The Monday Memo
January 14, 2019 PITT DPT STUDENTS
Studying For The CSCS
Exercise is the best medicine. That may seem biased, for as physical therapists, exercise is our profession. However, there is no profession that better understands the importance of tissue loading to increase resilience. The overarching vision of our profession is to optimize human movement, and to do so requires advanced knowledge of training principles. The NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) is an excellent certification to pursue in order to enhance this knowledge. Studying for the exam is challenging, so below are some tips to help you along the way.
Old School (Textbook) – The official textbook used to prepare for the CSCS exam is “Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning.” This text is a vital tool to study for the exam and I would consider this a required resource for maximizing your chances of passing. The book covers everything from exercise physiology to nutrition to facility set up, and of course strength training. Covering a chapter per day, you could complete the entire text in about a month, but if you are someone who likes to be more thorough or make a second pass, give yourself a little more time.
Studying App – “NSCA CSCS Pocket Prep,” proved to be the most useful app during my studying. The app itself includes a bank of around 600 exam questions covering each of the main areas found in the exam, practice tests, and daily questions. One useful function of the app is that once any question is answered, an explanation of the correct answer is given along with the reference and corresponding page for that specific information in the “Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning.” Together, these two resources pack a powerful punch when preparing for the exam. The app was $17.99 when I purchased it, and I believe it was worth the investment.
Your Friends/Colleagues – If you are in Physical Therapy school, or are a practicing Physical Therapist interested in becoming a strength and conditioning specialist there is a good chance that a classmate or colleague has already taken the exam and can be a useful resource. Study guides, useful tips, and prior experience from others may make a large impact on your preparation.
(Extra tip) Become an NSCA member when signing up for the exam! The exam can be rather expensive as a non-member and becoming a member before signing up for the exam is a cheaper option. Furthermore, becoming a member allows you access to journals with the most up-to-date strength training information and shows investment in pursuing further development as a strength and conditioning professional.
-Jim Tersak, SPT, CSCS
-Joe Dietrich, SPT, ATC