Do you speak gym? 8 common training terms explained

Gym Speak Explained: Training Terms 101

The gym can have a completely unique vocabulary that can be confusing (even to those of us who have been around for years), and if you’re confused you aren’t going to enjoy your training. Let us help demystify some common training terms.


by Samuel Edwards, certified personal trainer

You did it. You put on your workout clothes, got in your car and made it to the gym.

Maybe you’re working with a trainer, or perhaps you got here just in time to try out the hot new group exercise class. Maybe you’re finally trying that new workout your friend shared on Pinterest. No matter what you’re here to work on, great job – you made it in. The hardest part was getting here. It’s all downhill from here.

But then you open Pinterest and suddenly the easy part is not so easy. Not only do you have to do the work, you have to decipher what looks like a second language the instructions are in.

Or you’re nodding blankly as your trainer says you’re going to start with some “conditioning”. What exactly does that mean? You conditioned your hair last night but what does that have to do with your body? Now you’re feeling confused.

In class, the group exercise instructor starts off by telling everyone that they are in a H.I.I.T class and your first thought is: “I didn’t sign up for boxing … did I?”

As a personal trainer, I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes we slip up and don’t explain the terms we use. We want you to be armed with all the knowledge you need to get the most out of your time at acac. Below are 8 common training terms and what they mean. We hope this will give you the gym vocabulary you need so that next time your friend says to you, “Let’s go do H.I.I.T exercise!” you don’t hear “Let’s go hit DQ for extra fries!”

Hopefully this clears up any confusion with common training terms and helps you have a better experience exercising at the gym. And again, great job! You made it in, which is the hardest part of the workout!

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