Posts Tagged "Exercise Science"

The Book is Finished!

Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Book, Exam Preparation, Exercise Science, Exercise Technique, Facility Management, Nutrition, Org & Administration, Personal, Program Design, Review Topics | 7 comments

Wow – talk about the biggest project I have ever undertaken. I’m glad to be done, but at the same time I feel like I could’ve kept going… I’ll have to save those thoughts for a later edition.

Book stats:

Page Count: 104 pages
Word Count: 16,663 words
Image/Diagram Count: 56

The Ultimate Guide to the CSCS Exam

 Table of contents preview:

  • Disclaimer
  • Preface
  • About the Author
  • Materials You Will Need
    • Cost Breakdown
    • Exam Breakdown
  • Part 1 – Scientific Foundations
    • Exercise Science
      • The Sliding Filament Theory Revisited
      • Statics of the Human Musculoskeletal System
      • More Statics: Levers and Mechanics
      • Gender Differences
      • Muscle Twitch
      • Humans: A Hybrid Energy System
      • The Physics of Human Motion
      • Key Anatomy Points
    • Nutrition
      • Protein
      • Carbohydrates
      • Fat
      • Hydration
      • Food Disorders
  • Part 2 – Practical & Applied Knowledge
    • Exercise Technique
      • Fundamental Rules
      • Handgrips
      • Five-Point Body Contact Position
      • Breathing & the Valsalva Maneuver
      • The Five Phases of Sprinting
    • Program Design
      • The Seven Steps of Program Design
      • Cycles and Periodization
    • Organization and Administration
      • Facility Specifications
    • Testing and Evaluation
      • Memorization of the Mean
      • Statistics Review
    • Conclusion and Final Thoughts


Pricing and other thoughts

I’ve priced the book at $27 – I feel this is justified given the amount of unique content I’m providing.

This is not a rehashing of the NSCA book, this is not an outline, it’s high quality content that will set you back less than the price of one online practice exam from the NSCA. As I get feedback I plan on editing and updating the book – purchasing this book at any time entitles you to all future updates. As I said in my previous post the pricing will always be the cheapest possible when you buy it, because it’s only going to go up as I add and update the content.

And with that, I know a bunch of you are scheduled to take the exam in the next month or two. Good luck to you, and I hope my book helps. As always, feel free to contact me via email with any questions, clarifications, or criticisms.

Buy my book!


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The Dreaded HAZIM – H-zones, A-bands, Z-lines, I-bands, and the M-line

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in Exam Preparation, Exercise Science, Review Topics | 0 comments

HAZIM is the mnemonic device I’m using to remember all the various zones, lines, and bands related to a sarcomere.

As you’ll recall from my previous post we discussed how myosin fits inside multiple actin filaments much in the same way as a piston fits inside a cylinder.


Let’s look at the image from the wikipedia page on sarcomere:


Sarcomere. Source: Creative Commons

This image is very useful, but it misses the last portion of the mnemonic, M-line (or M-bridge, the NSCA book uses both terms).


Microscopic image of sarcomere with M-line called out

Now take a look back in the NSCA book, and you will find some images that give you a cross-sectional depiction of what each zone looks like.  Here is my re-creation of the various bands:


A-band I-band M-line

Keep in mind the A-Band image is operating under the assumption that we are looking at a portion of the A-band that has both actin and myosin filaments, if we look in the H-zone (myosin only) it would look the same minus the green circles.


I couldn’t come up with any better mnemonic than HAZIM, which I have included below superimposed over a Reddit rage face…who for the purposes of this page we can refer to as the character Hazim.


HAZIM – Now associated with a reddit rage face due to lack of creativity on my part


Anyways, if you know the word HAZIM, and you have a structural representation of a sarcomere in your brain…that is you know that actin has to be anchored somewhere, myosin has to be anchored somewhere, and you remember that myosin slides between actin filaments much like a piston in a cylinder, you should be able to recreate a drawing of a sarcomere on paper.

In fact, do that.  Now.  Use the HAZIM mnemonic to remember that there are different zones and lines that start with those letters, and then identify them on your drawing.  Two lines, Two bands, and 1 zone…should be easy enough =).

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Mnemonic Device for Lever Classes

Posted by on Sep 1, 2013 in Exercise Science, Review Topics, Study Strategy | 4 comments

This helpful mnemonic device comes from reader Jackson.  His biomechanics lab TA shared this one with him, and he in turn shared it with me via email.

Remember levers and their different lever classes?  Check out this post for a refresher.

Now, which is which?  1st class lever has the fulcrum, load, and effort applied to which ends?  To be honest, I’ve already forgotten.  I remembered when I wrote the original post on it, and probably remembered for a while afterwards…but use it or lose it.


Which lever class is which?

Which lever class is which?

Can you identify them?


If you had trouble with this, then you should read this piece from Jackson:

I just graduated from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in kinesiology, and my next step is taking the CSCS exam which is in just a few hours for me. I started studying for the exam in May while working part-time as a personal trainer.

Your blog has helped me prepare quite a bit, so I thought I would share one of my tips.

My biomechanics lab TA showed me the mnemonic “FLE 123” for remembering lever classes. F = fulcrum, L = load, and E = effort. The fulcrum is in the middle for 1st class levers. The load or resistance is in the middle for 2nd class levers. And, the effort force is in the middle for 3rd class levers.

Hopefully, that helps you.

Pure gold!

This is a brilliant mnemonic device for remembering lever classes

This is a brilliant mnemonic device for remembering lever classes

The genius of this mnemonic lies in the symmetry.  Identifying the component in the middle of the lever is the only information necessary to identify the lever, as the other two components can be flipped and the lever still retains it’s class.  Effort-Fulcrum-Load is the same as Load-Fulcrum-Effort, they are both first class levers.

Prove it to yourself.  Pull out a piece of paper, and write down FLE 123.  Now draw the three classes of levers and fill in the middle item using the FLE123 mnemonic.  Fill in the rest.  You can do this on exam day on your scratch paper and will always have all three levers handy.

Thanks Jackson!

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Exercise Science Review 1-5, Levers and Mechanical Advantage

Posted by on Jan 19, 2013 in Exercise Science, Review Topics | 0 comments

This is perhaps one of the most challenging topics of the Exercise Science section.  In physics class, I always forgot whether a lever was class I, class II, or class III.  On top of this, you need to know points of origin of muscles and where they insert.  Basically, you have to know Anatomy AND Physics, two topics renowned for their difficulty…though I am exaggerating.  These are really two subtopics of both fields, and we should be able to get through them just fine with some careful thinking and good images (lol @ my photoshop skills).

To fully understand this post, you may need to review what Torque is, what a Lever is, and what Mechanical Advantage (or leverage) is.


  • Class I – A lever in which the load (dumbbell for example), and the applied force (by muscle in this case) act on the same side of the fulcrum.
  • Class II – A lever in which the load and the applied force act on the same side of the fulcrum, with the applied force having greater mechanical advantage (a longer moment-arm) than the load.
  • Class III – A lever in which the load and the applied force act on the same side of the fulcrum, with the applied force having lower mechanical advantage than the load (and thus a shorter moment arm).
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Exercise Science Review 1-4, Motive to Achieve Success & Avoid Failure

Posted by on Jan 17, 2013 in Exercise Science, Review Topics | 0 comments

The Psychology of Sports performance is a topic that every coach and every player is familiar with.  Regardless of physical conditioning, muscle mass, and skill development…everything can break down if the athlete has a mental breakdown.

Achievement Motivation

Mental breakdowns aside, another useful way to think about this is motivation.  Between two otherwise equal athletes, the athlete with the highest achievement motivation will achieve success because he or she will have a greater appetite for competition.

Some old dudes theorized that all people have two personality traits that compete within them:

  • Motive to Achieve Success (MAS)
  • Motive to Avoid Failure (MAF)

MAS is pretty self-explanatory, whereas MAF describes an individual who is motivated by protecting their own ego and self-esteem.  The theory basically goes like this:

  • Athletes with a high sense of MAS are motivated by even-chance encounters (50:50) as an opportunity to display their skills.
  • Athletes with a high sense of MAF are motivated by competitions with either a high chance of success or an extremely low chance of success (so as to not be expected to win)

Say two athletes set the same goal, to squat 300lbs and put on muscle.  As they near the goal date and are squatting heavy multiple times a week and consuming uncomfortable quantities of food, the MAF dominated athlete may intentionally stop trying as hard out of fear of failure and claim the goal was too difficult, whereas the MAS dominated athlete might double their efforts.

In a coaching situation where either of these athletes are in a high-stress challenging position, the MAS dominated athlete will likely not need further instruction and will rise to the challenge.  Howeverthe MAF dominated athlete  will be more likely to focus on the difficulty of the task at hand and let the fear of failure creep in.  It’s at this time, that the coach must instruct the MAF dominated athlete to focus on a particular task (footwork, defending his area, his forehand swing, etc) so as to not get distracted by potential outcomes.

This post only covers a small aspect of Sports Psychology, and I imagine I will be covering this more in future posts.  However this was the only Sports Psychology question that I encountered on my first practice CSCS Exam.

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