Do You Speak Gym?!

Last month Andali Fitness looked at the terminology used within the running community. However if you step into a gym or any number of exercise circuits you will be faced with a whole new raft of terms.  Here are a mix of the more common ones and some baffling ones to better arm you in the future...

REPS - abbreviation for repetitions: the amount of times you perform a certain movement ie 12 reps of arm curls.

SETS - the amount of times you will perform those 12 exercise repetitions ie 3 sets of 12 reps meaning you will perform 12 reps a total of three times (with a rest in between each set).

DROPSETS - a technique where weight is reduced between sets and rest is minimal.

SUPERSETS - a method where exercises are performed back to back with little or no rest. These can be for similar or antagonistic (opposing) muscle groups.

FAILURE - performing a movement until you can no longer complete that exercise with proper form.

CONCENTRIC - contracting muscles so that they shorten (working against gravity) ie curling a weight up from your hip to your shoulder. Also known as the positive phase or positive rep.

ECCENTRIC - contracting muscles as they lengthen (working with gravity) ie lowering a weight down under control. Also known as the negative phase or negative rep.

ISOMETRIC - contracting muscles as they maintain length (matching gravity) ie holding a plank position

1RM / 3RM - these figures refer to the weight that you would have to use in order to perform an exercise for a maximum of that many reps it stands to reason that the weight used for a 1RM (1 rep max) would be heavier than for a 3RM (as intensity reduces, endurance inimproves).

COMPOUND MOVEMENT - using more than one muscle group in order to perform a movement ie a squat, bench press, pull up etc

ISOLATION MOVEMENT - using one muscle group to perform a movement ie leg extension, tricep kickback, arm curl etc

SPLIT - a term used to describe how you ‘divide’ your body parts’ training throughout a given period of time (normally a week) ie a standard split might be:

Monday: Back and Biceps, Wednesday: Legs and shoulders, Friday: Chest and Triceps, Saturday: Core.

SPOT - to act as a safety measure when a friend is performing a movement ie to assist someone ‘racking’ their weight when they can not perform another rep during a bench press.

PLATEAU - the point where your body stops adapting to the stimuli that you give it ie performing exactly the same movements in the same order week after week. The body becomes accustomed and ‘bored’ and needs a new stimulus to further improve.

INTERVAL TRAINING - a workout involving differing periods and intensity of work and rest. The ultimate expression of this is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) whereby the bouts of exercise are longer that the corresponding bouts of rest.

PLYOMETRICS - movements that are designed to improve speed and explosiveness whilst strengthening joints and tendons ie box jumps.

Article written by Andy Silvey, Andali Fitness


Published by Ludlow Guide on

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