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Studying For My NASM Cert

I have been studying for my NASM personal training cert for the past few months. I was able to borrow the study cd’s from a friend, so i didn’t to shell out the $500 right off the bat. It also means i can take my time studying, because once you purchase the study materials you have to take the test within three months or something.

I got alot out of the first half of the course, alot of the basic biology and anatomy was new to me. The sections about diagnosing and correcting a clients muscular and postural imbalances were also pretty informative. That realm of being a trainer seems like it could be tough.

Now that i am getting closer to the end it seems its getting harder to motivate myself to study. The way NASM organizes their Optimum Performance Training moodel seems overly complicated, and having to memorize all the different variables for each phase of training (there are 7) is going to be a pain. I suppose i just need to just shut up and do it, get my cert, and take from it what is useful.

Alot of the exercises like a one footed standing cable press or the dumbell step up and curl seem kind of ridiculous. It seems to me there are better ways improve stabilization strength or incorporate a full body movement. Perhaps i am being to close minded.

I have halfway looked into some other certs, perhaps something more sports oriented. However, NASM seems to be one of the more popular certs at the moment, and since i will be training your everyday person alot of the prehab and diagnostic/muscle imbalance information will come in handy.


You’ll train mostly out of shape people so it definitely helps to do some posture correction etc. Yeah, here in NY this is a pretty popular certification. Many clubs list it as their favorite program. And yes it is mostly due to their balance/core/posture stuff.

But you don’t have to constantly conform to their template. Once you get a decent number of clients you can branch out your own stuff and it’ll come naturally. It’s just that when you begin, you really need to learn how to quickly apply perception to see what’s the persons deal. I seriously recommend trying everything on friends/random people because it will come very handy when you actually begin working. Anyways, good luck.

I have been certified through the NASM since 1999. When I became certified through them it was just before they revamped their curriculum and got all corrective phase by phase approach on us.

It is good information and you are not off the mark with thinking they are overcomplicating things. They certainly are overcomplicating some things in there approach. The thing you need to keep in mind is no absolutes when it comes to certifications.

Like I said there is some good information they provide, however, if you follow their protocol step by step I am confident you won’t get much progress in the arena your client will want.

You aren’t going to fix everyone to a perfect state. Hell, some of the protocols the NASM apply elite level athletes couldn’t even pass and yet they operate at a very high level of function.

You’ll be training the general public more than likely. Will they be fucked up with their posture: yeah, will they need work on stability and balance, yeah, will they need more mobility and flexibility, yeah, will they need better tissue health, yeah.

BUT…don’t fall into the prescription of all these exercises such as one legged ipsilateral or contralateral overhead press as the end all and be all. If you can get your client to do the basics properly and control their body the way need to then that is balance and stability in the joints right there.

Get someone squatting with good pelvic alignment and proper back positioning without their hips rotating…they got some stability as far as I am concerned. Want to test and see if they have balance? Think about this: many times balance isn’t about balance, it’s about the strength of the muscles surrounding the joint and the individuals ability to keep that joint in a specific position whilst movin through planes.

Two great examples of balance testing: 1) have someone stand with feet shoulder width/hip width and raise one leg to hip height. Can they hold that leg up there for 30" or more and with even hips? Can they switch positions of their legs with their arms as if they were sprinting without deviations? Great, they have balance, move on.
2)a bit more advanced: athletic stance and put them in a lunge position then have them perform a lateral leap as if they were skating and stick the landing single leg. Watch their body and the joints in relation to each other. the angle of the ankle & shin? does the knee cave? relationship of glute height to knee height and torso angle? if they were able to stabilize the forces from a lateral push then they have balance from a lateral aspect. great move on, come back to it, include it in the program every now and then for re-testing to make sure they havnen’t lost it.

While you are addressing their postural concerns, decreasing their pain, etc. etc. they are expecting to be losing fat, gaining muscle, so give them the best of both worlds.

So many times I have seen the correctional approach junkies preach and preach about how great their programs are and yet their client is weak as a 6th grader and their athletes get their ass’s handed to them on whatever field of play cos they don’t get trained in the best of both world’s.

Good luck man. Take the test, pass, apply what works and don’t be afraid to venture into the hotel of practicality ad try shit on your own.

Thanks alot for the advice and real world examples. It makes me feel better about getting the cert, i will just stick with it instead of starting on another one, i have put all this time in already.

You guys are right, it seems like if i put a client through the NASM program phase by phase they would fire me after a few sessions because they are tired of one legged dumbell curls and multi-planer hops. I guess i will learn to use that stuff where appropriate, while at the same time working toward some actual strength/muscle gain and/or fat loss.

My own training focuses around increased performance in Brazillian Juijitsu, so i think eventually it would be nice to perhaps train some wrestlers or grapplers. But thats a whole different realm.