Becoming an RTS

Becoming a Mastery Level Resistance Training Specialist®… an RTSm®

Ultimately, it's not about being "certified" in something!
It's about constantly evolving toward being exceptional in helping clients
with their specific goals and needs!

It's not about you or your status!
It's not about the masses or the norms!
It's about the individual for whom you are accepting responsibility!

RTS is not a club or organization you "join"! It is not a "certification" in a specific career or profession.

The Resistance Training Specialist Program is an education provider dedicated to helping individual practitioners better understand exercise from a deeper, more detailed and "dogma-free" perspective in order to optimize the services they provide to meet the specific goals, needs, abilities, and tolerances of each individual client/patient by focusing on and being biased toward several specific aspects of professional service:

  • Exercise mechanics and it's skilled application in order to create appropriate stimulation for an individual client's or patient's goals and needs.
  • Thought process development and evolution
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Customization of assessments, execution, progression, design, and delivery of exercise.
  • Constant and continual investigation of and response to ever-changing client/patient ability and tolerance.

Course attendance alone does not qualify one to use the title RTSM, nor the titles RTS®, and Resistance Training Specialist®.

Successfully completing the RTS Mastery oral and practical exam simply proves that at the point in time that the practitioner passes, he or she was capable of communicating and applying the education at a the level required, as defined by the founder and owner the trademarks and titles "RTS" and "Resistance Training Specialist".

As fully registered trademarks for over 20 years, the titles RTS® and Resistance Training Specialist® like any other trademark or servicemark, can only be legally utilized to represent a product or service when authorized by the legal owner. In this case, when the knowledge, skills, and thought processes employed by the practitioner have been evaluated by their legal owner, Tom Purvis, who legally has the right to authorize or revoke the use of these titles if so warranted by the actions of anyone utilizing them.

As of 2021 there is only one level of RTS certification: RTSM (Mastery Level).

With the growth of social media, posts and comments made by those claiming to have an association with RTS have become epidemic. Most of them show no evidence of understanding nor being able to apply the information and principles taught at RTS. These principles were create and trademarked by Tom, and he has evolved them and their application via the experiences of working with literarily thousands of patients and clients across nearly 40 years. It should be recognized that those who are RTSM certified virtually never pontificate on social media. They do not have the need to comment on the posts of others. They are too busy positively influencing lives of the people that are right in front of them with no time or need to participate childishly in futile debates with the misguided and misinformed.

Likewise, previously offered lower levels of RTS certification have been found to be poor representatives of RTS. It is all too obvious that many people simply want a piece of paper for the wall and more letters behind their names but are not serious about evolving within the only educational program that is solely concerned with developing and honing the skills of practice and the thought processes for assisting a vast spectrum of clients.

For this reason, there is now only one way to earn and use these titles and that is to prove competency directly to their legal owner and creator. RTSM certification is not just a level of achievement of status. It is the title afforded a person who will be a representative of the program. A liaison to the exercise world. And most importantly, a blessing to a few of the millions of potential clients and patients that are physically intolerant of the low-level standards of practice of the certified trainers and coaches that dominate and plague the exercise industry.

The titles “RTSM” and “Mastery Level Resistance Training Specialist” may only be legally used upon successful completion of the optional oral and practical exams. Theses exams are administered only by Tom Purvis live in Oklahoma City at RTS classroom and the associated facility.

RTSM testing is not mandatory. Most RTSM students do not attempt the exam. For this reason, it is not included in the registration fees. It is available for those who wish to prove firsthand to the owner of these titles and the founder of the program that they fully understand all the applicable required sciences, are able to appropriately apply their knowledge in the gym with various levels of clients, explaining their thought process along the way, as well as presenting detailed analyses of the body and the equipment throughout.

This exam is more similar to a professional license exam than an exercise industry certification and the bar has been set high by the exceptional people who have succeeded with flying colors. It is pass/fail. To pass requires being able to explain everything that has been presented in video lectures and practical labs. Those that do not practice presenting everything out loud typically do not pass.

As RTS does not offer certification in a career or profession, the certification accreditation process does not apply. AAPTE is the nationally accredited personal training certification that RTS has partnered with and has allowed to offer an introductory level of RTS information within its curriculum.


  1. There are no "RTSs" or "Resistance Training Specialists" in general, there is only “RTSM” and it must be designated in this manner.
  2. Continued use of the title RTSM will be authorized not only by remaining competent by RTS standards, but also remaining up to date with the continually evolving lecture and practical information via participation in approved RTS continuing education consistent.


RTSm Certification Requirements

The comprehensive 6 hour "live" oral and practical exams are optional (not part of the classes).

Most people come to RTSm for the educational experiences, not for a piece of paper. Some desire to challenge themselves and earn the legal right to utilize the title RTSm and Mastery level Resistance Training Specialist.

Unlike trainer or coaching certifications, the RTSm exam is not a written or video multiple choice test. The only way an individual's practical understanding of sciences, thought processes, problem solving skills, exercise analysis skills, and exercise delivery skills can be assessed is via live oral presentation and hands-on examinations. The RTSm exam consists of:

  • 3 hour oral exam covers the online lectures: courses 1000-5000
  • 3 hour practical exam covers the information from the Advanced Hands-on Labs

Full participation in the three RTSm Advanced Hands-on Labs is required if one's goal is to undergo the optional exam process. Please note that while these modules may be taken over any time period from a few months to several years, there is a two-year limit if you are hoping to take the associated exams and become RTSm certified.

Note: Continued use of these titles can only be through maintaining RTS standards and participation in approved continuing education consistent with RTS principles.

RTSm Exam Fee $699 ($100 non-fundable deposit to schedule and for each rescheduling; $599 balance prior to testing)

  • Price includes printed diploma style certificate upon successful completion.
  • RTSm Plaque available for $200
Exam Tips

Passing rates are very low because most people treat the RTSm exam like a test they may haven taken in a college course. The RTSm exam is more similar to a professional practical competency examination. You MUST study for an oral exam by practicing numerous explaining out loud and in detail every single point presented in each prerequisite lecture video. Everything discussed, explored and experienced and observed in the Hands-on Labs must be presented and displayed should be rehearsed numerous times out loud.

RTSm Certification Renewal / Maintenance

Because a) RTSm skills and the related thought process are unique within the industry, b) updates occur frequently in all RTSm modules, and c) personally "living" the principles during one's own workouts is an absolute must...

RTSm certification can only be maintained by attending one of the following once every two years:

  • "Cueing, Doing, and Updates" (CDU)
  • Any of the RTSm Advanced Hands-on Labs
Education vs. Certification

Most organizations are in the business of certification, promoting their exams and certification above their information (or misinformation as the case may be.) RTS is in the business of education the primary goal of which is to alter the practitioners perspective and understanding of exercise, human structure, and the properties of resistance in order to change the way exercise is perceived and delivered, ultimately, to the benefit of the client, member, or patient; to encourage the development of rationales and thought processes so that professional decisions may be made rather than supposition and the blind following of tradition, myths, magic, trends, and gurus.

Certification is simply a service that RTS provides... reluctantly. Reluctantly because when students focus on getting that piece of paper they often miss the real goal. When individuals receive a certificate they often don't apply the info or do not maintain the high standards of practice that were the entire point in the first place. At RTS, certification means not just meeting and maintaining the level required to initially pass, but continually improving in skill, thought processes, etc. to further one's self, as well as the industry.

Why does RTS provide certification?

Because there are many individuals who work hard to improve themselves, their clients' experiences, the industry, and truly love exercise mechanics, and the methods through which RTS applies it. Those people are on the path to truly becoming a specialist in the sciences and skill of customizing the application of resistance for an individual and have earned the right to not only benefit from the distinction of excellence that the designation offers, but have also earned the right to represent it.

What is the goal of the exams?

All that any exam can do is determine ones minimum competency in a given subject matter on a given day. The RTSm exam is an attempt to determine the student's level of practical understanding of RTS perspectives and principles relative the the application of exercise mechanics, client investigation, and exercise delivery. Displaying competency authorizes an individual to use the RTS trademarks as titles, only for as long he/she remains current.

Is the RTSm Exam Accredited?

Accreditation does not seem to be well understood by the fitness world. Organizations and "certifications" are not what is accredited. Accreditation is not given because the information is accurate, correct, factual, etc. It is largely based upon the examination... the questions, the multiple choice answers, the process of examination, etc. It is based upon the exam being unbiased (gender, race, etc.) and eliminating any subjectivity of the examiner. In other words, accredited exams cannot be oral or hands-on, both of which are required in any professional education process to evaluate the communication and practical skills demanded in professions such as physical therapy, surgery, chiropractic procedures, massage, etc.

Accreditation requires standardization of questions and multiple choice answers. That said, it is not possible for the RTSm exam to undergo the accreditation process because it is a live oral and hands-on exam, the purpose of which is to get a glimpse into the actual skills of the individual, not his/her impractical and inapplicable multiple choice test taking ability. RTSm is asking an individual to exhibit skill sets that can only be displayed in real time, with subsequent questions potentially derived from previous answers in order to identify one's thought process and communication skills. We will lower our standards. After all, we are not evaluating one's right to be called a "personal trainer" or "coach" in general. We are evaluating an individual's current competency in order for him/her to be legally authorized to use RTS owned trademarks as titles.

There are no artisans of any kind whose skills are evaluated in any other manner than hands-on practical testing. Can you imagine the skills of any one who must think on his/her feet and modify based upon the current situation being assessed via a paper examination, especially when it comes to the performance of any procedure that can influence the health or another? Can you imagine a surgeons skills and thought processes being assessed on paper with multiple choice questions? Not possible!

Replacement of Certificates and Letters of Attendance
  • Letter of attendance replacement $20
  • Certificate replacement $50 (plus shipping)
  • RTSm plaque $220 (plus shipping)
From the RTS® certificate

The Resistance Training Specialist®

A true Exercise Professional who has demonstrated the minimum level of competency required of an RTS. This includes the respective level of training in the RTS Principles and skills including Exercise Mechanics, Strategic Resistance™, Equipment Analysis, Continuum Training®, ongoing investigation of the Functional Continuum® of client abilities, Client-Defined exercise design and implementation via the Exercise Continuum®, Strategic Variation®, MicroProgression®, InTension®, G.O.T.E., Intention, and Control, as well as the influence of communication on the process of creating and implementing the completely customized Exercise Experience™.

An individual of integrity who will endeavor to apply these principles with undivided attention to the client throughout every fraction of every repetition and is committed to making decisions via an ever-evolving thought process based upon the current status, ability, goals, needs, and expectations of each individual; attempting to rise above the influence of his/her own personal exercise preferences, beliefs, and attachments.

The RTS is committed to life-long learning as well as personal and professional evolution; a detail and perspective oriented individual who examines issues through both the "zoom lens" and the "satellite view", and for whom "nothing is automatic", all is "re-viewed", and who recognizes that "it's what you learn after you know it all that counts"