Lance Lawson

3504 Chancellor Ave

Modesto, CA 95350

209 544 0518


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Personal Training and Strength Training exam

Exercise Science Alliance

Lance Lee Lawson



49 questions and

4 Macro cycle situations

Resources Applied: Personal Trainer Handbook, PaperBack &

Personal Trainer Handbook, Hardback. 3rd Edition.

Reference pages, HB=Hardback, PB=Paperback, some Internet Usage.




1.      Describe proper body mechanics to use when doing a squat (emphasis on the knee). HB 99-100
A full squat that creates an angle less than 90 degrees, especially with additional weight should be avoided. Neither should you be sitting on the lower legs. Any knee position that puts a twisting pressure on the knee joint should be avoided.


2.      Describe dorsi flexion and plantar flexion (use diagrams as necessary). HB 84-85, 248, 424?
Movements of the ankle joint. Toes toward the body and flexion away from the body.

3.      Is it possible to spot reduce? Why and why not. Internet printouts index in rear.
This is a myth. The body decides to pull fat from areas that depends on genetics ( fat pattering). In general, last fat comes of first.
Fat and muscle are different kinds of tissue. Actually working these areas might enlarge them due to muscle growth.


4.      Explain why aerobic activities aid in fat reduction. PB 123
Exercises increases your metabolism. The body will adjust and the fat cells will become more efficient at releasing fat and less likely to store excess energy as fat.
In my words, exercise will increase metabolism up to many hours after initial workout. This will cause a “double win” for the client.




5.      List topics when working with obese clients. PB 70.
Initially low intensity and progressively longer durations of exercises.
Gradually increase client into the THR range.
Higher intensity will allow for shorter duration per session, or less weekly sessions.
Higher intensity will encourage some clients to do activities that naturally require a higher rate of energy expenditure.

6.      List exercises that are contraindicated for persons that are hypertensive. List modifications. HB 9-10, 365-366, PB 71
Endurance exercise lowers blood pressure.
Physician prescribed medication.
Frequency, intensity, duration and mode same as healthy adults.
Exercise at 40-70% of VO2MAX.
Resistance training should not be primary form of exercise. Can be used partly.
Never hold breath while lifting.


7.      For what reasons does the ACOG not recommend supine exercises after the forth month of pregnancy?  HB 358-360, PB 78
This decreases cardiac output in most pregnant women. Be aware of decreased oxygen available for aerobic exercise during pregnancy. Modify according to maternal symptoms.


8.      Describe and explain,

A. Muscular strength,
The ability of the muscle to generate the maximum amount of force.
Part of the total fitness system which brings a better quality of life.

Initial gains in strength occur without growth (size) to muscle.
Increase in strength (25-100%) occur within 3-6 months.
8 to 10 weeks of training gains are combined with neural adaptation and increases in mass.
Testosterone is believed to be necessary for increases in muscle mass.
Generally, a women’s total body strength is 63.5% of a mans.
Upper women’s strength is 55.8% of mans and lower is 71.9 of man’s.
B. Muscular power,
Ability to exert muscular strength quickly.

C. Muscular endurance. HB 23, 230-246.

The ability of the muscle to perform repetitive contractions over a prolonged period of time. Curl up test and push up test are two of the most common forms of measure.
Curl up test for abdominal muscle group and push ups for the upper body.

9.      Define and describe ballistic and static stretching. Give pros and cons on each method. HB 94-95, 296-297.
A ballistic movement occurs with a rapid movement. The agonist muscles contracting concentrically to initiate movement..then coasting. In which there is minimal muscle activity…and lastly, follow thru with an eccentric contraction of the antagonist muscles to decelerate the movement.

10.  List and describe 5 methods for measuring body composition. HB 166-181 .
1. Hydrostatic

2. Caliper pinch test.

3. Electrical Impedance.

4. Infrared.

5. Measuring tape.


11.  Explain the BORG scale of perceived exertion. Give examples of usage. HB 215-216, 277
A scale using perceived exertion with a numerical code to determine the level of exertion. The scale helps clients tune into their bodies since metabolism and functions can vary from day to day.


12.  List and explain 10 long term physiological changes you would expect from a CV program. Internet po, HB 70, Internet research. PB 28.
a. Reduce risk of dying prematurely.

b. “…………..” of dying from heart disease.

c. “…………..” of getting diabetes.

d. . “…………..” of getting high blood pressure.

e. Reduce high blood pressure.

f. Reduce chance of colon cancer.

g. Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety

h. Builds bones, muscles, and joints.

      i. Reduces risk of falling and coordination of elderly adults.

j. Promotes Psychological well being.

13.  List those risk factors that are avoidable and those NOT in performing a prescreening health assessment / why. PB 9.


Unavoidable= Family history, Age,, Gender, Race.

Avoidable= Lifestyle, Obesity, Smoking, Diet, Hypertension, Coping w/ stress.


14.  Define SYSTOLIC and DIASTOLIC  when taking blood pressure readings. List the physiological and behavioral factors that influence blood pressure. HB 69,62. Internet po.

Systolic blood pressure (SBP). The pressure exerted on the vessel walls during ventricular contraction. Measured in millimeters of mercury by the sphygmomanometer.
Diastolic blood pressure (DPB). The pressure exerted on the walls during the resting portion of the cardiac cycle. Measured in millimeters of mercury by a sphygmomanometer.

Blood pressure is sensed by BARORECEPTORS in the arch of the aorta and in the carotid arteries.

Endurance training increases the number of mitochondria and capillaries in muscle causing all active fibers to become more oxidative. Endurance training decreases the time it takes to achieve a steady rate in sub maximal exercise. Endurance training also increases the volume of the ventricle without increase in the wall thickness. Maximal aerobic power increases also.

Behaviors factors such as diet, sleep, smoking, coping with stress, exercise will all contribute to blood pressure as will inherited traits.


15.  Differentiate between benefits and limitations of free weight and machine weight training. HB 297-302.
Advantages of dynamic constant/variable resistance training include the ability to train the muscles through a complete range of motion while providing visual feed back. Disadvantages of this type of training mode can include machine weights (expensive), space required (large), and convenience (varying constant resistance exercises like the bench press with free weights can require a partner).


16.  What is a beta blocker? HB 449. How do they influence exercise and performance. What precautions need to be considered when training an individual on beta blockers?
Beta blockers commonly prescribed for patients with coronary artery disease, hypertension and occasionally migraine headaches. Beta blockers are generally used to reduce heart rate and vigor of myocardial contraction. Thus reducing the oxygen needed by the heart. Because of the effect on the sub maximal and maximal heart rate. These have a profound effect on the exercise prescriptions. Subjects should be tested if they will train on these medications. These lower the heart rate at rest and more during exercise. Can result in labored breathing, shortness of breath and asthma like symptoms. There has been some questions as to whether the use of blockers reduces or blocks the effectiveness of endurance training. These results see to be varied according to the medications taken.  


17.  List 5 reasons for spotting your client. PB 61.


Introduction to (proper form and technique), Safety, Assistance, Encouragement, Count, Help.

18.  Define the following:

Eccentric. HB 94-95.

An eccentric contraction occurs when a muscle generates a tension that is not great enough to cause movement but instead acts as a brake to control the speed of movement caused by another force. To adduct the arm more slowly than gravity, the same muscles that contracted concentrically to abduct the arm now contract eccentrically to control the speed of the lowering arm.


Concentric. HB 91, 93-94.

An concentric contraction occurs when a muscle contracts forcibly enough to actually shorten. This shortening pulls the bones of attachment closer to each other causing movement at the joint.


Isotonic, Internet po.
Fixed or free weight. Both forms carried out against a fixed resistance.

Isotonic contraction creates tension with maximum effort at the beginning and end of each exercise.



Exercise HB 73-74, 95,  Training, 296-297

Moving a muscle against an immovable object. LATIN for length. Same length of
each. During an Isometric or static contraction the muscle exerts a force that
counteracts an opposing force. The muscle length does not change so no

movement occurs. ~ pushing against a wall.

Isokinetic HB 300
LATIN 4 movement. Force is same though ROM.

Isokinetic refers to a muscular contraction performed at a constant angular velocity. Unlike other types of resistance training there is no set resistance to meet, rather, the velocity of movement is controlled.


19.  What is SuperSet, list 2 different methods of how a superset can be used and examples of each. HB 302-303
A super set requires the performance of two exercises in a sequence, followed by a rest interval. A super set exercises one muscle group to fatigue and then immediately works the antagonistic group to fatigue.
You would exercise the biceps and then the triceps immediately afterwards.
You could also do leg extensions (quadriceps) followed by a leg curl (hamstring).
Super sets are usually used with one joint exercises with a short rest between sets.

20.  Explain the positive and negative phases of a lift. Examples of each. HB
A single lift consists of two parts. The positive or lifting motion and the negative or lowering motion. The lifting motion can consist of pushing or pulling efforts. The negative is considered the most beneficial and should be done slowly and smoothly.
They refer to these motions as  flexion (decreasing the angle of the joints) and extension (increasing the angle). Another term for positive movement is concentric and the negative movement …eccentric.


21.  Define Max VO2. HB 58-64.

VO2 is measured by subtracting the volume of oxygen exhaled from the volume of oxygen inhaled. A two way valve is used, a classic air in…exhaled air to a meteorological balloon.


22.  Why is proper hydration a necessary consideration both in terms of performance and physiology. HB 281.
Generally during exercise the focus should be water and not salt or carbohydrate stores. Fit people have a lower risk of heat injury, can tolerate more heat in working and to acclimatize to heat faster. Seven to ten days of exercise in the heat increases our capacity to sweat, and to sweat at a lower body temperature. Also it reduces salt loss. Lack of hydration increases chance of heat injury. As much skin surface as possible should be present to allow evaporation. Evaporation is dependent on water vapor pressure gradient between skin and environment. Lower humidity facilitates evaporation of sweat. In heat, decreasing work load lowers strain with physiological systems.
Wind increases molecules (contact of) and convection and evaporation increase.

23.  What are guidelines for a safe program working with the arthritic population. HB 249. PB 76.
Client should exercise within comfortable range. (own).
Remind client that exercise will not be pain free but in future the pain might may be reduced and the disability improved.
Start slowely, and gradually increase repetitions and duration.
Perform gentle ROM movements in the morning to decrease stiffness and in the evening to loosen up.
Clients with rheumatoid arthritis should continue ROM during inflammation with fewer reps and avoid overstretching.
Heat reducesses stiffness and cold packs decrease pain. Use packs no more than 20 minutes and let body return to normal temperature between use.

24.  Define the term “anabolic androgenic steroid”.
Anabolic steroids are drugs which resemble androgenic hormones (male hormones) such as testosterone. Athletes consume for the hope of gaining weight, strength, power, speed, endurance and aggressiveness.


25.  Describe the physiological benefits of a proper warm up. HB 304-5, 350

Faster enzymatic reactions at higher body temperatures. Perhaps less lactate production and consequently less fatigue. Can increase arousal so mental set is set for optimal performance. Also increases blood flow and heart’s response to stress.

26.  What is type1 and type 2 diabetes? HB 360-365, 420-1.

Type 1 is lack of insulin. Type 2 is resistance to insulin.

Type 1 is insulin dependent primary in young adults with rapid signs or symptoms.

Type 2, about 90% of all diabetics are here.

Type 1 is linked to obesity.

Primary treatment for type 2 is diet and exercise.


27.  Explain the administration of the 3 minute step test. Explain using the standard test result guidelines. PB 19
Client will stand with feet equal and forward and “step up” on a 12” step and back down and then use the other foot. They will do this as fast as possible.
Monitor recovery pulse for one minute.
Excellent= Men-80-94………Women-79-87


28.  Explain the sit and reach test using an measurements tape. Explain the low back and hamstring exercises you give to an inflexible client. HB 254-255

Flexibility (the range of motion possible at a joint)
Sit and reach with box in front of feet and measuring tape on floor with no shoes. Four attempts are given.

Excellent… 22”+…..Women…..24”+

Good………men 16.5-21” Women…..17.5-23”

Fair……… 12-16”….Women…..15-17”


29.  What are the ACSM guidelines for frequency, duration and intensity for developing and maintaining cardio respiratory?
Frequency: 3-5 days a week.
Intensity: 60-90% MHR
Duration: 20-60 Minutes.
Mode: Aerobic.
50-85% maximum oxygen uptake.
50-85% max heart rate reserve.
40-50% of maximum heart rate reserve or max oxygen uptake for clients with low level fitness.


30.   What are the ACSM guidelines for resistance training? List exercises, repetitions, and frequency.

Frequency: At least 2 days a week.
Intensity: Moderate resistances.
Duration: About 1 hour.
Mode: Strength training-major muscles.

31.  List Pros and Cons of the 3 minute step test and the 12 minute run/walk. HB 210


Little equipment needed.

Can be done anywhere.

Easily adapted to.

Can be used on a regular basis.



Limited number of stages that can be feasibly included for any one bench height  and individual fitness level and the difficulty of taken certain measurements during the test….BP.


32.  Why is the development of muscular power important to the complete training program of the athlete?
These developments increase peak power. There are physiological and biomechanical adaptations resulting from….that can be achieved in no other way. Successful performance depends on many physiological, biochemical, psychological, and nutritional factors. A critical factor in the physiological domain is the force production of the contracting musculature. A greater force production must be generated to achieve a more desirable training effect for greater adaptation.


33.  Of the three types of muscular training (isotonic, isometric, isokinetic) which one (s) produce increases in strength, power, and endurance, why?

Isokinetic type training combines dynamic full range of motion with exertion of maximal force. Studies comparing isokinetic training with others are:

Isokinetic offers 47% peak force gains.

Dynamic offers 29% peak force gains.

Isometric offers 13% peak force gains.

More research is needed.

Data for this question (along with most others) from: Health Fitness Instructors Handbook..3rd Edition…Howley/Franks.


34.  Explain one theory of delayed onset muscle soreness. (D.O.M.S). HB 235

Muscle soreness 12 to 48 hours after exercise. DOMS appears to be related to the type of muscle contraction. Eccentric-type contractions generate greater DOMS than concentric and isometric types of contractions. Isokinetic exercises produce minimum DOMS. A. Spasm Hypothesis= Accumulation of a pain causing substance in the muscle. Produce more ISCHEMIA that contribute to the pain.

Other theories. B. Connective Tissue Damage Hypothesis.

C. Skeletal Muscle Damage Hypothesis.



35.  Can a world class sprinter benefit from a weight training program?, Explain.

Yes, this training program will increase capillarization in the muscle fiber, increased availability of fuel to the muscles, improved muscle endurance by increases in cell mitochondria. Also increased inter-cellular fiber density, stronger bones, and stronger connective tissue. May also protect against injury.


36.  List 5 components of physical fitness. HB 23.

1.      Body Composition, % Fat.

2.      Flexibility, range of motion.

3.      Muscular Strength. Single repetition.

4.      Muscular Endurance. Repeated ~ push ups.

5.      Cardiovascular Capacity. Dist O2.


37.  What is interval training? Give an example of a program. PB 85-86

Interval training is exercise mixed with period of rest. Most beneficial for maintaining momentum at beginning and end of event. Periods of short bursts.

Work interval of 10 seconds 100% intensity, recovery 10 seconds. 20-30 work intervals per session and 3 or 4 sessions per week. Note. Continuous exercise is safer and better for weight loss. Interval training most effective for increasing tolerance of anaerobic activity.


38.  What is somatotyping? How can this help your client. Internet.
Somatotyping is a method of description and assessment of the body on 3 shapes and composition scales. 1. Endomorphy=relative fatness. 2. Mesomorphy= Relative musculoskeletal robustness and 3. Ectomorphy= Relative linearity. The controversies regarding this are present. Can explain how growth will happen with the genetics present.

39.  How does the body regulate its body temperature. (4 methods). What effect does air temperature, clothing, and humidity have on the cooling system of the body. HB 75-77

1.      Radiation: no physical contact involved. Loss depends on the temperature difference between entities.

2.      Conduction: transfer by contact, direct. Loss depends again on temperature difference.

3.       Convection: special case of conduction. Transfer to air or water molecules  which become lighter and rise away from the body.

4.      Evaporation of sweat: Liquid water converted to gas. During exercise this is the primary source for heat loss. At rest it is 25% of cooling system.


Evaporation is dependent on the water vapor pressure gradient between skin and air. NOT directly dependent on temperature.  Dependent on relative humidity and saturation pressure at that air temperature.



40.   What is the effect of altitude on physical performance. HB 64, 287.
VO2 decreases with increasing altitude. 7400 feet ~ 88% of sea level. Heart must pump more blood to meet Oxygen requirements. Oxygen is bonded to the hemoglobin. Heart rate is increased to make up for the lack of O2.

41.  Why do male athletes gain more mass than a female for the same amount of intensity training. HB73.
Women with estrogen offer different fat stores than men. Estrogen is resistant to fat loss. Estrogen actually help women hold on to their fat stores. Recent research shows high fat (back of the knee to the buttocks). Women need to combine both diet and exercise more than men which can see some results with exercise only.

42.  If a client reaches plateau while training and progression slows or stops, what would you attribute this to and how you would you overcome it. Internet printout.
Monitor over  training symptoms. Are they there?

Switch workout patterns. Muscles are becoming accustomed to the training.

Vary training routine.

Cycle your training. ~ a simple 8 week program with alternating heavy-lighter sessions. Then take a week off.

Select different exercises and movement.

Notice your form, are you cheating? Feel the muscle.

43.  As a fitness professional, explain how you would correct a client’s muscle imbalance of tight pectoralis major and minor muscle groups and weak rhomboids, posterior deltoids and trapezius.
Muscle imbalance implies an increase strength ratio of the agonist and antagonist muscles in a extremity, or asymmetry in agonist or antagonist muscles between the extremities. An injury is much more likely to occur if this imbalance exists.

44.  If you had to choose only five exercises for a strength training program, which would you choose and why?
3 sets of 6-10 RM resistance, 3 days a week for the major muscle groups.
Legs, Back, Chest, Arms and Abs.

45.  What is Fartlek training? Give an example for the sport of cycling….Internet attachment. Varied pace significantly during event. Regarded as advanced training method. Similar to interval training, no predetermined schedule to follow. Depending on the client’s feelings, this pace will be set. Requires honesty by client to be successful since beliefs are involved in settings.

46.  What is the valsalva effect? Name a special population where this can be dangerous and why? Straining, bearing down, holding your breath on exertion. High blood pressure ~ hypertension.


47.  A common misconception is that large amounts of protein is necessary while on a strength training program, explain why this is not true?

Carbohydrates are needed to produce energy for the intensity of exercise.
An athlete’s diet has to be balanced. Above all it is carbohydrates and fats which the body turns to energy. Ideally high in carbs and low in fats. Carbs is the primary energy source for muscles. Water as well. Strength should have a significant presence of protein.


48.  How many calories are in one gram of (FAT, Protein, and Carbohydrate)?

When you eat 1 gram of protein, you get 4 calories.
When you eat 1 gram of carbohydrates you get 4 calories.
When you eat 1 gram of fat, you get 9 calories.

49.  When training the abdominal region, what are the advantages of crunches as compared to straight leg sit ups?

Straight leg sit ups put pressure on the lower spine and cannot be recommended.

Several studies show bent knee crunches with feet unsupported maximize abdominal activity and minimize hip flexor activity.