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Tips to Help You PASS!!

by Nicole
(Los Angeles)

I passed ACSM..YAY!! I thought the test was about the level of the practice exam available on this site, not as difficult as the quizzes in the ACSM Certification Review (well that goes beyond the personal trainer certification exam anyway) but not as easy as the practice test available for purchase on the ACSM learning website. I hope that gave a good gauge of difficulty. Like any exam, if you prepare adequately, you will be ok :)

My study strategy: I took the ACSM workshop, studied for a total of 2 weeks casually (about 3-4 hours a day), and then very intensely (8+ hours a day) for 4 days before taking the exam. I started this study review program about 5 days before the exam, I took EVERY quiz and practice exam available on this site until I was scoring at least 90%, I took the ACSM practice test available at, and I took all of the quizzes in the ACSM Certification Review book until I was scoring at least 80% (some of the questions did not pertain to us like EKG readings). I also made A LOT of flashcards...stacks and stacks of them.

Some pointers (I just got back from taking the exam, so it's fresh):

**No tables for reference or conversions were given**

Know the risk stratification for Coronary Heart Disease (low, moderate, high):
Positive Risk Factors:
Family history of MI
Blood Pressure (diastolic, systolic)
Cholesterol (HDL and LDL)
Obesity: waist to hip ratio, waist circumference, BMI
Negative Risk Factors:
HDL > 60

Contraindications for exercise testing, what is a relative contraindication and absolute contraindications

Physiology of running (what muscles are doing during the eccentric and concentric phases, what happens when a person starts running on an incline)

Emergency procedures:
What to do when client w/ Type I diabetes, while exercising skin becomes ashen, starts sweating, dizzy, unsteady gait
When to use an AED device


How to get METs when only VO2max is given
Know conversions: inches to cm to m, lbs to kg
Ideal Body Weight
Fat Free Mass
Fat mass
How to find HRmax, HRR, target heart rate
Calories in protein, fat, carbohydrate, alcohol

ACSM's recommendations for maintaining and improving cardiorespiratory endurance and fitness, muscular endurance, muscular strength

Children with respect to endurance and resistance training

Shoulder impingement syndrome and what exercises should not be done in this case

Rotator cuff muscles and their specific functions
What primary muscles are worked during a lateral shoulder abduction
Agonist and antagonist muscles during push up, squat, hip flexion and extension
Know sagittal, horizontal, frontal planes and what movements take place in each plane (ie a lunge is in the ____ plane)
Muscle actions in the eccentric and concentric phases of an exercise
I did not have to identify muscles or bones on a figure like in the anatomy section of this site, but you still need to know where the muscles are located for some of the questions: ie gastrocnemius is in the calf
Know the proper names for muscle groups ie hamstring group is comprised of the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus
**Make sure you can apply your knowledge of muscle movement in both phases of the exercise (eccentric and concentric): what is happening when running uphill, when doing a push-up, lateral shoulder abduction, squat, trunk flexion while standing
One of the questions asked something like: A mechanic lifts heavy object over head most of the time at work. what is the best exercise for him? a) lateral shoulder abduction, b) overhead shoulder raise, etc

DOMS and what types of muscle movement make DOMS more intense

Know how to read a label and calculate amount of calories in half of the box, what % of the total calories is from carbohydrates in 3 servings, etc
A person cuts calories by 1000/ day and increases exercise to burn 1100 in a day. How much what will she loose in 1 week?

I think that's about all I remember from the test. I hope this helps all of you who are in the process of studying or about to begin. Definitely take your time studying and figure out what study methods work best for you. GOOD LUCK!!!!!

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Characteristics of Uphill and Downhill
by: Lauren

I saw in this comment and also remember reading in one or two others about knowing the difference and how the muscles act during uphill and downhill running. Now, I didn't remember seeing this anywhere in my ACSM study materials but I do also have the materials for the NCSF exam and found a little something in there so I thought I would share:

This is from Health Fitness Instructor's Handbook by Edward T. Howley and B. Don Franks:

"Walking or running up an incline elicits a greater force of action from the gluteus maximus muscle at the hip and from the knee extensors. The talocrural dorsiflexors are more active immediately before landing to position the talocrural joint to conform with the angle of the incline. Because the talocrural joint is in a more dorsiflexed position, the plantar flexors begin acting during push-off from a more stretched position. For these reasons, hill climbing requires greater flexibility in the plantar flexors, especially the soleus muscle, and greater strength in the dorsiflexors. There is also more eccentric action by the knee extensors during landing in downhill than in up hill running. As a result, these muscle groups are more apt to become fatigued and to be sore afterward."

Hope this helps!

I love you
by: Dusty Baker

I love you. you are awesome.. i hope i pass

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