Exercise Technique

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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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.

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CSCS Practice Questions – Exercise Technique Part 2

Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Exercise Technique, Practice Questions, Review Topics | 0 comments

For this question and questions like it, I’m going to use a simple rule I learned from Kelly Starrett of San Francisco Crossfit.  Kelly is creator of mobilitywod.com, and author of Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance (affiliate link).  He’s been a huge influence on improving my mobility and making movements pain free.  If you haven’t checked out his work, I highly recommend it.

I’m not sure if the rule has an official name, but it’s simple “That which is loaded first, gets loaded most.”  Kelly uses this rule a lot in explaining squatting mechanics, and how the hips should be loaded first as to take the load off the knees.  Try it, the rule works.  I know because my knee will pop when I load sequence improperly, but if I load hips first it doesn’t pop.

So let’s assume this rule is true for the purposes of the previous question, in that case the correct answer seems fairly obviously to be

A. Eccentric Plantar Flexion

Alternatively you could reference Chapter 17 and memorize the components of high velocity sprinting.  Also, it was obviously necessary to know that plantar flexion is the action of pointing your toes away from yourself.  As you sprint, you absorb energy with eccentric plantar flexion as you actively resist having your toes point towards you but with a force less than the force of you contacting the ground, thus lengthening the muscles involved in plantar flexion and by definition an eccentric muscle action.




Next Question
What are two good coaching cues to give an athlete who is about to perform the T-test?

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

Hint: this is still material from the chapter 17, but you have to know what the T test is too..

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CSCS Practice Questions – Exercise Technique Part 1

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Exercise Technique, Practice Questions, Review Topics | 0 comments

Alright, again…sorry for the long pause.  Work, baby, wife, working out, etc!

Exercise Technique! I missed 2/13 in this section on practice exam 2, which was a pretty solid improvement over practice exam 1 where I missed 6 questions.

Let’s get straight to a question.

When you  run with proper form, which muscle action absorbs the most landing shock?

A.  eccentric plantar flexion
B.  eccentric knee extension
C.  concentric hip flexion
D.  concentric plantar flexion


For a hint, here is a picture of a naked guy running from wikipedia:


Make sure you know about flexion, extension, and concentric & eccentric and how those apply to each of the joints in question.  Then think about what proper running form is….the answer on the next post!

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Chapter 14 – Resistance Training and Spotting Techniques

Posted by on Feb 9, 2013 in Exercise Technique, Review Topics | 0 comments

Instead of covering topics on specific questions I missed, I decided to cover an entire chapter this time.  Chapter 14 is fairly short, and a fair deal of it is just diagrams of different exercises, what muscle groups they utilize, and how to correctly perform them.  Fortunately I know a great online resource for that, more on that later.


There are a number of different ways to grasp the bar, you should know about these because they can have different effects on muscle activation

  • Pronated / Overhand – Palms facing down or away from you
  • Supinated / Underhand – Palms facing up or towards you
  • Neutral Grip – Halfway between the two, palms facing towards each other
  • Hook Grip – Instead of wrapping your thumb around and over your other fingers, you wrap your fingers around your thumb.  This allows you to pick up more weight than you may have otherwise been able to.
  • Open / False Grip – Any grip in which you do not wrap the thumb around the bar, also known as the “suicide grip” during the bench press

Five Point Body Contact Position

When performing exercises on a bench, with your back on the bench the NSCA book calls out a specific stable position you should always maintain.  Since this takes up the majority of their section on stability and positioning, you should probably know it for the CSCS exam.

  1. Head is placed firmly on the bench
  2. Shoulders and upper back are firmly and evenly on the bench
  3. Buttocks are evenly and firmly positioned
  4. Left foot on the floor
  5. Right foot on the floor


Holding your breath during an exercise has a fancy name, called the Valsalva Manuever.  The maneuver greatly increases the stability of your trunk by increasing the pressure in your abdomen, which stabilizes your entire upper body by creating a rigid, fluid filled “ball” if you will of high pressure.  Think of it like any normal ball, when it’s filled to the max it’s more “stable” that is, you could stand on it easier or do anything off it easier with more stability.  If it’s not full, it’s less stable.

This doesn’t come without drawbacks, as holding your breath through a sticking point in a heavy exercise will increase your blood pressure.  The NSCA recommends only holding your breath for 1-2 seconds so as to minimize the negative effects.

Weight Belts

Short version: they help make your valsalva maneuver more effective; they get the ball more rigid. However using the belt also removes the opportunity to train the core simultaneously during the exercises you use it on.


This section I found a little excessive, but nonetheless it is a necessary one to know.  I’m going to try and break this section down into a few salient points:

  • Always spot closer to the weight on dumbbell exercises
  • Don’t spot power movements
  • Use more spotters for heavier loads
  • For complex heavy movements the spotters should be at least as strong and experienced as the athlete

Resistance Training Exercises

The NSCA book contains an extensive section going over a variety of exercises.  There is a great online resource for this: exrx.net.

There’s a huge amount of detail, including a muscle map, an exercise and muscle directory.  If you need to know what muscles an exercise uses, or what exercises to use to grow a certain muscle, exrx.net is a fantastic resource.

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