Best Corrective Exercise Training Program (NASM CES vs ACE vs ISSA)

Corrective exercise training is becoming significantly in demand as personal training is more and more specialized.

But there are a significant amount of corrective exercise specialist certifications that are currently on the market.

With so many options, which one should you choose? Make sure to check out the NASM CES and the ISSA corrective exercise websites afterward for more info as overall these are my top two.

I highly recommend that you take the quiz to get an estimate on which corrective exercise certification is the best fit for you overall. This is just an estimation, read the article to get the full understanding.

Make sure to check out Trainer Academy as well. The team over there create epic study materials for training, will dramatically reduce your overall study time and boast a 99% exam pass rate.

Save 30% on the NASM CES (Corrective Exercise Specialist) Certification
See the NASM CES Sale Here
Save $200 on the ISSA Corrective Exercise Certification
See the ISSA CES Sale Here

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I will be breaking down the four most recognized corrective exercise certifications in this article so you can get a good feel of what each one is about as well is which one you should start studying for. I also suggest looking at the top nutrition certifications as well as the top strength and conditioning certifications.

The corrective exercise specialist certifications I will be comparing are the NASM CES vs ISSA and ACE corrective exercise specialist certifications.

Whether you are just starting out with personal training, are an expert or are merely looking for some continuing education credits for your general personal training certification, a corrective exercise specialization will improve your abilities as a personal trainer!

The 3 Best corrective exercise specialist certifications

1) NASM corrective exercise specialist certification

NASM corrective exercise specialist certification

What is the NASM CES?

The NASM corrective exercise certification or CES is one of the longest standing corrective exercise certifications that are currently available.

I’m pretty sure other types of certifications focus on the style of training to what is now called “corrective exercise.”

But to my knowledge, NASM coined the term with their very popular CES certification.

The NASM CES focuses sharply on what they call the “corrective exercise continuum.” This is how the course material is taught for the NASM CES.

So what is the corrective exercise continuum?

The corrective exercise continuum consists of four different ways to corrective movement.

Let’s go over all four parts of the CES corrective exercise continuum.


This training strategy helps reduce tension in identified areas that are considered shortened muscles or overactive muscles.

The primary tactic to help inhibit muscle groups is by using self-myofascial release tactics.

These tactics can help reduce muscle soreness, improve circulation and reduce muscle tension.


The lengthen portion of the corrective exercise continuing is to help stretch muscles using neuromuscular stretching as well as static stretching practices.

These stretching techniques problems, reduce muscle stiffness and increase the overall range of motion.


On the opposite end of the corrective exercise continuum is where under active muscles are the culprit.

These are muscles that we need to activate because they are underdeveloped, underactive and weak. Strength training is the primary way that we can activate these underactive muscles.

These resistance training techniques will help to increase strength and underactive muscles, increase muscular endurance and help us focus on activating individual muscles.


The last section of the corrective exercise continuum is where we integrate total body exercises that help our clients to solidify the corrective exercise changes we have done with them.

This is known as integrated strength training techniques and helps to increase total body coordination, performance and helps movement patterns improve.

Is the NASM CES worth it?

Overall I think that the corrective exercise specialist from NASM is a fantastic certification. They have been around for a long time, and we continue to make improvements to both their study materials as well as program design.

The NASM CES might also the extra worth it if you already have the general NASM CPT. This is because there are a lot of similar concepts that you will already be well accustomed to such as integrating they are OPT training model with clients.

Even if you are not certified with the typical NASM CPT, it still a very valuable certification. Lots of employers encourage their personal trainers to pursue the CES certification, and some even give pay raises to those who have it.

How much does the NASM CES cost?

Currently, three different study packages can be purchased for the CES. Let’s talk about each of these in detail.

All of these options are worth 1.9 continuing education credits ( the maximum). Every package that is more expensive includes all of the features that the previous package had, with some additional features.

I will be listing only the extra features in the more expensive versions.

The CES self-study package

  • Access to take the online CES test
  • An additional CES textbook
  • Access to their online interactive course (videos, interactive modules and more)
  • Access to their exercise technique and queuing  videos
  • Various client scenarios
  • Sample client programming

The self-study package currently costs $559 from his usual $699 price tag. Check out the current price with the self-study package here.

The CES premium self-study package

The premium self-study package includes everything that the regulator self-study package comprises with the addition of:

  • The CES eTeach

The Eteach program is instructor-led supplemental learning. Here you’ll have access to people that are already CES certified and are experts at passing the test.

It primarily focuses on difficult areas that people usually have while taking the test. This will increase your chance of passing the test by 10x.

The premium self-study package currently costs $679 from its typical $850 price tag.

The CES all-inclusive package

The all-inclusive package includes everything that the previous two packages did, with the addition of:

  • A live workshop
  • A hard copy of the NASM CES

If you are one of the types of individuals that need hands-on learning, this is the course I recommend for you. This also goes for those individuals who love a hard copy.

To be honest, I preferred to have a hard copy be as I like to add sticky notes and highlight EVERYTHING! If you are like me, this is the package for you.

The all-inclusive package currently costs $799 from its typical thousand dollar price tag. Here is an image breaking down all three certifications once again.

My overall rating: 9.5/10 Overall this is a fantastic CES certification from NASM.

I wish that I got a hardcover book for paying over $500 for any certification.

If you have no problem working with only the e-book, then it’s a total 10!

Make sure to check out the epic CES study materials over at Trainer Academy that will cut your study time in half. The team over there have produced the best study materials overall, much better than the standard study materials.

Check out the NASM corrective exercise specialist here.

2) ISSA corrective exercise certification

ISSA corrective exercise certification

The  ISSA corrective exercise specialist certification is a brand-new certification from the international sports sciences Association.

This certification came out in 2017, and they released it due to high demand for corrective exercise specialist.

With the ISSA CES certification, you will learn a lot of similar practices as you do from the NASM certification.

They break the studying down into two primary parts.

Corrective exercise science

In the corrective exercise science portion, you’ll learn about the skeletal system and how it relates to corrective exercise training, you will learn about fascia in muscle as well as the nervous system and joint actions and how it refers to human movement.

Corrective exercise practice

The second portion teaches you how to incorporate this knowledge into your current exercise routines.

It shows you how to prepare for a client, perform movement analysis, restore alignment and stability, restore mobility and how to perform soft tissue assessments.

What’s included in the ISSA corrective exercise certification

Unlike the CES, there is only one package that can be purchased from ISSA. Let’s go over what’s included real fast.

A hard copy as well as a digital textbook

One thing that I liked about the ISSA corrective exercise certification is that think we both a digital as well as a hard copy of the manual.

As I explained above, I’m a person that likes to highlight and add notes to my textbooks physically.

Study guide and workbook

The study guide is something that you should be going through as you are working your way through the primary textbook.

It will give you tips on what to focus your energy on while you study.

An online exercise lab

The exercise lab has over 250 animated exercises to help you learn proper corrective exercise training.

It’s pretty cool because they have a 360° viewing angle so you can understand how to perform the exercises.

A free personal training website

This is one bonus that I was not expecting with any personal training certification. As a personal trainer, is very important to have an online presence.

Having your website is one of the things that can make you stand out professionally from the rest of the personal trainers.

ISSA provides you with fully hosted and professionally designed website that you can point your clients to.

Save 30% on the NASM CES (Corrective Exercise Specialist) Certification
See the NASM CES Sale Here
Save $200 on the ISSA Corrective Exercise Certification
See the ISSA CES Sale Here

Entrance to take the exam

Naturally like any other certification, a includes entry to take either a pencil and paper version of the exam or the ability to take the test online.

There’s no retest fee which is something that should be noted!

Access to their student forum

Another unique angle that ISSA is taking for people that want to take their exam is having a private forum.

On these forums, people can ask questions related to the study material and create other discussions regarding corrective exercise training.

Overall this is a handy feature that lets the students teach each other!

Practice quizzes and tests

What would a personal training certification be without a few practice tests and quizzes to go along with it?

I highly recommend taking at least one practice quiz in one practice test before you sign up to take the full exam.

Access to unlimited education support

Another feature that people have is the ability to talk to fitness professionals regarding any pickup they may have while studying.

The combination of the forums, as well as the access to fitness professionals, will make sure you have a firm grasp of each fitness concepts that are presented to.

How much does the ISSA CES cost?

As of the time of the writing, the price for the corrective exercise specialist certification is $799. I frequently see this price drop as low as $599 when they are promoting a sale. Check out the current price for the ISSA CES.

They also can pay off the certification with a payment plan. You have the option to pay all $799 upfront, have a six-month payment plan of $133 a month or have a 12-month payment plan at $66 a month.

You will have up to six months from the date you sign up to complete the certification. My Overall Rating 8.5/10 This 8.5 rating is because it is not as recognized as NASM.

Overall it is a very new certification. The curriculum and study materials are on par with NASM, but it needs a little bit of time to get on its level.

Check out the ISSA corrective exercise certification here.

3) ACE (biomechanics method) corrective exercise specialist certification

ACE (biomechanics method) corrective exercise specialist certification

The last corrective exercise specialist certification that I will be talking about is the ACE CES certification. The only thing that’s odd about this certification is that it’s not provided by ACE.

It Is produced by the biomechanics method. The two seem to have joined together, and the biomechanics method certification is now offered through the ACE website as a full certification as well as continuing education credits.

What Is the Biomechanics Method?

The biomechanics method is a process to systematically fix chronic pain such as back pain, hip pain or knee pain to name a few.

The biomechanics method has become a prevalent systematic approach to performing structural assessments and prescribing corrective techniques to fix misalignments.

This is thought of by some is one of the best CES programs on the market.

The study materials are broken down and the five different sections.

  1. The fundamentals of structural assessment
  2. Understanding muscles and movement
  3. The fundamentals of corrective exercise
  4. Corrective exercise program design
  5. The complete corrective exercise library

How much does the TNMM-CES course costs?

From the ACE website, you can purchase the biomechanics methods CES course for $749. I have never seen this price go up or down because I think that the biomechanics method has more control over how much the certification costs compared to ACE.

With the certification, you will receive the electronic textbook, video lessons and the exercise library as well as online quizzes to help you prepare for the exam. Overall I consider the study materials for this CES to be lacking compared to what ISSA and NASM provide with their corrective exercise courses.

My overall rating: 8 This is just because of the lack of study materials compared to the NASM and ISSA certifications.

What is a corrective exercise specialist?

Have you been wondering to yourself: what does and exercise specialist do? Well before you go off and purchase a random certification, let’s dive into what type of training a corrective exercise specialist does on a day-to-day basis.

And what about doing personal training vs corrective exercise specialist training, is there a difference? Let’s talk real quickly about what corrective exercise training is.

But before we do, I recommend checking out this 3-minute video where the creator of the ISSA CES breaks down what corrective exercise training is.

When it comes to corrective exercise training vs personal training, all CES trainers are personal trainers, but not all trainers are CES qualified to do corrective exercise training.

In your general CPT certification, you might have learned how to do some postural or corrective exercise assessments.

I know most of you did if you took the general NASM CPT. Corrective exercise goes over dozens of other assessments to be able to pinpoint tight spots, overactive muscles, underactive muscles and other musculoskeletal problems that might need to be corrected to move correctly. In this modern era where probably close to half the population is sitting all day long, we have developed times of musculoskeletal problems.

Due to these improper movement patterns, we are much more likely to experience musculoskeletal pain.

  • Approximately $50 billion is spent on a yearly basis in the United States to help fix back pain
  • About 14% of people  will have neck pain at some point in their life
  • 21% will have shoulder pain at some point
  • Overall, $213 billion is expended every single year on some form of musculoskeletal pain.

A lot of these problems can be fixed by actively trying to correct the imbalances that are causing the pain. Not only does a completely suck to live day-to-day with excruciating pain, but one misalignment can lead to others throughout the kinetic chain.

This can cause an array of other problems, injuries and expensive doctor visits. This is why corrective exercise training has become so popular.

There are millions of Americans that would like to start exercising but need to fix essential musculoskeletal alignments before they start doing real weight training.

As a corrective exercise specialist, it is our job to perform assessments to pinpoint imbalances, create a program to treat those imbalances and deployed this exercise routine with our clients.

Should you get a corrective exercise certification?

So how do you know if a CES certification is right for you or not?

Keep your clients healthy and training with you

It is straightforward to answer this question with over ten years of personal training experience under my belt. You need to ask yourself have you ever trained in the old individual, and overweight individual or an out of shape individual?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, yes you should get a CES certified. Knowing corrective exercise is one of the best ways to keep your clients healthy and injury free for them to be able to continue going to your personal training sessions and training with you.

Before I became a corrective exercise specialist, I have lost plenty of clients due to injuries and the fear of getting reinjured with personal training.

If your client needs to fix muscular imbalances first, make sure they do that. Here is an example of the type of CES training you will learn from the NASM-CES:

If you need continuing education, it’s a no-brainer

If you are at the two-year mark four-year general CPT certification and need to get continuing education to recertify, you will get the most from a CES certification.

Anyone of the certifications will fill the need for every significant certifying agency including NASM, ACE, NSCA, ACSM, NCCPT, NFPT, NESTA and every single other one.

Don’t worry about the price compared to some other continuing education credits that you can get. This is because you will increase your income by holding a CES certification.

Let’s dive right into how much more you can make as a trainer.

How much money can you make as a corrective exercise specialist?

ces salary

Can you make a higher salary or income has a corrective exercise specialist? Let’s break down what type of corrective exercise specialist salary you can expect. According to NASM, their personal trainers the hold the corrective exercise specialist certification earn on average 48% more than their ordinary CPT holders.

This means that if you are earning approximately $30,000 a year as a trainer, you can make up to $45,000 a year by holding a CES certification.

By holding a CES certification, you bring so much value to future clients as well as the clients that you already have. Not only regarding being able to keep them healthy and training with you, but you will now be able to market new styles of training to the members in your gym.

As a corrective exercise specialist, you can also make your younger, more athletic clients perform better. This is because you have mastered how the human body can move more efficiently.

An efficient moving body can also produce more power and be more explosive.

Conclusion on CES certifications

If you have not done so yet, take the quiz to get a better overall idea of which corrective exercise certification is the best match for you.

Will there you have it ladies and gentlemen, the breakdown of the top three corrective exercise certifications on the market.

Out of all three of the certifications, I have to recommend the NASM CES as my favorite one currently. The ISSA certification is fairly new but I really like their study materials and I’m sure there will be a very well-recognized certification.

I like their study materials as well as how they integrate well with the optimum training model that I use on a day-to-day basis.

They are also the cheapest out of all three of the CES certifications at only $559 compared to the $799 from ISSA as well is the $749 from ACE/biomechanics method.

The ISSA CES is also a fantastic certification especially because it has only been around for one year and it is already gaining traction in the personal training industry.

Overall it has fantastic study materials, an excellent curriculum, a free website and excellent learning support both on their forums as well as access to fitness professionals.

The biomechanics method is a very well renowned CES certification as well. The only downside is that the study materials are not fantastic and it is relatively pricey as well.

Anyone of these three will make you a much better personal trainer in the end. You will be able to market your services as a corrective exercise specialist as well as an efficient movement specialist.

Your overall income should be able to increase by becoming a corrective exercise specialist. Let me know what you guys think of my article?

Do you guys have any experience with any one of these three CES certifications? What did you like about the certifications and what did you not like about them?

Let’s try to get a discussion down below in the comment section because I get a ton of great information from you guys that inspire me to write new content! 🙂

17 thoughts on “Best Corrective Exercise Training Program (NASM CES vs ACE vs ISSA)”

    1. Hey Denise,
      I’m sorry that you could not see the answer. I have had a couple people complaining about this and I am looking into correcting the problem as we speak.

    1. Hello Chris,
      I’m trying to find this answer out for you about the corrective exercise specialist from ISSA. I actually lent my book to a friend a while ago so I’m trying to contact him to find out how many pages. I can’t find this information out anywhere online either. I’ll get back to you and I know

  1. I love everything you said, Tyler!
    I’m a Master trainer with NASM and have my CES certification. After becoming a CES, my income and clientele almost immediately increased. I didn’t have to do as much marketing. My clients were doing it for me. The momentum was building, and I began to have more referrals and long-term clients. More people started hiring me as the trainer based on my reputation due to clients touting how much better they felt and moved. It was not uncommon for me to hear, “I can’t work out with other trainers, but I can work out with you.” I’ve been personal training and nutrition consulting since 2005, and earned my CES a few years ago. It made a profound difference in my approach to training as well as the results my clients were experiencing. I thought I had a pretty solid grasp on fitness before, but I’ve now seen firsthand how a CES allows a trainer to offer so much more to clients and believe it or not, class members. Being a group fitness instructor, I began to incorporate corrective exercise into my yoga, Pilates, barre classes and even my HIIT training! As a CES, I just have more to give. A friend of mine also earned her CES through ACE, and I am quite impressed with the results her clients receive as well since she’s been integrating the principles of the Biomechanics Method. Like myself, she’s been a trainer for years, and we’ve both seen a marked difference since we earned our CES certifications.
    Anyways, I’m so glad you put out this article, Tyler. I’m very, very passionate and such a believer in corrective exercise. I mentor younger trainers and encourage them like a broken record to obtain their CES. Having that working knowledge opens so many more doors for different populations. Becoming a CES will make a good trainer into a great trainer. I’ve seen how it sets a professional a part in our field. CES trainers that understand the techniques of corrective exercise and are grounded in biomechanics are way more effective whether we’re working with seniors or a more fragile client or be it the other end of the spectrum, training a lifter, elite athletes and everyone in between. It just optimizes the results of your clients no matter what conditioning level they’re at. I can’t say enough how much being a CES has elevated me as a professional, but I’ll tell you the true reward is beyond awesome when you hear feedback from your clients how their pain is diminishing or even gone! Those are the moments it gets real. I get to dance happy dances with people, when at one point, pain or tightness in a particular area and limited range of motion was holding them back from barriers they’ve been trying to break through for years, and I have the honor of being there to watch them crush that goal. At the end of the day, my clients aren’t just clients, they’re people, and over the years, many have become dear friends. The great reward comes in the form of being a trainer who helps remove those roadblocks and know that I have a part to play in improving the quality of people’s lives. THAT is the heart of a trainer.

    1. Hello Heather,
      Well thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your experience with the NASM corrective exercise certification. It is definitely the certification I recommend the most towards personal trainers that are trying to specialize. It is truly the most valuable certification. It’s right up there with a good nutrition certification for any personal trainer. I am so glad that you have been able to help so many lives after receiving the CES. It’s also very encouraging for my readers to hear your story about getting more clients as well as earning more as a personal trainer. These really do go hand-in-hand. Keep on promoting the corrective exercise certification as this is what I am doing on my end as well. The more people that we have certified with a CES, the safer personal training will become and the more fantastic results our clients will see in the end. Thanks so much for stopping by and never hesitate to drop off your wisdom in the comment section again. I will be looking forward to it!

    1. Hey Chris,
      The deals with ISSA very on a day-to-day basis practically. You will just have to keep on checking back with them to see what their daily deal is.

  2. Adifferentchris

    Hey Tyler, I really love your articles about different certs. It really keeps aspiring trainers on their toes. I actually got certified through ISSA and I love their curriculum and how they lay out their information. I actually have my bachelors in Exercise science and I was wondering do people still judge someone on their certification or whether or not they got a degree? I never had a problem getting a job with my certification from ISSA. I usually just had issues with other trainers who are certified by NASM and NSCA telling my clients that my cert is not good because it is done online. The guys who said that dont have degrees at all. So Im just wondering if you think a certification weights more than 4 year college degree. Thank you!

    1. This is a very in-depth topic for sure. Overall, a person with a four year degree has much more knowledge than anybody that has any one of the certifications that I’m talking about. And that is a problem in this industry. It’s difficult to tell who has gone through the hoops. The ISSA certification is a very legitimate certification. Just because the exam is done online, does not take away from this fact. It’s simply that these individuals do not know what they are talking about. Honestly, both of those exams are simply multiple-choice questions that are fairly easy to pass. ISSA requires its testtakers to answer essay questions and even right a sample workout program for a imaginary client. This tests your knowledge much more than multiple-choice ever can. Thus just my two cents

  3. Hello,
    Would like to ask about Post Rehab Exercise Specialist Certification from AFPA in comparison to NASM CES .. Which one do u recommend and why?

    1. AFPA Is a decent certification but overall NASM is the industry leader especially their CES certification. For me it would be between that or the CSCS certification from NSCA, but this requires a college degree in order to obtain it. NASM is not only more recognized but as an organization they have a general corrective exercise focus which is why I would choose it over AFPA.

  4. I am looking to become certified, but am not sure of the program of study that would best suit me. I am looking at personal trainer programs or corrective exercise specialist. I understand that with a CPT, I could also include CES? Is it worth only doing a CES program? I am looking to do this as a side job. I LOVE the Beachbody programs and am an avid workout person, but so many of my friends complain about aches and pains from working out and I would love to be able to set something up for them. I was also approached from a colleague who works with adult mentally challenged individuals (I am a Special Education Teacher for middle school kiddo’s) and would love to be able to help all age ranges relieve muscle fatigue and give excercises/stretches to help reduce their discomfort. I would appreciate any guidance you can suggest!

    1. Hey Sue,
      If you are not yet certified through a general personal training certification, I would check out the list of the top CPT’s on my website first. After that, I would definitely lick into a corrective exercise program. Out of all of the advanced certifications for personal trainers, I think corrective exercise specialists are the most valuable. You will definitely be able to receive the most amount of clients and be able to help the most amount of people that have aches or that complain about pain. Exercising pain free should be the first step in any exercise program. I hope this helped and you are going to be a great personal trainer!

  5. Hi,

    In looking at ISSA, and there CES..I noticed they have a Exercise Therapy Specialist as well
    What the main difference? Is one more sought out after in the Health Field? Are they pretty comparable IYHO?

  6. Hey Tyler,

    If I hold a certification from ACE is taking a corrective exercise specialist program from another provider such as NASM allowed? Also, is taking a certification on nutrition, performance, fat loss, or the CES after your two years have expired considered continuing your education?


    1. Hey Shawn,
      yes, you can definitely change certification organizations to get additional certifications or credentials. Basically all additional certifications are considered continuing education for every other certifying body. For example if you pick up the corrective exercise specialist it will definitely count as continuing education for your general personal training certification with ACE.

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