T Nation

Becoming a Pro Strength Trainer


I was wondering if anyone knew the best way to approach becoming a strength trainer. How far can you go and how much knowledge is necessary to become a trainer for a pro sports team. If anyone has any knowledge or link, I thank them in advance.


You talking about CSCS (Certified strength and conditioning specialist)? If you know your shit really really well you can get certified through them.


I'm thinking the same. Personally, I'm going to school to get a degree so I can learn up and then get my certification down the road, but I'm to understand that like 70% of people who take it their first time fail - after schooling.

Not sure how accurate the statement is, but that's the info I got for ya.


The CSCS is not that hard...even if you don't have a background in exercise science/fitness. The test is based on the book they use. Most people who fail the test do so because they go into it thinking they need to answer with what their opinion is...but the NSCA wants the answers according to what they think is correct (in the book).

And I don't think the failure rate is 70%. It is not nearly as difficult as people may be saying it is...just buy the book and study guide and know that information front and back...no tricks.

If you decide to go to college and pursue exercise science, then you COULD be much more prepared to take the exam.

In the end, the CSCS is merely a step towards being a strength coach. That test is really only a pitstop near the start of the road...and the road should never end.


That's the problem I ran into in that I answered based on what I knew was right and works as opposed to what they think/know is right... a big mental barrier to get over when going for the test.


That's why my GPA upon graduation was just barely over 2.0. Too much reading T-Nation articles and not so much with the memorizing and parroting my professors' outdated assumptions.



I've been having such a hard time answering these questions "correctly" on my exams so far.


Phase 1: Learn to effectively train non-athletes (housewives, kids, senior citizens, everybody).

Phase 2: Learn to effectively train athletes of all levels (student athletes, amateurs, professionals).

Phase 3: ??????

Phase 4: Profit.

Seriously. Learn to train the average person for their goals (fat loss, strength, etc.) You'll develop a knowledge base and confidence. Then you can eventually transition to training lower level athletes (high school, rec league middle-aged guys, etc.).

Let that success keep snowballing until you're the S&C coach for the winner of Superbowl MXMVLIIXMVI (um, I suck at Roman numerals).

Try to intern with a successful coach or facility so you can observe and learn. I see you're in Canada, so I don't know who's around you, but I'd look into it if I were you.


There were so many moments in college when it took all of my energy to bite my tongue and not call-out the professor's bullshit.

"There is no evidence whatsoever that protein supplements are good for anybody!"

Of course, he wouldn't look at the list of two dozen studies I found on MedLine in less than twenty minutes that same afternoon.

"Squats!? Squats!? Nothing injures more athletes than squats. I was training a very talented athlete on the women's volleyball team. She went away for Team Canada training camp and she blew out her back. Why? They were testing her 1 rep max in squats! I couldn't believe they could be so stupid!"

When asked what they should have been doing instead, he replied, "Leg press!"

Of course, he wouldn't admit that his job as coach and trainer for the womens' volleyball team would be to prepare his athletes for the training demands of the National Team training squad.

Then there's the time he plagiarized his entire lecture on supplements from an outdated review of literature anyone could have found on MedLine in less than 30 seconds. Did he cite the article in his lecture? Nope.

How's that for leading by example, and academic integrity?

Not to name names or anything... aww, screw it. His name is Dr. Pierre Baudin at the University of Alberta.

His lectures were the very antithesis of "evidence-based practice".