest with yourself can be quite hard.  Let me give you an example:

I spent a good deal of time covering levers. But levers are simple right?  FLE123, boom. Done. How can that be hard?

Well for many it might be that simple, but when I sat down with the practice exams and started getting lever questions wrong…I had to stop and think. I had just learned a lot of anatomy, and so I started to overthink things.  Instead of a biceps curl being a first class lever, I started thinking everything was a third class lever because I was arguing (with myself) that the applied effort was where the muscle inserted and thus, applied its force to the bone. So for a biceps curl I was arguing effort was on the forearm, load at the hand, and fulcrum at the elbow – making it a third class lever (E in the center, third class).

But it’s not where the effort is applied, it’s NOT where the insertion is.  The ‘E’ in effort stands for where the force is generated, in this case the belly of the biceps muscle. My first run in with this topic had me thinking it was easy for me, but I was glossing over some details that tripped me up later. I had to have the conversation with myself and hash out where I was confused, but in the end I understood it more completely than ever.

So be honest with yourself, don’t gloss over things and say “I got that” when you really don’t.

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Anatomy, a Glossed Over Topic in the NSCA Book

Posted by on Oct 7, 2013 in Anatomy, Exam Preparation | 0 comments

Let’s be honest, the CSCS as a credential is designed for people who have a related degree in the field.

Sure, like me, you can have a completely unrelated degree (Electrical Engineering in my case) and probably get by if you’re smart, study a lot, and perhaps most importantly have a good studying strategy.  I think a big topic that is assumed to be known is anatomy.

Let me give an example.  I came across a question today that I knew wasn’t really covered in the NSCA book, but I happened to know because I’m studying for a lot of different certifications and qualifications right now, and I happened to cover it in another one.

The question was essentially: (I have re-worded it because copying any of the NSCA material verbatim is a violation of copyright)

  1. Lifting capability for the leg (knee) extension exercise is affected by the angle of the hip joint….

I’m going to stop right there, because the rest of the question doesn’t really add anything.  At this point in the question, I already knew where they were getting, because I had just spent dozens of hours over the past 6 weeks studying anatomy of the lower body, muscles, insertions, and origins.  I never would’ve gotten this with the NSCA book alone.

Knowing about quads and hamstrings isn’t enough…

Knowing that the quads extend the knee and the hamstrings flex the knee, won’t be enough to answer the question.  To get this question or ones like it, you need to know a little more detail about the four muscles that comprise the quads:

Read these four wikipedia articles on the quads:

The key here is that there is only one muscle that crosses both the hip joint and the knee, the Rectus Femoris.  Because it crosses the hip joint, the angle that your hip is at will affect how long the muscle is and thus it’s force production and activation.

If you do not have a degree in a related field….




I don’t have any particularly great recommendations in this area, so look around and google for some recommendations.  If anyone has any recommendations let me know and I’ll put it up on the blog for others to see.

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