Free ISSA Study Guide - ISSA personal trainer textbook displayed on table for ISSA studying

Hey everybody, it’s Coach Tyler here!

Welcome to the one and only PT Pioneer Free ISSA personal trainer certification exam study guide. This guide is tailored towards students who want the details across all key subjects and areas to maximize their ISSA exam score.

This is the most updated International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) study guide which covers the following:

  • Chapter-by-chapter study guide
  • Navigation and study tips
  • Recommendations on combining this study material with other ISSA study materials

Secrets to Passing the ISSA Exam

Secret #1:

Get your copy of the ISSA CPT exam cheat sheet and our study plan. It helps immensely in your ability to study for the ISSA test.

Secret #2:

My PTP students report cutting their ISSA study time and effort in half with Trainer Academy. 

Benefit from the Exam Pass Guarantee and Retake Fee Guarantee. Plus, take advantage of my current discount code PTPJULY for 45% off the MVP Program (Ends July 19th, 2024). 

Try it out for free here to see if it’s right for you, or read my detailed review for further insights.

Secret #3:

The PT Pioneer ISSA study guide will take numerous sessions to complete. I don’t expect you to knock it out in one shot. With that said be sure to bookmark this page to ensure you can find it for your next ISSA Study Session.

Trust me, you will be very frustrated if you lose this specific ISSA exam study material.

Alright, let’s dive into the best ISSA exam prep, the ISSA CPT exam study guide!

ISSA CPT Study Series

FREE ISSA Study Guide Updated for 2024

ISSA Study Guide

ISSA CPT 10th Edition Chapters

ISSA CPT 9th Edition Chapters

  1. ISSA Unit 1 – Metabolism
  2. ISSA Unit 2 – Basic Anatomy and Physiology
  3. ISSA Unit 3 – Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Physiology
  4. ISSA Unit 4 – Kinesiology of Exercise
  5. ISSA Unit 5 – Biomechanics of Exercise
  6. ISSA Unit 6 – Musculoskeletal Deviations
  7. ISSA Unit 7 – Muscle Mechanics
  8. ISSA Unit 8 – Strength
  9. ISSA Unit 9 – Cardiovascular Training
  10. ISSA Unit 10 – Flexibility Training
  11. ISSA Unit 11 – Body Composition
  12. ISSA Unit 12 – Drawing-In Phase
  13. ISSA Unit 13 – Basic Assessment of Fitness Participants
  14. ISSA Unit 14 – Training Principles
  15. ISSA Unit 15 – Periodization
  16. ISSA Unit 16 – Determining Training Loads
  17. ISSA Unit 17 – The Big Picture of Nutrition
  18. ISSA Unit 18 – Nutritional Psychology
  19. ISSA Unit 19 – Nutritional Science
  20. ISSA Unit 20 – Nutritional Coaching
  21. ISSA Unit 21 – Exercise and Older Adults
  22. ISSA Unit 22 – Exercise and Adaptive Fitness
  23. ISSA Unit 23 – Exercise and Our Youth
  24. ISSA Unit 24 – Exercise and Hypertension
  25. ISSA Unit 25 – Exercise and Diabetes
  26. ISSA Unit 26 – Exercise and Arthritis
  27. ISSA Unit 27 – Exercise and Coronary Heart Disease
  28. ISSA Unit 28 – Exercise and Pregnancy
  29. ISSA Unit 29 – Exercise and Asthma
  30. ISSA Unit 30 – Sports Medicine In The Trenches
  31. ISSA Unit 31 – Basic First Aid

You should know that the ISSA website offers a 4-week ISSA Fast Track study plan option, including online study materials, access to a dedicated student success coach, ISSA community membership, and a free CPR/AED certification course.

There is also a pass protection which offers a free retest for those who fail the exam.

But the PTPioneer ISSA-certified personal trainer study guide answers the exact questions from the official ISSA personal training certification study guide included with the official cert textbook. Details matter, and overpaying for resources you can get elsewhere never makes sense.

ISSA covers everything you want to learn, from exercise science and anatomy to the basic fundamentals of strength training. The requirements for learning these skills and abilities include sticking to a strict study schedule regardless of whether you study from the books or plan to take your exam at one of the test center locations.

You can either start studying for your final exam before you purchase the ISSA certification program, or you can use this page to double-check your answers as you answer them yourself.

Whether you’re fresh out of high school or earning this credential to fulfill continuing education units (CEUs) for recertification purposes, these ISSA practice questions and practice tests will help you pass your exam.

Other ISSA Study Guide Tips

ISSA Study Tips - Tyler Read flexes his arm while displaying a board that says ISSA study tips

This ISSA CPT Exam Prep Hub is not meant to replace studying from the ISSA textbook completely. It is meant to supplement studying from it.

In my perspective, the ISSA CPT is among the top certifications for fitness professionals, in line with NASM, ACSM, and NSCA.

The National Commission has only recently accredited the ISSA CPT exam for Certifying Agencies, or NCCA.

NCCA accreditation is the gold standard accreditation in the fitness industry and is acknowledged by all gyms.

That’s why most fitness trainer programs and specializations, such as group exercise, master trainer, powerlifting, and nutritionist credentials, are accredited.

Do I need to study for the ISSA exam thoroughly?

How do I study for ISSA in other ways?

Let me make the following suggestions to help you ace your ISSA personal trainer exam and accelerate your budding personal training career.

Use ISSA Flashcards

Sure, the flashcards I provide on this ISSA CPT Exam Prep Study Hub are a great place to start.

But quite honestly, there are not that many flashcards, and it does not utilize spaced repetition flashcard learning.

And why does that matter?

Spaced repetition flashcard learning is a flashcard studying method in which the more difficult flashcards show up more often, and the easier flashcards show up with less frequency.

This clever algorithm learns which cards are easy for you and which are hard based on how you rate yourself as you study them.

This flashcard studying method covers hundreds of definitions in the ISSA textbook and workbook, saves you hours of studying time, and helps you memorize these definitions and concepts long after testing.

The team over at Trainer Academy has an excellent deck of over 750 flashcards for ISSA.

Although the pass rate for the ISSA CPT exam is currently at 90%, I still recommend using flashcards.

Create Mnemonics

Using mnemonics Is one of the other tips I have for studying for the ISSA exam.

I suggest creating some extremely weird and unique situations/stories for particular concepts in the textbook.

Find the concepts that you are having trouble memorizing and create your own mnemonics to help with retention.

I highly recommend making your mnemonics as weird as you possibly can.

For example, I like to include animals, aliens, superheroes, etc.

“One Slow Red Ox” is a great way to memorize Type I muscle fibers, which are slow twitch, red, and use oxidative metabolism.

Trust me, people who use mnemonics are much more likely to memorize a certain topic than those who are simply trying to memorize concepts directly from the textbook.

Cementing this information from the textbook in your head with mnemonics is the best way to become an elite trainer and maintain that status for years to come.

Also, Trainer Academy has some pretty awesome and funny mnemonics for ISSA.

ISSA Cheat Sheet

A cheat sheet is best to help you remember mostly tougher concepts in the book, similar to how mnemonics help.

While going through the text and your training program, put the most important information all on one page, especially if you have it nearby for practice exams.

I’ve done this with the exercise science section and have had great success with learning the concepts.

You can either create your own or visit the PTpioneer cheatsheet by clicking the button below.

FREE ISSA Study Guide

Our free study guide should help you with your goals.

Dive into your ISSA CPT studies now by clicking the link below to start with ISSA Chapter 1!

FREE ISSA Study Guide [year] - Studying Made Simple 2

FAQ’s about ISSA Exam

How long does it take to study for ISSA?

The time it takes to study for the ISSA certification typically ranges from 8 to 12 weeks, depending on the individual’s prior knowledge, study habits, and the amount of time dedicated to studying each week.

How hard is the ISSA final exam?

The ISSA final exam is considered moderately challenging, requiring a solid understanding of the course material, including exercise science, nutrition, and training principles.

Is ISSA harder than NASM?

The difficulty of ISSA compared to NASM varies depending on individual strengths and learning styles. Generally, NASM is considered more challenging due to its in-depth focus on corrective exercise and advanced training techniques, while ISSA is often seen as more accessible with its broader, more general approach to fitness training.

Is ISSA test open book?

Yes, the ISSA test is open book, allowing candidates to refer to their course materials and textbooks while taking the exam. This format is designed to test the application of knowledge rather than memorization.

Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


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All content published on PTPioneer is checked and reviewed extensively by our staff of experienced personal trainers, nutrition coaches, and other Fitness Experts. This is to make sure that the content you are reading is fact-checked for accuracy, contains up-to-date information, and is relevant. We only add trustworthy citations that you can find at the bottom of each article. You can read more about our editorial integrity here.

Ask me a question and I will reply ASAP

46 thoughts on “FREE ISSA Study Guide 2024 – Studying Made Simple”

  1. Hi
    When i have to pay for online cpt ? İs it when i am ready to do the test ?
    İ mean is it after i finish the study guidance ?

    Reply
    • Hey, this is just my own free study guide meant to help as many learners as possible. There is no cost, but I also do not offer the exam to get officially certified, just materials to help you learn for that exam. You can find the official ISSA CPT materials and exam from their website. Check out my review on the ISSA CPT, https://www.ptpioneer.com/study-issa/.

      Reply
  2. Hey Tyler,
    Thank you for the info and materials!
    One quick question: do you think the Master Trainer vs the Elite Trainer pack is worth it? Im not fully sure all the specialisations are the same value.
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hey Rafael, both the Master Trainer and Elite Trainer packs are worth it, but it depends on the amount of certifications and specializations you desire. In general, the specialization course may be a slightly smaller value than the full certification courses, but they all compliment each other well for the general trainer.

      Which of these specializations and certifications are you on the fence about? Is there one that is standing out to you more when looking at the total value?

      Reply
  3. Tyler,
    Excellent content but lease consider hiring a proofreader. There are several misspelled words in your flash cards. ex-scorliosis should be scoliosis. Just one example.

    Reply
  4. I am really getting a bit bothered because I still have not been able to order the MVP package which is a $100 off today I have checked out several things and still can’t place an order could someone please help me

    Reply
    • Hello Mary, I am not sure what you are referring to, I do not sell products on PTPioneer, all of the information and study resources are free.

      Reply
    • Hey Mary, the study guide has been recently update and includes 7 main pages of information to go through with a full study guide. I hope there is enough to kickstart your studies.

      Reply
  5. I am trying to access the free study guide but every time I enter my name and email it just shows a circle like it’s loading and never goes through.

    Reply
    • Hey Sarah, the study guide is found on the page, but the Cheat Sheet is found by entering name and email, and then I email you the sheet.

      Reply
  6. Hi Tyler,

    Do you recommend using the study guide as I read each unit, or read each unit, then consult the study guide? Or is this more preferential? I find that taking and reviewing loads of notes are quite taxing, so I was wondering if I could just read this study as I go along the course, and add things that I personally see fit, instead of taking copious amounts of notes
    Thank you,
    Alan

    Reply
  7. Hello for a non native speaker do you recommend Fast track CPT issa or Self guided stusy with the trainer academy pack (MVP] ? Im bit scared to not understand all vocab in english.
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi there, both of those would be great. I’d recommend the Trainer Academy Pack for non-native English speakers because the material is written in plain Englis and easy to understand. Good luck with your studies.

      Reply
  8. Are your study guides in addition to taking the ISSA CPT course from the ISSA website? Of can you get your study guides only and not take the ISSA course to save money?

    Reply
    • These are in addition to the international sports Sciences Association. This will help you study for the exam, but you still need to purchase and pass their exam in order to get the certification.

      Reply
  9. Hi Tyler, thanks for this article, it was very useful. I have just graduated from high school and have been into fitness for the past four years. Over this time, I have learned about training methods, exercise technique, periodization, etc; and I have become good at explaining these things to people who have less experience. I am considering doing my ISSA certification this summer because I like the flexibility of the online program; would you say that getting the ISSA certification is obtainable for someone who doesn’t have a degree, and doesn’t have a deep science understanding?

    Thanks Tyler, your response is much appreciated!

    -Cameron-

    Reply
    • Yes, absolutely you should have no trouble studying for the international sports Sciences Association certification. You don’t need a degree in exercise science to take any of these certifications. Just focused time studying and you will do just fine on the exam. Good luck with your personal training career Cameron.

      Reply
  10. I have tied several times now to get the “ISSA exam cheat sheet for free here”, I would like to be able to check my answers, not to cheat the test, as I have studied hard and I would just like to check my answers against the sheet you would send me, if it is actually available as you say, “free” Please send this to my email as I said I have requested it several times and it leads me to a site that wants $29.00, is this free as advertised? If so than would you please make it available and send to my email.
    Your response would be appreciated.

    Reply
  11. Hi, is it just me or are the practice questions for the quizzes and the questions in the workbook for the quizzes completely different from the actual quiz questions for the ISSA website quizzes?

    Reply
    • Hey mimi, the question should be radically different. On the real exam you will see lots of different questions getting pulled from lots of different chapters. They come from a large pool of questions so you should be prepared from anything that you see in the textbook.

      Reply
  12. Hi! I purchased the “fast track” package for ISSA & it has a fasttrack guide in which they condensed the entire textbook into 50 pgs. By studying and knowing the 50pg fasttrack book alone, is that really sufficent enough to pass the exam as they claim? I feel it’s too good to be true..

    Reply
    • Hey Lyn,
      For the most part, the fast track guide from the international sports Sciences Association is pretty legitimate. it will help you focus on the most important parts of the textbook in order to have the best chance of passing the exam possible. Overall, the exam is pretty easy compared to other personal training certifications as everything is done online. So, I would not be so worried.

      Reply
  13. I’ve read through a lot of your articles and you’ve really inspired me to pursue a career I’m passionate about, thank you! Also, I wanted to let you know there’s a flashcard app called Anki that uses the spaced repetition technique you spoke of; It really does a fantastic job engraving it into memory! Keep up the amazing work!

    Reply
    • Hello Kayla,
      I’m glad that you are enjoying my site and I’m also fantastic that you are looking forward to pursuing a career in fitness. That is so awesome! yes, I have heard of and I do use Anki all time. In fact, it’s basically the biggest reason I was able to learn Spanish! it really is an in-depth application with a lot of different options. I don’t recommend it to everybody because is not the simplest space repetition application out there but is deftly the best one if you are looking for a lot of options. Good luck with all the studying and I’m sure you are going to be come a fantastic trainer. In the end are you going with the international sports sciences Association?

      Reply
  14. Thank you so much for this page and what you do! I would never had realized how accessible my dream was were it not for your page helping in the decision making process! These study guides are life-saving.

    Reply
    • Hey Angela,
      I’m glad to see that my study guide for the international sports sciences Association is helping you out. This is a fantastic certification no doubt about it. Good luck with all the studying and don’t hesitate to leave me another comment!

      Reply
        • Hey Taylor,
          I will actually be coming out with The secrets to passing the ISSA exam article and probably the next week or two. I was stay tuned for that and you’ll learn a lot about what you need to know for the final exam. I hope this helps

          Reply
          • What should i worrie more on this final erxam? and also i heard that there a section where you have to write an essay idk and im not sure
            can you answer that for me please so i can prepare mself for it thank you so much Govanny

          • The essay section is actually not present in the ISSA exam anymore. I would focus your studies on the primary domains that I detail in the study materials’ main page. They are all very important.

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100 ISSA Practice Q's