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!”
- Rep: A rep (or repetition) is one complete exercise movement. So one push-up would be considered one rep of that exercise.
- Set: A set is a group of consecutive reps. So if you did five push-ups it would be considered one set of five reps.
- Cardio: Cardio is any exercise that raises your heart rate. Typically when someone mentions cardio, they are referring to an activity that keeps your heart rate and the rest of your body’s systems elevated at a steady pace.
- Conditioning: Conditioning is similar to cardio in that it raises your heart rate, but it does not always keep it at a steady pace. The best way to define conditioning is any exercise that helps your body get better at storing and using energy. More simply put, conditioning extends your ability to continue an exercise or activity for longer periods of time.
- H.I.I.T: High Intensity Interval Training – this is a form of conditioning where you repeat short bouts of high-intensity exercise followed by bouts of low-intensity active recovery.
- Strength Training: Strength training is simply working on getting the body stronger. Typically this is done through resistance training. Strength training builds strength and muscle density but not necessarily muscle size. Strength training also helps your body burn more calories, increase bone density, and get blood flow to the joints.
- Core: Core is a general term used for the muscles that include your pelvic floor, your “abs,” your diaphragm and the muscles that wrap around and attach to your spine.
- Brace: The term brace is used to describe the tightening of your core muscles to keep your spine stable. Bracing your core is not about pulling in your abs. Think of bracing as turning your entire core into a barrel, where everything stays very tight so that your spine cannot bend at all. Think of getting ready for someone to punch you in the gut. You wouldn’t “suck in,” but rather take a big breath and make your abdomen very stiff.
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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