When you enter the world of gym workouts, it is quite natural that you feel intimidated for some reasons. One such thing that may intimidate beginners, or even those intermediate lifters, are those complex gym terms.
There is nothing wrong with not knowing all those gym words when you are just starting. Keep in mind that every pro bodybuilder was once a newbie.
But that being said, if you could learn what those gym slang terms mean, it will help you work out with better knowledge and confidence. And we will help you learn them!
Through this article, we will introduce to you as many as 93 gym terminologies in their alphabetical order. Go through our gym words list, and learn what they actually mean!
90+ Gym Slang Terms
Here are 90+ gym slang terms that you need to learn if you are planning on hitting the gym regularly:
1RM, or One Repetition Maximum, is the maximum weight you can lift for just one repetition.
AMRAP stands for As Many Reps as Possible. It is a Gym terminology used by fitness experts.
While you are into AMRAP, you will be doing the maximum number of reps you can do for that particular exercise, with little or no rest in between.
When your body is in an anabolic state, it means it’s building more muscle mass.
A barbell is that long steel bar with weighted plates attached to both ends. Barbells are used for a wide variety of exercises for almost every muscle group in your body.
Same as in the common definition, a gym bench is basically a bench using which you can do a number of exercises. The most popular bench exercise is, of course, the bench press!
BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate. It is basically the amount of calories your body burns while you are resting.
Bro Science is a gym slang for certain claims and conceptions related to training, dieting, etc. But keep in mind, Bro science is not an actual science, but only a collection of claims, sometimes myths that don’t have any scientific backing.
For instance, according to bro science, eating soya will deplete your body’s testosterone levels and fill it with estrogen. But there isn’t enough evidence to prove it!
Bro Split is one of the most popular workout splits (or workout routines) used by gym goers. In bro split, you will be training each muscle group on a different day of the week.
Here is an example of Bro Split workout:
Day 1: Chest
Day 2: Back
Day 3: Shoulders
Day 4: Arms
Day 5: Legs/ lower body
Bulking is nothing but the process of building more muscle or mass. When you are into bulking, you should focus on consuming more calories than usual.
As you might already know, cables are nothing but thick wires that connect various components of a machine. You can do a wide range of exercises by connecting certain pieces of equipment with cables.
For instance, you do low pulley ‘cable’ curls for your biceps!
Calisthenics is a gym term used for when you do mostly body weight exercises and not those using machines. Examples of exercises you would do if you are into calisthenics are, push up and pull up!
Cardio is a fitness slang used for exercises that aim at improving the heart health and at fat burning. Cardio exercises increase your heartbeat rate and as a result, your body will burn more energy.
Jogging, sprinting, interval training, etc. are examples of cardio exercises.
Your body is in a catabolic state, when it breaks down fats and sometimes muscle masses, to find energy for its activities.
Chalk is nothing but a powder (usually made of magnesium carbonate) that you use for a better grip while doing some challenging exercises.
You can also see gymnasts, weight lifters, and even basketball players using chalks for better grip!
Circuit training is when you do a number of exercises, usually around 6, for a certain number of repetitions. most circuit training programs are a combination of exercises that aims at improving your strength, stamina, flexibility, and balance.
Clamps are crucial components in gym equipment for safety. They are tightly placed after weight plates to ensure that they stay there safe and balanced.
When you are doing squats or bench presses, you need to put the clamps after loading the weights.
Compound exercises are exercises that target multiple muscle groups at a time instead of one. Bench press and squats are classical examples of compound workouts.
Concentric movement is in which your muscle contracts as you lift the weight. Take dumbbell curls for instance; when you lift the weight upwards, your muscle contracts or shortens. This part of the Dumbbell curl is therefore a concentric movement.
Conditioning is what you do when your goal is to tone up your body, improve cardiovascular health, burn off excess fat, or achieve overall fitness.
Different from weight training, conditional training focuses on more reps through lighter weights, also to reach a higher heartbeat rate.
Cooldown is when you do certain low intensity workouts, like stretching, to slowly return to your resting heart rate after an intense workout session.
Having a cooldown period is as important as warm up, to avoid injuries and for better recovery.
Core is the name for your body’s mid part, including the muscles in your abs and lower lat.
Cutting is a fitness slang used when you are trying to cut down on your body’s fat percentage or in simpler words, your weight, to get in a more aesthetic shape.
When you do an exercise in which your upper body is placed at a little declination from the lower body, it is most likely a decline exercise. For example, decline chest press!
DOMS stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, which is basically the pain that you feel on a muscle group after training it, usually 24 to 48 hours later.
Although DOMS is not the usual muscle injury, it is an indication that you have trained your muscles a bit excessively.
In a Drop set, you do an exercise with a higher weight until failure, and then immediately continue the same exercise with a lighter weight.
Dumbbells are free weight equipment, usually 10-16 inches in length with weights on both sides!
Eccentric exercises, or eccentric parts of exercises, work when your muscle group expands. Some examples of eccentric movements are, when you are lowering your dumbbells while doing biceps dumbbell curls.
Elliptical machines or elliptical trainers are cardio workout machines like a treadmill. They stimulate stair climb, walking, and running movements.
EMOM stands for ‘Every Minute On the Minute’, wherein you complete a certain number of reps of an exercise within a minute, and take rest for the remaining several seconds until that one minute is complete. And after that one minute, you go to the next set or exercise.
EZ bar is a modified version of Olympic bars, with a ‘W’ shaped angle on the middle part. EZ bars are excellent for certain exercises like biceps curls.
The term ‘failure’ in gym lingo is used when you do a certain exercise set with as many reps as possible. In simple words, you stop your failure set exercise when you can do no more repetition.
A foam roller is a cylindrical form that you can use for stretching, improving your flexibility, etc.
When you do an exercise in the proper form, it means you are doing it the right way. You may have heard, ‘proper form is more important than how much weight you lift’.
Free weights are weights that are not attached to a machine. Dumbbells and barbells are examples of free weights.
Frequency in gym terms means how often you train a certain muscle group.
Nothing to be confused about here. When you say you are training full body, it means you are doing exercises for all key parts of your body in a single gym session.
Functional training is basically a collection of exercises that helps you improve your daily life movements. Some examples are squats, push and pull, hip rotation, etc.
Gains in gym language mean whatever improvements your muscles had through training. If your biceps grew an inch through working out, that is a gain for you!
When you train with a group of people, that is group training. You all will be doing a combination of exercises in a certain pattern, together!
Gym bro is basically a gym slang word for those dudes (or gals) who like to spend most of their time or free time inside the gym. They also think and talk about working out even after getting out of the gym.
Your gym gear is nothing but a collection of your gym clothes, shoes, gloves, headphones, and all such stuff you bring to the gym along with you.
Gym rat is the name for someone who spends a lot of time, or hours inside the gym working out.
Half rep is when you do a certain exercise for one time, but only for the half range of motion. For instance, while doing half rep squats, your knee won’t bend beyond 120 degrees.
HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval training wherein, you will be doing intense cardio exercises for a short period of time, then taking rest for another short period, and then moving to another exercise or repeating it again.
An example for HIIT is, you sprint for 20 seconds, take rest or slow walk for the next 40 seconds, and then sprint for another 20 seconds, and so on. Most HIITs last for around 12 to 20 minutes.
Hypertrophy is when your muscle cells continue to expand as you lift varying/increasing loads over time. In simpler words, your muscles will become bigger when you gradually increase your training volume, and that is hypertrophy.
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In an inclined exercise, incline chest press, for instance, your upper body will be kept at an inclination with respect to your lower body.
Isolation movements are exercises that target only one muscle group at a time; the opposite of compound movements. An example of isolation movements is the Barbell Biceps curl.
A jacked person looks bigger, or has bigger muscles than others.
According to gym lingo, the term ‘juice’ means nothing but steroids. for instance, when you see a man with unbelievable gains and veins popping out, you may say he is on juice, while he may or may not be on it!
A kettlebell is usually a steel ball with a handle attached to its top. You use kettlebells mostly while doing cardio exercises. They are also helpful for improving strength and flexibility.
As it sounds, lifting weights means nothing else but to do an exercise using weight from barbells, weight plates, dumbbells, or even using machines.
When you put the weight plates to your Olympic bar or other equipment, it’s called loading.
Machines are pieces of gym equipment that allow you to do certain exercises. For example, seated chest press machine,
Macros is a fitness term used as a short for ‘macronutrients’, such as protein, carbs, and fat.
Medical balls are round balls that come in varying sizes, with up to around 14 inches in dia, and somewhere between 2 pounds and 25 pounds in weight.
Micros are nutrients that your body needs in lower amounts, such as iron and calcium.
Natty is yet another workout slang for ‘natural’. If you see a gym dude with great gains and uses no steroids, he may be natty!
Negative movements are those movements wherein you focus only on the expanding part of that exercise.
For instance, when you do negative pull ups, your upward pull doesn’t matter; you can simply grab the bar with no proper pull action. And while releasing, you take your time, follow the proper form, and slowly come down. After completing that rep, you again jump towards the top using a support, and then slowly come down.
If you are new to the world of working out (perhaps what brought you here!), then you are basically a newbie. But there is nothing bad about it, every pro bodybuilder was a newbie once, even Arnold Schwarzenegger!
PB stands for Personal Best. If your greatest ever bench press lift is 200 pounds, that is your PB in that exercise.
Plank is a workout targeting your core or abs, wherein you keep your body in an inclined position similar to the relaxed position in push up, and then try holding your position for a certain period of time.
See those big round (often metallic) things that you use as weight during most exercises, those are plates or weight plates.
When you have reached a new maximum of gym gains, but have been stuck there for a while and can’t improve further, you have probably reached a plateau.
It happens when you are not going for progressive overloading or in simpler words, when you keep on lifting the same weight instead of gradually increasing it.
Post workout is a workout supplement that you take for faster recovery and also for greater results. Post workouts will also regain the energy level that you lost during an intense workout session.
Powerlifting is a combination of certain exercises, like squats, deadlifts, and bench press, which are done for a few reps. The main goal of powerlifting is to increase strength, and powerlifters go for the highest possible weights.
PPL stands for Push-Pull, which is a common workout style wherein you train your pull muscles (Back, biceps) on one day and push muscles (chest, triceps, shoulders) on another day.
In addition to your push and pull days, you may also have a dedicated day for your leg or lower body.
Pre workout is the supplement that you take just before your workout session. A good pre-workout will keep you energetic and give you energy throughout your workout session.
Progressive overloading is a gradual process in which you increase your workout volume for a certain exercise, over time.
For instance, if you lift 30 pounds of dumbbells for hammer curls this week, and take that to 40 pounds two weeks later, and then to 50 pounds later, that is progressive overloading!
PT stands for personal trainer, who will give you special one-to-one (usually) training while you work out.
Pump is the expansion or enlarging of muscle groups, although temporary, while lifting weights with higher intensity. You get the best pump when you do a higher number of reps with shorter rest periods.
Pyramiding is when you, while doing a certain exercise, increase your weight over sets while decreasing the reps.
A rack, or gym rack, is a piece of equipment that gives you support while doing certain weight exercises like squatting.
While doing squats, you first place your bar on the ‘rack’ and load weights, then bend down and lift it by placing it on your shoulder, and after completing a set, you place your squat bar back on the ‘rack’.
When you see a man with an aesthetic, well-defined physique with lower body fat, you say he is ripped.
Reps stand for ‘Repetitions’ and as you might guess, denote how many times you do that exercise within a set.
Rest day is when you don’t do weight training, and instead, give your body the time to recover from the strain you have given it through your gym days.
Also, you take rests in between your sets.
ROM stands for Range Of Motion, and it is basically the path of movement that an exercise has. Or in other words, to what extent do your body reach while you do a particular exercise.
When you do an exercise for 8 repetitions continuously and then stop, you have completed a ‘set’. And after a short period of rest and then start doing it again, you are into your second ‘set’!
You have a shredded physique, when you have well defined muscles and very little fat percentage.
Spotting is when you support another person lifting some high weights, and they may need your help to complete the last few reps.
There is nothing wrong in asking someone to spot you while you are doing your failure set!
A superset is a set in which you do two different exercises continuously without any break in between. You do exercise A for some number of reps and with no or little rest, you do exercise B.
Swole is a word in gym slang for when someone gets too big or too muscular.
Tabata is a type of high intensity cardio workout that completes within 4 to 12 minutes. It is named after its founder, Dr. Izumi Tabata.
Tempo is basically the rhythm you keep while doing a particular exercise. For instance, how fast you lift, how fast you expand and contract your muscles, etc.
For example, while doing biceps curls with dumbbells, how fast you expand and contract your arms does matter, for better results.
Adjusting your rhythm is crucial for better results.
Tri-set is when you do three different exercises together, with no rest in between.
TRX stands for Total Body Resistance Exercise, which uses only the bodyweight and aims at improving strength, flexibility, balance, and cardio health.
Some examples are- TRX chest press, TRX plank, and TRX bicep curls.
Upper Lower is a workout routine in which you train your entire upper body on one day, and the lower body on another day.
Unilateral exercises are those that engage with only one arm or leg at a time. Bend over dumbbell rows is a classic example of unilateral exercises.
Volume is basically how much work your muscles do while you work out. It is a function of how many sets and reps you do, along with how heavy you lift.
Your workout volume is directly proportional to sets, reps, and weight.
You will be doing your Warm up when you either go for a light cardio session, or lift lower weights before your actual workout. Warming up is crucial before you start your actual workout, as it helps you increase your body temperature, and blood flow to muscles before going for intense exercises.
Weightlifting is an exercise, or even a sport itself, in which you lift an Olympic bar loaded with weight, to above your head from the ground.
If you are doing an exercise (using a machine or dumbbells), got a few more sets to do and another person asks you if they can work in, they are asking if they too can use that equipment while you take rest.
You do a working set, when you do an exercise till almost close to failure. In other words, in a working set, you go for higher weights that give the maximum result.
A working set follows a warm-up set that uses smaller weights.
Work Out is when you hit the gym and start lifting some weights, or doing some bodyweight or cardio exercises with a goal in mind!
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That was a comprehensive list of gym terms that you will come to hear a lot of times in your fitness journey.
Needless to say, learning those gym terms is indeed crucial and if you don’t, you may find yourself struggling when another gym dude says some gym terms, and you stay clueless.
But from now on, no need to get intimidated hearing them! And even if you find yourself clueless hearing them, just come back to our gym words list, and learn its meaning.