View Full Version : NSCA vs NASM

Howard Wilcox
05-07-2007, 08:01 PM
Nadia's response to another thread made me think of it and I didn't want to hijack so I'll ask in a new one.

What are the pros/cons to NSCA vs NASM (or others)?

This is not primarily for information (have crossfit for that) but rather to get insurance or possibly to train people at other facilities. That said, quality information is usually better.

From briefly looking at the websites, it appears the NASM is a done via computer through testing centers and that the customer can more or less decide when to take it. Is this correct? The NSCA test, otoh, is given in certain cities at certain times necessitating travel and stuff.

How does the content of the CPT exam differ? Is one appreciably easier? Which has a better textbook?

Any other useful information is very much appreciated.



John Seiler
05-08-2007, 12:26 PM
Hi Howard,

NSCA is more "athletic training" focused (at least the CSCS.) NASM has a lot of corrective exercise focus. As a CSCS, I have to wonder if you wouldn't be better off with the NASM. CrossFit has plenty of useful info on ahtletic training protocol but we don't focus much on corrective stuff.

Nadia Shatila
05-10-2007, 11:30 AM
Hey Howard-

You are correct the NASM exam is done at a testing center, and you the customer can decide when and where you would like to take the exam. You have 120 days from the date you register for your material to complete the exam. I like that aspect, as I started studying and didn't schedule my exam until last week when I finished the book. I didn't want to set a date and not be ready, so it is nice that you have the flexability with NASM.

I'm not very familiar with the NSCA, for somereason I thought you had to have an exercise related BA to take that exam, but I'm guessing that is not the case as I don't see that requirement posted on their website. Maybe that was for the CSCS and the CPT is different.

John is right, NASM spends a lot of time covering corrective exercise which I can see being very useful. The trouble I am having with the rest of it though is NASM has their own training model which is confusing to me. Each level of training incorporates different tempos, and I think that is where I will struggle on the exam.

I have no idea which is easier, Im assuming NASM is easier then NSCA.

Best of luck!

Wayne Nelson
05-12-2007, 08:05 PM
As I understand it, the NSCA CSCA requires a related Bachelor's or higher degree as well as the NASM PES (Performanc Enhancement Specialist). The CPT of either club doesn't require a Bachelor's.

As an aside, I heard that NASM is now owned by 24Hour Fitness. I haven't been able to confirm that, tho.

Carrie Klumpar
05-13-2007, 03:41 PM
Tempos?? WTF?

I think that answers the question about NASM... :carton:

(Oops, did I say that out loud?)

Franklin Shogie
05-14-2007, 10:59 AM

I think that you were referring to this announcement, link is w/f safe NASM Strategic Business Partnership (http://www.nasm.org/newsevents/default.aspx?id=1054)

Lincoln Brigham
05-14-2007, 01:13 PM
"Nautilus... has announced a partnership with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) to provide research and training support for new fitness products and introduce new education programs for fitness professionals."

"NASM is a global leader in developing evidence-based health and fitness solutions""

Looks like the NASM has gone - or will go - heavy into equipment-based training for fitness despite the lack of evidence that machines provide any significant advantage over bodyweight and free-weight exercises. Several of the alliances (http://www.nasm.org/about/default.aspx?id=270&ekmensel=8_submenu_0_link_4) that NASM have signed up with have at times taken on a decided anti-Crossfit stance and the NASM has heavy ties to many of the Globo Gyms.

Additionally, the NASM is for-profit while the NSCA is non-profit.

Nadia Shatila
05-14-2007, 02:28 PM
Lincon, Franklin, Wayne

Thanks for the info...looks like I choose the wrong route! augh!

Carrie, the temos are ridiculous. I just took my practice test and missed every question regarding the tempo. On the rest of the exam I had to make a conscious effort to pick the 'wrong' answers...still passed the practice test though. :-)

Becca Borawski
05-14-2007, 03:17 PM
The NSCA-CSCS does require a bachelor's degree, but the don't care whether it's in a relevant field or not. I have an NSCA-CSCS and I have a film degree. :-)

Nadia Shatila
05-14-2007, 05:44 PM
Thanks Becca, very good to know. I'd like to also get NSCA certified sometime, so it's nice to know my B.A. in political science will come in useful for something. ha. ;-)

Adam Noble
05-14-2007, 06:07 PM
Yeah, i just passed the CSCS test, and my degrees are in Theatre, English, and History.

Joshua Marcum
05-16-2007, 05:31 AM
The NASM, cert does make a big deal of corrective exercise I have all the NASM certs along with my CSCS and a few others. I am registered for the CF cert later this year but have been using the CF principles for a while and love it. As far as what test is easier the CPT from NSCA is a breeze. If you're CF certed probably that one would be more up your alley the NASM takes a whole different approach and focus that would make it more difficult due to the change in gears.
I have found huge success blending the NASM stuff with CF, greatly excellerated results in form and range of motion, as apposed to strictly one or the other so for application I would say go with the NASM. But its your world.

Joshua Marcum
05-16-2007, 05:34 AM
Oh and on the NASM and 24 Hour thing not true, 24 bought APEX which is owened by the same guy, Neal Spruce. NASM is the preferred cert at 24 though. A little more marketable to the masses over there. Haven't heard about the Nautilus thing though.... interesting. they are probably helping them design better equipment like the Free Motion stuff. Oh well

Howard Wilcox
05-16-2007, 08:11 AM
Thanks for all the information folks.

Can I order the NASM textbook separately from the cert? I know you can with NSCA ('cause I have it)...so I'm curious about NASM.



Randy Gruezo
05-16-2007, 12:13 PM
Like Joshua I am certified as a PES through NASM (though it no longer exist as a cert) and CSCS.

Both certifications have their plus and minuses. It's hard to say which one is better than the other because they look at the same goal (improving fitness) through different perspectives.

NASM uses a Motor Learning Movement Based approach while NSCA uses a more Exercise Physiology based approach. That is the reason why you see the different way they approach program design and so on.

Depending what your trying to get out of the cert will dictate which one you pick. More and more globo gyms are using NASM as their standard. If you're looking to be more in the athletic arena CSCS is the way to go. There the standard for training athletes.

However, if you just need a cert for the sake of having one just get ACE it's way cheaper than the other certs. Fortunately my company paid for my certs, but I don't know what your situation is.

John Seiler
05-16-2007, 01:03 PM
Hey Nadia, +1 on the useless Poli. Sci. degree!

Josh E Lundgaard
05-16-2007, 06:26 PM
I have my NSCA cert (CSCS) as well as an NASM cert (PES) that I got after my graduate program - like Joshua I feel that the motor learning approach of the NASM is a little more current and actually more similar (at least the PES info) to CrossFit than the CSCS info. The NASM information actually changed my view of proper fitness philosophies, which led me to finding CrossFit. A Navy Corpsman that I work with is actually studying for his NASM CPT cert right now, and I still think it's good information, although the text might be a little heavy on "functional" movments that are marginally functional at best, at least compared to CrossFit. Compared to traditional info, however, it's ahead of the game.

Joshua Marcum
05-17-2007, 09:48 AM
You can order the book seperatley (sorry for the spelling). Once you do have your cpt I would really rcommend the Ces (corrective exercise specialist) that is the one I pull from inregards to ironing out the kinetic chain for those clients who are having problems with incorrect activation. Like I said before the transition from failing mechanics to the right patterns at least from my experience have been drastically excellerated. Especially with muted hip function, and those tricky knees and ankles drifting around where they shouldn't be. Lol.