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Comprehensive Guide to Training Terms and Gym Lingo

Training Terms and Gym Lingo

Welcome to the ultimate guide to training terms and gym lingo!


Whether you’re stepping into the gym for the first time, or you’ve been at it for years, understanding fitness jargon can feel overwhelming. But don’t worry – I’ve got you covered.


This guide breaks down the most common and useful terms you'll encounter in the gym. From aerobic and anaerobic exercises to progressive overload and HIIT, you’ll get the knowledge needed to feel at home in any gym.


So, let's dive in and get you fluent in fitness!


Active Recovery

Definition: Low-intensity exercise that promotes blood flow and aids in recovery without putting stress on the body.

Example: Walking, yoga, or light cycling on rest days.


Aerobic Exercise

Definition: Exercise that relies on oxygen to fuel the body, typically performed at moderate intensity over an extended period.

Examples: Running, swimming, and cycling.


AMRAP (As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible)

Definition: A workout structure where you aim to complete as many repetitions or rounds of exercises as possible within a set time.

Example: 10-minute AMRAP of 10 push-ups, 15 squats, and 20 sit-ups.


Anaerobic Exercise

Definition: High-intensity exercise that doesn’t rely on oxygen, often involving short bursts of activity.

Example: Sprinting and weightlifting.



Definition: Refers to the front side of the body.

Example: Anterior muscles include the quadriceps and pectorals.


BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)

Definition: Essential amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) that help in muscle recovery and growth.

Example: Consuming BCAAs post-workout to aid in recovery.


Beast Mode

Definition: A slang term for a state of intense focus and performance in the gym.

Example: "I went into beast mode and crushed my workout today."


Bis (Biceps)

Definition: The muscles located on the front part of the upper arm.

Example: Doing curls to work on your bis.


BMI (Body Mass Index)

Definition: A measure of body fat based on height and weight.

Example: Calculating your BMI to assess whether you are underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.


Body Recomposition

Definition: The process of losing fat and gaining muscle simultaneously.

Example: Combining resistance training with a balanced diet for body recomposition.



Definition: A phase in bodybuilding focused on gaining muscle mass, often involving a caloric surplus.

Example: Eating more calories than you burn to bulk up.


Burnout Set

Definition: A set performed to complete muscle fatigue, often at the end of a workout.

Example: Doing a burnout set of bicep curls until you can’t do another rep.



Definition: Bodyweight exercises designed to improve strength, flexibility, and endurance.

Example: Push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups are forms of calisthenics.



Definition: Short for cardiovascular exercise, which increases heart rate and improves cardiovascular health.

Examples: Running, cycling, and rowing.



Definition: A workout structure involving a series of exercises performed one after the other with minimal rest.

Example: A circuit of jumping jacks, push-ups, and squats.


Collars / Clamps / Clips

Definition: Devices used to secure weight plates on a barbell.

Example: Always use clips or collars to prevent weights from slipping off during lifts.


Compound Exercises

Definition: Exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time.

Example: Squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.



Definition: The phase of muscle contraction where the muscle shortens.

Example: The upward movement in a bicep curl.


Cool Down

Definition: Low-intensity activities and stretches performed after a workout to help the body recover.

Example: Walking and stretching post-workout.



Definition: A phase in bodybuilding focused on losing fat while maintaining muscle mass, often involving a caloric deficit.

Example: Reducing calorie intake and increasing cardio to cut.



Definition: A periodized training phase with specific goals, such as bulking or cutting.

Example: A 12-week bulking cycle followed by an 8-week cutting cycle.



Definition: A period of reduced training intensity or volume to allow for recovery.

Example: Taking a week to deload after several weeks of intense training.


DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)

Definition: Muscle soreness that occurs 24-72 hours after intense exercise.

Example: Feeling sore two days after a heavy leg workout.


Drop Set

Definition: A set performed until failure, then reducing the weight and continuing the set.

Example: Performing bicep curls until failure, then dropping the weight and continuing.


Dynamic Stretches

Definition: Active movements that stretch muscles through their full range of motion, typically used as a warm-up.

Example: Leg swings and arm circles.



Definition: The phase of muscle contraction where the muscle lengthens.

Example: The downward movement in a bicep curl.


EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute)

Definition: A workout structure where a specific exercise or set of exercises is performed at the start of every minute.

Example: 10 burpees EMOM for 10 minutes.


Foam Rolling

Definition: A self-myofascial release technique using a foam roller to relieve muscle tightness and improve mobility.

Example: Foam rolling your legs after a run.


Free Weights

Definition: Weight training equipment not attached to a machine, such as dumbbells and barbells.

Example: Using free weights for a more functional workout.


Functional Fitness or Training

Definition: Exercises that train the body for activities performed in daily life.

Example: Movements that mimic lifting groceries or climbing stairs.



Definition: Slang for muscle growth or improvements in strength and performance.

Example: "I'm seeing gains after consistently working out for three months."



Definition: Slang for well-developed arm muscles, especially the biceps.

Example: "Check out his guns after those arm workouts!"


Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

Definition: The variation in time between each heartbeat, used as an indicator of recovery and overall health.

Example: Monitoring HRV to optimize training and recovery.


Heart Rate Zones

Definition: Different intensity levels of exercise based on heart rate, each with specific outcomes.

Example: Training in the anaerobic zone.


HICT (High-Intensity Circuit Training)

Definition: A form of circuit training that combines high-intensity exercises with minimal rest.

Example: Combining burpees, kettlebell swings, and jump squats in a circuit.


HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)

Definition: A training technique involving short bursts of intense exercise followed by rest or low-intensity exercise.

Example: 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 30 seconds of walking.


HIRT (High-Intensity Resistance Training)

Definition: Resistance training performed at high intensity with minimal rest between sets.

Example: Combining heavy lifting with minimal rest periods.



Definition: The increase in muscle size through resistance training.

Example: Training in the 8-12 rep range to promote hypertrophy.


Isolation Exercises

Definition: Exercises that target a single muscle group.

Example: Biceps curls and triceps extensions.



Definition: A type of muscle contraction where the muscle length doesn’t change.

Example: Holding a plank position.


Isometric Hold

Definition: Holding a position where the muscle is engaged without changing length.

Example: Holding a squat at the bottom position.



Definition: Slang for a muscular and well-defined physique.

Example: "He's been working out consistently and is looking jacked."


Lats (Latissimus Dorsi)

Definition: The large muscles of the back.

Example: Pull-ups target the lats.


LISS (Low-Intensity Steady-State)

Definition: A form of cardio performed at a steady, low intensity.

Example: Walking or light jogging for 45 minutes.



Definition: The amount of weight lifted or resistance used in an exercise.

Example: Increasing the load on the barbell for a progressive overload.


Low-Intensity or Steady-State Cardio

Definition: Cardio performed at a consistent, moderate intensity.

Example: Cycling at a steady pace for an hour.


Macros (Macronutrients)

Definition: The three main nutrients in our diet are protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Example: Tracking macros to ensure balanced nutrition.


Metcon (Metabolic Conditioning)

Definition: Workouts designed to improve the efficiency of the body’s energy systems.

Example: A mix of cardio and strength exercises performed in rapid succession.


Mind-Muscle Connection

Definition: The focus on engaging and feeling the target muscle during exercise.

Example: Concentrating on the contraction of your biceps during curls.


Mirin’ (Admiring)

Definition: Slang for admiring someone’s physique.

Example: "Are you mirin' those gains?"


NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis)

Definition: The energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating, or sports-like exercise.

Example: Walking, typing, and gardening contribute to NEAT.



Definition: The eccentric (lengthening) phase of a movement, often performed slowly to increase muscle tension.

Example: Lowering the bar slowly during a bench press.


One Rep Max (1RM)

Definition: The maximum weight that can be lifted for one repetition.

Example: Testing your 1RM on the deadlift to set a baseline.


PB/PR (Personal Best/Personal Record)

Definition: The best performance or heaviest weight lifted by an individual.

Example: Setting a new PR on the squat.


Pecs (Pectorals)

Definition: The muscles of the chest.

Example: Bench presses target the pecs.



Definition: A period where progress in training stalls.

Example: Hitting a plateau in weight loss or muscle gain.



Definition: Explosive exercises designed to increase power and speed.

Example: Box jumps and jump squats.



Definition: Refers to the backside of the body.

Example: Posterior muscles include the hamstrings and glutes.


Progressive Overload

Definition: Gradually increasing the weight, frequency, or number of repetitions in your strength training routine.

Example: Adding 5 pounds to your squat each week.



Definition: The increased blood flow to muscles during and after exercise, causing them to swell.

Example: Feeling a pump in your biceps after a set of curls.


Pyramid Training

Definition: A training structure where the weight increases or decreases with each set.

Example: Starting with lighter weights and increasing with each set of bench presses.


Quads (Quadriceps)

Definition: The muscles on the front of the thigh.

Example: Squats and lunges target the quads.


Range of Motion (ROM)

Definition: The full movement potential of a joint, usually its range of flexion and extension.

Example: Ensuring full ROM in your squats.


Reps (Repetitions)

Definition: The number of times an exercise is performed in one set.

Example: Doing 12 reps of bicep curls.


Resistance Training

Definition: Exercises that cause the muscles to contract against an external resistance.

Examples: Weightlifting, resistance bands, and bodyweight exercises.


Rest Day

Definition: A day without intense physical activity to allow the body to recover.

Example: Taking a rest day after several days of intense training.



Definition: Slang for a very lean and muscular physique.

Example: "He’s looking ripped after his cutting phase."


RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion)

Definition: A subjective measure of how hard you feel you are working during exercise.

Example: Using RPE to gauge intensity during a workout.


RPM (Revolutions Per Minute)

Definition: A measure of how fast something rotates, often used in cycling.

Example: Maintaining a high RPM during a spin class.



Definition: A group of consecutive repetitions of an exercise.

Example: Completing three sets of 10 reps.



Definition: A person who assists during an exercise to ensure safety and proper form.

Example: Having a spotter for heavy bench presses.


Static Stretches

Definition: Stretching a muscle to its farthest point and holding the position.

Example: Holding a hamstring stretch for 30 seconds.



Definition: Performing two exercises back-to-back with minimal rest.

Example: A superset of bicep curls followed by triceps dips.



Definition: Slang for looking muscular and well-developed.

Example: "He’s been lifting hard and is looking swole."



Definition: A form of HIIT involving 20 seconds of intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for 4 minutes.

Example: Tabata protocol with burpees and squats.


TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)

Definition: The total number of calories burned in a day, including all activities.

Example: Calculating TDEE to determine caloric needs for weight loss.



Definition: Performing three exercises back-to-back with minimal rest.

Example: A tri-set of push-ups, pull-ups, and squats.


Tris (Triceps)

Definition: The muscles on the back of the upper arm.

Example: Doing triceps extensions to work the tris.


TUT (Time Under Tension)

Definition: The total time a muscle is under strain during a set.

Example: Slowing down reps to increase TUT.



Definition: Exercises that work one side of the body at a time.

Example: Single-leg squats and one-arm dumbbell rows.



Definition: The total amount of work performed, often measured as sets x reps x weight.

Example: Increasing volume to enhance work capacity.



Definition: Light exercises performed before the main workout to prepare the body.

Example: Dynamic stretches and mobility exercises for a warm-up.


Weekend Warrior

Definition: Someone who only exercises intensely on weekends.

Example: Engaging in sports or long runs only on Saturdays and Sundays.


There you have it...your ultimate guide to training terms and gym lingo.


Now, understanding these terms won't magically lift the weights for you or get you any closer to that new PR, but it will help you confidently navigate the gym environment.


I’ve covered a lot of ground, but there’s always more to learn and explore. So, if I’ve missed any of your favorite terms, feel free to share them in the Comments below.


Dedicated to your success,



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