FREE ACE CPT Study Guide

The free ACE CPT Exam Study Guide is split into four main domains of study. We then break down the domains into their main sections.

This guide follows the most recent 6th edition of the ACE personal training textbook.

The whole entire ACE certification study guide is located on this one page for better consolidation. Make sure to bookmark this page for future studying.

We use this as an ACE CPT exam prep tool, and it pairs well with the ACE exam practice page also.

Because this page is is a monster of information we have have added dropdowns for that contain the answers to each section. This makes it much easier to scroll.

We have also added a handy table of contents to easily help you jump around the page to find what you want. You can access the menu button at all times on the right hand side of the page.

This ACE study manual is your best friend. Use it often.

Be sure to go over the overall domain goal and the goal of each section prior to diving into the studying. The sections are made up of subjects, ranging from 2 to 7 per section.

When studying, the goal is to read the subjects for each section and answer them all on your own. For these, each of the subjects will have the page numbers or the general chapters that we found the information in and used to answer the subjects.

You should then come back, use the orange accordions (they expand when clicked on) to show the drop-down information for each subject, and compare your answers to the ones we have.

At the end of the subjects, utilize the black accordions, and see the skills you should have mastered and grasped throughout the studying of the book’s domains.

Ensure you have mastered these skills, by comparing them to your answers and searching the text for any you are unsure about.

This style of the ACE personal trainer exam study guide will allow you to have a general sense of the main subjects required to score well on the certification exam and should serve as a great study guide when followed in these steps.

There are many ACE CPT exam prep tools and ACE study materials for use on Trainer Academy. We definitely recommend this and the other Ace Certification study materials to ensure that you pass the exam.

Free ACE CPT study guide 1

Domain I: Interviews and Assessments

Overall Domain Goal: Be able to create rapport with your clients in order to learn the relevant health and lifestyle information that is needed for an exercise program to be designed effectively.

Section 1

Get the comprehensive health, medical, exercise, and lifestyle information through the use of questionnaires, interviews, and the right documents for finding risk that may come with participation in exercise, find the need for clearance from a medical professional, and facilitate the design of a program. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

1: Effective communication strategies like motivational interviewing, active listening, and more. (pgs. 103 and 107)

2. The impacts that demographic factors like age and culture will have on the ability to build rapport and father relevant lifestyle and health information. (pg. 101)

3. The methods and tools that are used for gathering information required for the design and implementation of programs. (pg. 105)

4. The factors of risk for chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, and others, for the effective stratification of risk and participation in exercise. (Chapter 13)

5. The effects that regular medications will have on the client’s heart rate and the many other physiological responses to exercise. (pg. 156)

Section 2

Be able to understand the client’s readiness for various changes in behavior and look into the exercise attitudes and beliefs with effective communication for building rapport and setting the right goals. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

1: Effective communication strategies like motivational interviewing, active listening, and more. (pgs. 103 and 107)

2. The methods and tools for finding the client’s attitudes, preferences, and the stage of behavior change they are in. (Chapter 3)

3. The most often seen barriers and motivators for participating in exercise and changing one’s behaviors. (pgs. 65, 88)

4. The behavior change theories that are most relevant to training. (Chapter 3)

5. The types of goals that exist and the processes trainers have to help set goals. (pg. 115)

Section 3

Find and understand the movements that are considered to be foundational through the observation and implementation of assessments so that the trainer is able to develop the right exercise programming to enhance the client’s function, performance, fitness, and health.

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

  1. The kinesiology and anatomy information as it relates to exercise. (pg. 323)

2. The impact that posture has on movement, biomechanics within the body, and the mobility and stability of joints. (Chapter 10)

3. The movement patterns are considered to be the foundation for movement. (pg. 429)

4. The methods of assessment that are most effective for the joint position, mobility, and stability, and the impact these play on posture and movement. (Chapter 10)

Section 4

Choose and be able to utilize the baseline physiological assessments based on the client’s interview, their questionnaires, and the protocols that are standardized for the facilitation of safe and effective programs and monitoring changes in clients in the long term. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

  1. The methods and protocols for exercise testing. (pg. 296)

2. The right use and order for the fitness assessments you will do. (Chapters 8 and 10)

3. The physiological responses that come from participation in exercise in the short term and the variation in the workloads. (pg. 257 and 365)

4. The variables affecting the short term physiological effects with exercise. (pg. 366)

Domain II: Program Design and Implementation

Overall Domain Goal: The creation of individualized programs for the promotion of behaviors considered to be healthy through exercise, nutrition, education, and coaching.

Section 1

Be able to establish the right functional, performance, fitness, and/or health goals through the interpretation of the client interview and the assessment data to assist in designing the programs of exercise.

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

  1. The anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics related to exercise. (Chapter 9 mainly, with the physiology of muscular and cardio coming from 9 and 8)

2. The principles and guidelines of nutrition and weight management. (pg.170)

3. The norms and guidelines that are established for interpretation of the client history, risk factor, and other data from assessments. (Chapter 5)

4. The strategies for effective goal setting are used to bring about behavior change. (pg. 115)

5. The factors that influence participation and adherence for exercise. (pg.87) 

Section 2

Be able to make exercise programs that are personalized to clients by applying the right principles and guidelines of exercise for the enhancement of cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular endurance and strength, and flexibility. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

  1. The anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics related to exercise.

2. The general principles for exercise and the design of programs. (pg. 369)

3. The physiological adaptations to exercise that are acute and chronic. (pgs. 260, 365)

4. The variables of exercise programs. (pg. 375)

5. The right techniques for warm-ups and cool-downs. (pg. 303, 382)

6. The planes of motion and normal Anatomical Position. (pg. 327)

7. The government agencies and professional organizations that make and publish the standards and guidelines we use for exercise. (no specific pages, just throughout the book)

Section 3

Find the right exercises and equipment and then be able to integrate them into your client’s program in accordance with the research based on evidence for the improvement of function, health, performance and fitness.

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

  1. The general principles for exercise and the design of programs. (pg. 369)

2. The methods used to monitor people’s responses to cardiorespiratory exercise. (Chapter 8)

3. The physiological and psychological adaptations, both acute and chronic, to exercise. (pgs. 260, 365)

4. The optimal joint mobility and stability, patterns of movement, and their relation to posture and the kinetic chain. (Chapter 10)

5. Techniques and strategies for progressions or regression in the intensities or the complexities of movement. (pg. 369 and chapter 10)

Section 4

Give instruction to clients on the effective and safe use of equipment and techniques to exercise with use of verbal, visual, and kinesthetic cues for achieving program goals. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

  1. The appropriate techniques for exercise with use of many different equipment and modalities. (pg. 765)

2. The strategies for communication. (pg. 103)

3. The strategies of education that are used for the promotion of client safety and success in programs. (pg. 123)

4. The methods for monitoring and measuring intensities in exercise. (Chapter 8 and 9)

Domain III: Program Modification and Progression

Overall Domain Goal: Modify, monitor, and evaluate the programs to promote client adherence and make sure progress is made for the goals that are set.

Section 1

Promote the adherence to exercise programs with the use of motivation, education, and modification for the achievement of goals.

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

  1. The current methods, products, and services that relate to health and fitness. (Chapter 1)

2. Factors impacting adherence to programs of behavior change. (pg. 87)

3. Communication techniques and styles that will promote client goal adherence. (pg. 103 – 115)

4. Physiological and psychological adaptations to exercise that are both acute and chronic. (Chapter 8 and 9)

5. The techniques and strategies for progression and regression for the intensity of exercise movements. (chapter 10)

6. The credible resources that support modifications to healthy lifestyles. (pg. 467)

Section 2

Be able to recognize and respond to the lapses in program adherence through the identification of barriers and the provision of solutions to ensure clients are consistently engaged. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

  1. The factors that influence participation and adherence to exercise that fall under the categories of biology, psychology, physiology, and social. (pg. 87)

2. The personal characteristics and factors that might influence preferences, communication, and lifestyle. (pg. 88)

3. The strategies used for the prevention of lapses and relapse. (pg. 80)

Section 3

Routine evaluation of progress for clients by use of data, observations, and feedback from clients in order to modify the exercise programs when needed.

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

  1. The right protocols and assessments for nutrition that stay in the trainer’s scope of practice. (pg. 165)

2. The right modifications to program components based on the assessment data. (chapters 7 – 10)

Domain IV: Professional Conduct, Safety, and Risk Management

Overall Domain Goal: Complete the professional responsibilities through continued education, collaborating with the allied health professionals, and adherence to the standards of the industry and practices needed to protect the clients, facility operators, and the personal trainer. 

Section 1

Use the strategies of risk management in accordance with the recognized standards, regulations, laws, and guidelines to protect the client, personal trainer, and any of the other parties that are relevant for the minimization of liability. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

  1. The regulations, laws, standards, and guidelines that apply to training. (Chapter 16)

2. The basic procedures for responding to emergencies while staying in the scope of practice. (pg. 767)

3. The basic guidelines for preventing injury and ensuring safety for the client. (pg. 689)

4. The factors that contribute to cases of negligence. (pg. 751)

5. Professional conduct, the ACE code of ethics, and the scope of practice. (Chapter 1)

6. The requirements for professional liability insurance. (pg. 772)

Section 2

Document and secure the data of the client, the communications, and progress while following the legal and regulatory requirements for maintaining the confidentiality and minimizing liability. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

  1. The other legal responsibilities. (pg. 762)

2. The methods for keeping confidentiality through secured data storage. (pg. 761)

3. Professional conduct regarding communication platforms and the use of technology. (pg. 776)

Section 3

Enhance the competency with the use of credible resources in order to stay current with the practices, theories, and evidence-based research. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

  1. The government agencies and professional organizations that make and publish evidence-based research and guidelines. (chapter 1)

2. The credible providers of continuing education, resources, and programs. (pg. 28) 

3. Requirements for continued education and recertification. (pg. 17)

Section 4

Be able to prevent injuries by identifying and reporting the possible hazards while following the recommended industry and facility rules and protocols. 

This section looks to employ the knowledge of these subjects:

  1. The main guidelines for preventing injuries and ensuring safety with training. (pg. 689)

2. The industry guidelines when exercising in different environmental conditions like altitude, heat, and cold. (pg. 266)

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