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FREE ACSM Study Guide + ACSM Practice test + Flashcards for 2020

FREE ACSM Study Guide + ACSM Practice test + Flashcards

Hey everybody, Coach Tyler Read speaking and welcome to your one-stop study shop for the ACSM personal training certification. In my study hub, you will find an ACSM study guide, ACSM practice test ( with all the answers), ACSM flashcards and other ACSM tips to help you pass the final exam. I highly recommend that you star/bookmark this page for future reference. Trust me, you don’t want to lose it.

I also 100% recommend checking out the team over at Trainer Academy if you want the best overall chance to pass the ACSM exam. They will guarantee that you pass the test and will cut your overall study time in half. Check out my full review on them here.

Get the ACSM exam cheat sheet for free here. Courtesy of Trainer Academy.

The menu at the top of this page will answer any question related to personal training that you have. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment here (I’ll respond within 24 hours). Also, visit the home page for the most recent and popular articles.

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    My Bitmoji counterpart will be walking you through the ACSM study guide to make sure that you are on track for passing the ACSM exam. Say hello to Tyler-Moji.
    Your Guide for NASM

    Intro to the ACSM Study Materials

    Before we get started, you will need the official textbook from the ACSM to study for their exam.

    The current textbook is called ACSM’s Resources for the Personal Trainer 5th edition. It consists of 22 chapters and is written by the American College of Sports Medicine.

    Refer to the image on this page so that you pick up the correct textbook. I recommend either picking the book up from the ACSM website or from Amazon.

    FREE ACSM Study Guide + ACSM Practice test + Flashcards for [year] 157

    FREE ACSM Study guide updated for 2020

    FREE ACSM Study guide

    Free ACSM practice test for 2020

    Free ACSM practice test

    In my ACSM practice test, you will find the same percentage of questions from the four primary domains of study as you would in the real exam. I do this to try to simulate the real exam as closely as possible. Here are the four domains of study and their relative question percentage on the test.

    • Domain 1: Initial client consultation and assessment; (Represents 25% of questions)
    • Domain 2: Exercise programming/implementation; (Represents 45% of questions)
    • Domain 3: Practice leadership and client learning; (Represents 20% of questions)
    • Domain 4: Legal and professional Aspects: (Represents 10% of questions)

    ACSM Practice tests answer key below ⬇️ (Don’t Peek Until After!) 🙄

    NSCA Practice Exam Answer Key (Questions 1-25)


    Q1:  The max amount of time between sets of 1RM bench press attempts is:
    A1:  B. 3 minutes

    Q2:  Which max heart rate equation needs to be used for stress testing a woman that is middle-aged and asymptomatic?
    A2:  A. 206 – (0.88 x age)

    Q3:  What is Syncope?
    A3:  B. Loss of consciousness

    Q4:  Which of these is defined as the study of human movement?
    A4:  D. Kinesiology

    Q5:  How much time is spent having the trainer speak when they use the client-centered approach during consultation with a client?
    A5:  D. 10% to 15% of the time

    Q6: The PAR-Q’s purpose is…?
    A6: D. To screen clients and take them out of activities that are potentially too hard for them

    Q7:  Which muscle type is the gastrocnemius when doing a calf raise?
    A7:  A. Agonist

    Q8:  Which isn’t a normal site for measuring skinfolds?
    A8:  B. Subradial

    Q9:  Which muscle is not in the posterior spine musculature?
    A9: A. Quadratus lumborum

    Q10:  Which is defined as shortness of breath?
    A10:  A. Dyspnea

    Q11:  What components are in a health history evaluation?
    A11:  A. Medical history, medications, and exercise history

    Q12:  Which is the classification for a BMI of 24.8?
    A12:  C. Normal

    Q13:  What is the R representing in SMART?
    A13:  A. Realistic

    Q14:  Which muscle group needs to be exercised first?
    A14:  A. Large muscle groups

    Q15:  How should you progress arm placement for an older adult doing seated balance training?
    A15:  B. Using a surface for support, placing the hands on the thighs, crossing the arms in front of the chest

    Q16:  Which is not a correct sequence for a resistance training session?
    A16:  A. Exercises for strong areas before exercises for weak areas

    Q17:  Which endurance exercise mode is best for a beginner client that has type 2 diabetes and may also have peripheral neuropathy?
    A17:  B. Stationary bike

    Q18:  Which strength curve makes it possible to lift weight when only using the bottom half of the motion?
    A18:  B. Descending strength curve

    Q19:  Which stretch is for the knee extensors?
    A19:  B. Standing quadriceps stretch


    Q20:  For intermittent exercise, what is the minimum time interval?
    A20:  A. 10 minutes

    Q21:  What effect does an increase in relaxin levels during pregnancy have?
    A21:  C. Increased joint range of motion

    Q22:  Which of these is a description of a routine for endurance training?
    A22:  A. Lower weight and higher repetitions

    Q23:  What progression per week is appropriate for advancing a beginner’s cardio when they already do 60 minutes of low intensity work for the first week?
    A23:  B. Add 10-15 minutes/week until they reach 120 minutes/week

    Q24:  Which rep combinations is most effective?
    A24:  A. Concentric-eccentric

    Q25:  Which is not an acute program variable?
    A25:  D. Duration of stretching

    NSCA Practice Exam Answer Key (Questions 26-50)


    Q26:  The biceps utilize which strength curve?
    A26:  C. Bell-shaped strength curve

    Q27:  Which movement pattern for people with osteoporosis is not contraindicated?
    A27:  B. Excessive hip flexion

    Q28:  The dumbbell bench press is what type of exercise?
    A28:  A. Multijoint, unilateral

    Q29:  How much bone mineral density los happens in women every year after the age of 35?
    A29:  C. About 1%

    Q30:  What is the most basic position for the hip rotator stretch?
    A30: D. Seated in a chair

    Q31:  For someone with diabetes and retinopathy, what type of resistance training is best?
    A31:  B. Circuit training

    Q32:  Which stage of the clean has the double knee bend?
    A32:  A. Transition

    Q33:  Which general gender differences might be the cause of females having more flexibility than men?
    A33:  A. Females tend to have wider and shallower hips

    Q34:  What is the best description of isotonic resistance training?
    A34:  B. A muscle contraction in which the muscle exerts a constant tension

    Q35:  What happens when the level of training is higher than the threshold for change?
    A35:  C. Physiological adaptation

    Q36:  Jim has been training with you for 5 weeks and has increased his upper body strength in pull-ups by 25%. He is going on vacation and you are explaining to him the importance of continuing to train while he is away. Approximately how long would it take Jim to lose half of his strength gains?
    A36:  c. 5 weeks

    Q37:  Mary has been training with you for 2 weeks. She can currently perform 45 sit-ups in 2 minutes. What is the best way to progress?
    A37:  b. Aim for 60 sit-ups in 2 minutes.

    Q38:  Jim has been resistance training with you for a month. He has been performing sets of 10-15 repetitions on the leg press. You have been gradually increasing the exercise workload, and he can currently perform 15 leg presses per set with 200 pounds. Which of the following is the best way to progress from here?
    A38: 
    c. Increase the resistance to 210 pounds.

    Q39:  Which stance is most challenging in the final stage of progression for static-balance training?
    A39:  d. Single-leg stance

    Q40:  Bill is training at 80-90% of his 1 repetition maximum on leg press. How long should he typically wait before training his legs again?
    A40:  d. 72 hours

    Q41: James has been training for and competing in triathlons for 5 years. He wants to increase running speed and cycling power. How many times should you suggest he train per week?
    A41: d. 4-7

    Q42:  When training a client to activate their core for the purpose of gaining proximal stability, what exercise modality should come first in the progression?
    A42: b. Sagittal plane shoulder movements with one arm raised off the floor.

    Q43:  Andrew is a 35-year-old man who is looking to increase strength in his upper body. How long should he rest in between sets of a bench press exercise?
    A43:  c. 2-5 minutes

    Q44:  Bob is a 30-year-old man looking to increase muscular endurance for distance running. How long should he rest in between sets on the leg extension machine?
    A44: a. Less than 30 seconds

    Q45:  Beth is a 28-year-old woman who is looking to improve her overall fitness. How long should she rest for in between sets on a leg press exercise?
    A45: b. 30-90 seconds

    Q46:  Why should trainers know CPR, besides the obvious safety for the client?
    A46: C. To avoid a legal claim for failure to provide an emergency response

    Q47:  Which is not a potential risk of injury when using weight machines?
    A47: D. Too heavy of a dumbbell

    Q48:  Incident reports include which of these? I. Facts surrounding the incident II. Opinion about what caused the incident III. Names and contact information of witnesses IV. Signature of individual who experienced the incident
    A48: I, III, and IV only

    Q49:  What is the number one claim against both fitness facilities the fitness professionals?
    A49: A. Falling

    Q50:  Which is a professional that a trainer shouldn’t refer a client to?
    A50: B. Health food store owner

    ACSM Flashcards

    ACSM Flashcards

    ACSM Study Tips

    ACSM Study Tips

    Although I pride myself on having a pretty decent ACSM study guide and other study materials, these are in no means meant to replace the full textbook. These are just tidbits to help you along the way.

    Below is a complete list of additional study tools and study materials that I highly recommend you check out so that you can rock test with a hundred percent confidence. These study materials should be your go-to guides if you want to pass the exam guaranteed

    Premium ACSM study guide

    The free study guide here on Ptpioneer is a decent place to start, and might be the best free study guide out there that I know of.

    That being said, there are definitely better paid options out there that will greatly reduce your study time and focus on the most important parts you need in order to pass the final ACSM exam.

    My study guide has lots of information, but it is not meant to help you save time by any means.

    The company that I recommend the most is Trainer Academy. They have a fantastic group over there and every single student I send their way only tells me fantastic things. Their study guide avoids all the fluff material that you won’t get tested on. This is a fantastic study guide to use whether you have a year to study, and especially if you need to cram as much information in a short period of time.

    More ACSM practice tests

    The ACSM Practice test that I have on my website only contains 50 questions. If you want to feel extremely confident about taking the final exam, you will need a lot more practice using practice tests.

    Overall, I recommend taking at least 3 to 5 practice exams to know if you are 100% prepped. Lots of my students have come to me saying that they failed the exam. Typically the number one reason is that they had never once taken a practice exam before taking the real thing. If they had, they would have realized that they were not prepared enough.

    The best ACSM practice tests can also be found over at Trainer Academy. For the ACSM exam they have five full 150 question practice tests. On top of this, they also have a timer for 2 1/2 hours to simulate the real testing environment.

    If you can pass all five of their practice exams, you will know that you are ready to dominate the real thing.

    Spaced repetition ACSM flashcards

    Every time I start talking about space repetition learning, people pause me and say “Tyler, what the heck are you talking about?”.

    Well, let me tell you. If you have not heard of spaced repetition learning, you are wasting a lot of time studying.

    Basically, spaced repetition flashcards help you separate the flashcards that you know well, from the flashcards that you have a hard time with. From there, you will be continually shown your more difficult cards more frequently and your easier cars less frequently. It is basically a learning algorithm that will save you hours of study time.

    Although my flashcards are pretty decent, they use the standard flashcards study technique which does not take into account flashcards difficulty.

    The team over at Trainer Academy has put together a deck of 700+ space repetition flashcards for ACSM that will save you hours of study time.

    ACSM Mnemonics for the tough parts

    If you asked me which study technique is the best for keeping the information in your long-term memory, I would hands down respond with study mnemonics.

    Although study guides, practice tests, and flashcards are very helpful for studying in passing your personal training exam, these do not help concrete the information in your long-term memory.

    This is where study mnemonics come in. By learning personal training concepts using weird, funny and unusual mnemonics, it will be much harder to forget these principles. This is true even years after you have studied the material.

    I highly suggest either creating your own study mnemonics or picking up some premade ones. The team over at Trainer Academy has also created an excellent deck of 35+ mnemonics to help you study for the ACSM exam.

    Okay, everybody, that’s the end of my ACSM study portal. I hope you have gone great use out of the study materials. Make sure to come through here a few times to use the study guide so that you can obtain the knowledge to become an excellent personal trainer!

    FREE ACSM Study Guide + ACSM Practice test + Flashcards for [year] 158

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