The Beginner’s Guide To Gym Slang

“Jeez!” You exclaim in exasperation as you hear other gymgoers converse in a strange and foreign language. Sure, it’s English alright, but it’s full of acronyms and terms that somewhat throw you off. Before you ditch the gym in utter confusion, consider reviewing this guide to help you decode the mysterious of the gym speak.

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Here’re the most common words you’ll hear inside a gym:

Pump: A term describing the feeling of having an intense and satisfying workout. It emanates from the rush of endorphins and adrenaline you experience after a good, hard lift or set.

Gains: Progress made in terms of overall strength, muscle growth, fat loss, and other improvements to your physique.

DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness): This refers to the muscle ache you feel 24-48 hours after a workout. It indicates your muscles are recovering and rebuilding themselves. If you start a workout you’re not accustomed to and feel it the next day, you’re making gains.

PR (Personal Record): A benchmark of your best performance in a set or lift.

Rep: A repetition of an exercise performed with proper form, usually referring to the number of times you do it.

Set: A group of reps done in succession culminating in a break, before beginning a new set. For instance, you can do 4 sets of 10 bench press reps.

Tri-set: Three exercises done in succession with little to no rest in between. For instance, it may entail doing 10 reps of a shoulder press, followed by 15 reps of a chest press, and then 10 reps of lateral raises.

Deadlift: A weight training exercise where you pick up a barbell from the ground, up to your hips, and back down. As a beginner, remember that proper form is vital, as it can be dangerous if done incorrectly.

Superset: Similar to a tri-set, but with only two exercises. This is great for completing a workout faster while still achieving desired results. For instance, a superset may involve 10 squats followed by 8 burpees.

Drop set: A set of reps performed at a certain weight until you can’t do any more, then reducing the weight and continuing your set. This allows you to do more reps without resting. For example, you can do 10 squats with 30-pound dumbbells. When you can’t handle more, reduce the weight to 20 lbs. and continue.

Isolation exercise: An exercise that focuses on one muscle group. Examples include a tricep extension or chest fly.

Compound exercise: This implies movement that activates multiple muscle groups, requiring more energy and effort to complete. For instance, a squat works on your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core. Likewise, a shoulder press puts your shoulders, triceps and chest to work.

AMRAP: Short for “as many reps as possible”, this is a strategy you use to push yourself hard and achieve better results. Gymgoers use this approach to challenge themselves to complete more reps in a set or time they have. Emphasis is usually on intensity, with rest time being minimal.

Cardio: Any exercise that raises your pulse or increases your heart rate, like running or cycling. This allows your respiratory system to do extra work while burning more calories.

Cool down: A slower-paced exercise after a workout to allow your body to transition from an intense state to a resting phase. It helps reduce ligament strain and lets your heart cool down gradually. For instance, a 5-minute walk after a gym session or static stretches after a run can avert muscle stiffness.

EMOM: An acronym for “every minute on the minute.” This gym phrase implies you have to complete a certain number of reps in a minute before moving on to the next set. It encourages you to push yourself and complete each set quickly so you don’t lose track of time. Likewise, it tests your muscular endurance and pushes you to do more.

Interval training: This refers to alternating between high-intensity activity and low-intensity recovery periods. It offers a great way to burn more calories and gets your heart rate up quickly while incorporating moments of rest.

Feeling like a fitness aficionado now? Go on – keep the gym conversations going with these terms. And while this list is far from exhaustive, it can help you easily understand most fitness lingo. While at it, remember to use proper form and technique when you hit the gym.

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