Guide to Frequently Used Fitness Terminology
This is by no means a complete list but these are some common terms you will hear when reading articles or viewing workout pages on this website and anywhere else. This list will be continually expanded.
Repetitions / Reps: One action/motion of an exercise. E.g. Curling a Dumbbell up and then back down would be 1 Rep of a Dumbbell Bicep Curl.
Set: One performance of an exercise until the next Rest Period. E.g. Doing Push Ups for a set number of reps or until failure would be 1 Set.
Superset: Performing exercises together, one after the other, with minimal rest between the two. E.g. Doing a set of Bench Presses, and immediately going into a set of Push Ups after the Bench Presses. Often marked as “//” on Workout Plans.
Rest Period: The amount of time you stop for between sets.
Time Under Tension: The amount of time a weight is lifted / resistance is being held until the tension is released in some way (putting the weight down, letting a weight rest in a hang, letting a plate return to rest on a machine, etc).
Reps To Failure / RTF: Performing a set until you can’t do another full rep.
Bracing: Tightening the core muscles in your body to maintain a sturdy, even position as a base for your form in an exercise.
Core / Core Muscles: Everything from your Neck down to your Glutes (Butt Muscles) excluding the arms.
Programming: Your scheduled fitness plans consisting of Workouts, Recovery Days, etc. sometimes includes Dietary / Nutrition plans depending on who you ask.
Recovery Days / Rest Day: A day where you are not doing a heavy Resistance workout. Can consist of doing nothing at all to performing Active Recovery.
Active Recovery: A non-weight / Resistance training day that focuses instead on Flexibility and Mobility training or Mental Recovery / Stress Reduction, E.g. Yoga, Tai Chi, Foam Rolling / SMR, Meditation.
Foam Rolling / SMR: Self-Myofascial Release. A deep tissue stimulation technique for releasing muscle tension and restoring proper muscle function. Aids in recovery, and relieves painful tension which can improve posture as well.
Mental Recovery / Stress Reduction: Any activity that is restorative to mental health and general feeling of wellness. E.g. Meditation, Yoga, Epsom Salt Baths/Soaks, Massage, etc.
Spotter: Another person that is capable of taking over the lifting of a weight you are using in the event you can’t complete a rep with it in a compromising position such as a Barbell Bench Press. Important for safety. Some equipment can be set or comes with safety devices such as bars that prevent accidents even without a spotter but it’s still best to have one even in those situations if someone is available, especially if you are just starting, since a Spotter can also watch your form for you.
Form / Proper Form: Performing an exercise in the proper bodily position and movement. Bad form can lead to serious injury, and at the very least lessens your Gains.
Gains: Slang for your fitness progress, E.g. GAINING larger muscles.
Meal Prepping: Preparing many meals (often of the same meal, separated into portions) at once for consumption over the course of several days. Done to save time, have complete control over nutrition, or simplify meal planning.
Free-Weights: Any weight training equipment that isn’t attached to something. E.g. Barbells, Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Medicine Balls, etc.
Keto / Ketosis: A survival mechanism of starving the body of carbohydrates; the body switches its primary energy source to fats vs carbs. Since your body primarily gets its energy from carbohydrates when you cut them out as in the popular “Keto Diet” your body thinks it is starving and switches into this for survival mode. Studies are torn on the issue of whether it is healthy or not to intentionally do, especially long term.
Paleo: A popular “Diet” that strictly sticks to no processed foods, and attempts to cut out foods that are thought to be non-native to the consumer.