Updated: May 3, 2021
Gym Terminology 101
Whether you are brand new to strength training or have several years of experience, understanding gym terminology will not only benefit you in your own workout program, but it will also allow you to share your knowledge with others.
Take your knowledge to the next level by learning and applying the strength training terms and examples below.
1. Compound Exercise - A compound exercise is an exercise that involves multiple joints and muscle groups.
○ Example: A squat involves moving the knees, ankles and hip joint by requiring a whole-body coordinated effort, while the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes bear the brunt of the load.
2. Isolated Exercise - These are exercises that involves just 1 joint and major muscle group (the participation of other muscles is very limited).
○ Example: The bicep curl is an example of an isolation exercise because the only joint involved is the elbow and the biceps muscles to do more or less all of the work.
3. Hypertrophy - Refers to the growth of muscle tissue and fibers through the process of weight training and using heavier weights.
○ Example: Add heavy weightlifting into your training, focus on multiple-joint compound exercises and make progress by increasing the number of reps with given weights, which eventually allows you to add weight then increase reps with that new weight.
4. Deload - A deload is a period of time (typically a week) when you provide your body (and mind) a break from your workouts to help you recover faster and better. During a deload, you significantly reduce the amount of weight and volume that you train.
○ Example: A deload is strategically placed at the end of a program or training cycle. It is when you have completed a 4 - 6-week training program and want to prepare for the next phase of your workouts. It is also a good idea to deload when you feel like you have been under-recovering and you are feeling much more fatigued than usual for a longer period of time.
5. Range of Motion (ROM) - Range of motion is the term that is used to describe the amount of movement you have at each joint. Every joint in the body has a "normal" range of motion. Joints maintain their normal range of motion by being moved.
○ Example: Maintaining a healthy range of motion in our joints keeps our bodies functioning and feeling great. Improving your range of motion will help to:
· Reduces aches and pains
· Prevents future injuries
· Increases flexibility
6. Volume - The amount of weight you lifted.
○ Example: If you were to deadlift 100 lbs for 3 sets of 10 repetitions, you would equate your volume like this:
- Weight x (Reps x Sets) = Volume or 100 x (10 x 3) = 3,000 lbs
7. Intensity - Intensity is how heavy the weight is relative to your 1 rep max (1RM). In other words, high intensity means you are lifting a heavier weight and low intensity means you are lifting a lighter weight.
○ Example: If you can only do 1 rep of 100 lbs in a given exercise then that is your 1 RM.
· If you use 50 lbs, that’s 50% 1RM, and low intensity
· If you use 75 lbs, that’s 75% 1RM, and medium intensity
· If you use 98 lbs, that’s 98% 1RM, and high intensity
8. Progressive Overload - Progressive overload means challenging your muscles and body by gradually increasing the stress put on them over time.
o Example: Increase your weightlifting repetitions or the speed at which you do over the course of time. The idea is that you slightly push yourself (in a healthy way) with each workout, ultimately resulting in improved performance and strength.
9. Superset - When you perform 2 exercises back-to-back. Typically, there is little to no rest in between 1 set of each exercise.
o Example: Here are 3 common types of supersets:
· Lower/Upper - Pair a lower body exercise with an upper body exercise.
➤Romanian Deadlift & Push-Up
· Antagonistic - Pair an exercise with another exercise that works opposing muscle groups.
➤ Chest Press & Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
· Agonistic - Pair together 2 exercises that work the same muscle groups.
➤ Lateral Raises & Seated Overhead Press
10. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) - DOMS is the result of teeny tiny tears in your muscles from really strenuous activity, meaning you did things that your body is not normally used to.
o Example: Mild to moderate muscle soreness is common and generally harmless. DOMS usually begins within 6 - 8 hours after a new activity or a change in activity and can last up to 24 - 48 hours after the exercise. The muscle pain is due to inflammation within the muscle, which is one of the main triggers for this muscle soreness.
Learning how to apply these strength training concepts can take some time, but once you understand the what and the why, it can help you to enjoy and appreciate the process a little more.