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What is on a Personal Trainer Certification Exam?

Over the course of a personal trainer certification program students will be taught a variety of topics depending on the length and intensity of the program. At the end of the course, students will be required to take and pass a certification exam in order to receive their certification. WHile these tests will vary depending on the type of program, the material taught, and the certifying organization there are common sections that most exams will have. Here is a breakdown of some of the more common types of questions on a personal trainer certification exam.


It is critical that personal trainers understand the body and how it works. Most tests have a number of questions relating to the human body and how it functions. You will need to be able to name and identify the major muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the body, and if you want to excel you should be able to name and identify all of them. This knowledge is key when it comes to assisting clients.

Diet & Nutrition

Although personal trainers cannot provide meal plans and diets to clients like nutritionists, they can provide basic diet and nutrition advice. You will need to have sound knowledge of how nutrition affects a clients goals including advising them on their BMR and suggesting a daily caloric intake goal. You will need to know how many kilocalories are required per pound of skeletal muscle gained etc.


It is very important that personal trainers have a strong understanding of how the body is supposed to function during exercises and lifts. They will need ot be able to demonstrate and then guide and correct a client through their exercises. If a trainer doesn’t have sound knowledge of a maneuver, they put their client at significant risk of injury. They will also need to be able to identify what is affecting their client during a rep and determine how best to help them whether that is changing to a new exercise to target a weak area, or adapting the original exercise.

Special Health

Personal trainers will also need to have knowledge of how common medical conditions will affect their clients training. Clients with diabetes, hypertension, low blood pressure, and a plethora of other medical conditions may all need to have traditional exercise plans altered to fit their needs. Fitness isn’t a one size fits all philosophy, and attempting to make it that with clients who suffer from health problems can put their health and lives at risk.


A large part of a trainers job is to analyze and screen their clients. You will need to be able to determine the best type of plan for them, how intense they should be allowed to exercise, whether they will require supervised exercise, whether they should see a specialist, and mush more. It is critical that personal trainers be able to see and understand what their clients need in regards to their fitness goals, their overall health, and their safety.

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