Fitness/bodybuilding glossary

Overheard some gym bro’s speaking gibberish in the gym? Or not quite sure what your pt has planned for you? Don’t worry, we get just as confused as you do sometimes. Here’s all the help you’ve been looking for!

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Abduction – Movement of a limb away from the middle of the body, such as bringing the arm to shoulder-height from a hanging-down position.

Abs – Abbreviation for abdominal muscles.

Abyss – A barrier which stands between knowing what needs to be done and actually doing it

Accommodating Resistance – Increasing resistance as the lifter’s force increases through range of motion. Nautilus machines are said to provide accommodating resistance.

Adduction – Movement of a limb toward the middle of the body, such as bringing the arm down after being extended at the shoulder.

Adhesion – Fibrous patch holding muscles or other parts together that are normally separated.

Aerobic Exercise – Prolonged, moderate-intensity work that uses up oxygen at or below the level at which your cardiorespiratory (heart-lung) system can replenish oxy-gen in the working muscles. Aerobic literally means with oxygen, and it is the only type of exercise which burns body fat to meet its energy needs. Bodybuilders engage in aerobic workouts to develop additional cardiorespiratory fitness, as well as to burn off excess body fat to achieve peak contest muscularity. Common aerobic activities in-clude running, cycling, swimming, dancing, and walk-ing. Depending on how vigorously you play them, most racquet sports can also be aerobic exercise.

AFWB – American Federation of Women Bodybuilders – group that administers women’s amateur bodybuilding in America.

Agonist – Muscle directly engaged in contraction, which is primarily responsible for movement of a body part.

All-or-None – Muscle fiber contracts fully or it does not contract at all.

Amino acids – A group of compounds that serve as the building blocks from which protein and muscle are made.

AMUR – An abbreviation for the Adult Minimum Daily Requirement of certain nutrients as established by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Anabolic Drugs – Also called anabolic steroids, these are artificial male hormones that aid in nitrogen retention and thereby add to a male bodybuilder’s muscle mass and strength. These drugs are not without hazardous side effects, however, and they are legally available only through a physician’s prescription. Steroids are available in most gyms via the black market, but it is very danger-ous to use such unknown substances to increase muscle mass.

Anabolic Steroid – Synthetic chemical that mimics the muscle-building characteris-tics of the male hormone testosterone.

Anaerobic Exercise – Exercise of much higher intensity than aerobic work, which uses up oxygen more quickly than the body can replenish it in the working muscles. Anaerobic exercise eventually builds up a significant oxygen debt that forces an athlete to terminate the exercise session rather quickly. Anaerobic exercise (the kind of exercise to which bodybuilding training belongs) burns up glycogen (muscle sugar) to supply its energy needs. Fast sprinting is a typical anaerobic form of exercise.

Androgenic Drugs – Androgenics are drugs that simulate the effects of the male hormone testosterone in the human body. Androgens do build a degree of strength and muscle mass, but they also stimulate secondary sex characteristics such as increased body hair, a deepened voice, and high levels of aggression. Indeed, many bodybuilders and pow-erlifters take androgens to stimulate aggressiveness in the gym, resulting in more productive workouts

Antagonist – Muscle that counteracts the agonist, lengthening when agonist muscle contracts.

Antioxidant – Small compounds that minimize tissue oxidation and help con-trol free radicals and their negative effects.

APC – American Physique Committee, Inc. Group that administers men’s amateur bodybuilding in America.

Arm Blaster – Aluminum or fiberglass strip about 5″ x 24″, supported at waist height by a strap around neck. Keeps elbows from moving while curling barbell or dumbbells or doing triceps pushdowns.

Atrophy – Withering away – decrease in size and functional ability of tissue or organs.

Baby’s Butt – Indentation between the two heads of biceps muscles of very muscular athlete.

Back-Cycling – Cutting back on either number of sets, repetitions or amount of weight used during an exercise session.

Bar – The steel shaft that forms the basic part of a barbell or dumbbell. These bars are normally about one inch thick, and they are often encased in a revolving metal sleeve.

Barbell – Weight used for exercise, consisting of a rigid handle 5-7′ long, with detachable metal discs at each end.

Balance – A term referring to an even relationship of body proportions in a man’s physique. Perfectly balanced phys-ical proportions are a much-sought-after trait among competitive bodybuilders.

Basic Exercise – A bodybuilding exercise which stresses the largest muscle groups of your body (e.g., the thighs, back, and/or chest), often in combination with smaller muscles. You will be able to use very heavy weights in basic exer-cises in order to build great muscle mass and physical power. Typical basic movements include squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. (You should also see the listing for Isolation Exercise.)

Benches – A wide variety of exercise benches is available for use in doing barbell and dumbbell exercise either lying or seated on a bench. The most common type of bench, a flat exercise bench, can be used for chest, shoulder, and arm movements. Incline and decline benches (which are angled at about 30-45 degrees) also allow movements for the chest, shoulders, and arms.

Biomechanics – Science concerned with the internal and external forces acting on a human body and the effects produced by these forces.

Body composition – The percentage of your body weight composed of fat compared to fat-free mass.

Bodybuilding – A type of weight training applied in con-junction with sound nutritional practices to alter the shape or form of one’s body. In the context of this book, bodybuilding is a competitive sport nationally and inter-nationally in both amateur and professional categories for men, women, and mixed pairs. However, a majority of individuals use bodybuilding methods merely to lose excess body fat or build up a too thin part of the body.

Buffed – As in a “finely buffed finish” – good muscle size and definition, looking good.

Bulking Up – Gaining body weight by adding muscle, body fat or both.

Burn – A beneficial burning sensation in a muscle that you are training. This burn is caused by a rapid buildup of fatigue toxins in the muscle and is a good indication that you are optimally working a muscle group. The best bodybuilders consistently forge past the pain barrier erected by muscle burn and consequently build very mas-sive, highly defined muscles.

Burns – A training technique used to push a set past the normal failure point, and thereby to stimulate it to greater hypertrophy. Burns consist of short, quick, bouncy reps 4-6 inches in range of motion. Most bodybuilders do 8-12 burns at the end of a set that has already been taken to failure. They generate terrific burn in the muscles, hence the name of this technique.

CAFB – The Canadian Amateur Federation of Bodybuild-ers, the sports federation responsible in Canada for ad-ministering amateur bodybuilding for men, women, and mixed pairs. The CAFB is one of the more than 120 national bodybuilding federations affiliated internation-ally with the IFBB.

Calories – The unit for measuring the energy value of foods.

Carbohydrates – Organic compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxy-gen. They’re a very effective fuel source for the body. The different types of carbohydrates include starches, sugars, and fibers. (‘carbohydrates con-tain four calories per gram. Glucose-blood sugar-is a carbohydrate used by every cell in the body as fuel.

Cardiorespiratory Fitness – Physical fitness of the heart, circulatory system and lungs that is indicative of good aerobic fitness.

Cardiovascular Training – Physical conditioning that strengthens heart and blood vessels.

Chalk Powder – Used on hands for secure grip.

Cheating – A method of pushing a muscle to keep working far past the point at which it would normally fail to continue contracting due to excessive fatigue buildup. In cheating you will use a self-administered body swing, jerk, or otherwise poor exercise form once you have reached the failure point to take some of the pressure off the muscles and allow them to continue a set for two or three repetitions past failure.

Chinning Bar – A bar attached high on the wall or gym ceiling, on which you can do chins, hanging leg raises, and other movements for your upper body. A chinning bar is analogous to the high bar male gymnasts use in national and international competitions.

Cholesterol – A type of fat that, although most widely known as a “bad fat” implicated in promoting heart disease and stroke, is a vital component in the production of many hormones in the body. There are different types of cholesterol: namely, MDL and LDL (MDL being the “good” form and LDL being the “had” form).

Circuit Training – Going quickly from one exercise apparatus to another and doing a prescribed number of exercises on each apparatus, to keep pulse rate high and promote overall fitness,

Clean – The movement of raising a barbell or two dumb-bells from the floor to your shoulders in one smooth motion to prepare for an overhead lift. To properly exe-cute a clean movement, you must use the coordinated strength of your legs, back, shoulders, and arms.

Clean diet – This refers to eating nutrient-rich, low-fat meals.

Clean and Jerk – Olympic lift where weight is raised from floor to overhead in 2 movements (see also SNATCH).

Clean and Snatch – One of 2 Olympic lifts where weight is raised from floor to overhead at arms’ length in one motion.

Collar – The clamp that is used to hold plates securely in place on a barbell or dumbbell bar. The cylindrical metal clamps are held in place on the bar by means of a set screw threaded through the collar and tightened securely against the bar. Inside collars keep plates from sliding inward and injuring your hands, while outside collars keep plates from sliding off the barbell in the middk of an exercise.

Compound Training – Sometimes called “giant sets”; doing 34 exercises for same muscle, one after other, with minimal rest in between.

Couples’ Competition – A relatively new form of body-building competition in which man-woman teams com-pete against others with particularly appealing posing routines featuring adagio and other dance movements and lifts. More frequently called “Mixed Pairs Competition,” this event is rapidly gaining international popularity with the bodybuilding community and general public, and is held in both amateur and professional World Championships.

Concentric – The lifting phase of an exercise, when the muscle shortens or contracts. For example, When you lift the weight in a bench press, press-ing it from your chest to the lock-out position, that’s the concentric, or “positive,” phase of the exercise.

Crunches – Abdominal~ exercises – sit-ups done lying on floor with legs on bench, hands behind neck.

Curl-Bar – Cambered bar designed for more comfortable grip and less forearm strain.

Cut Up (or Cut) – A term used to denote a bodybuilder who has an extremely high degree of muscular definition due to a low degree of body fat.

Dead Lift – One of three powerlifting events (other two are squat and bench press). Weight is lifted off floor to approximately waist height. Lifter must stand erect, shoulders back.

Deficiency – A sub optimal level of one or more nutrients that are essential for good health, most often seen with vitamins. A deficiency can be caused by poor nutrition. increased bodily demands (especially from intense train-ing), or both.

Definition – The absence of fat over clearly delineated muscular movement. Definition is often referred to as “muscularity,” and a highly defined bodybuilder has so little body fat that very fine grooves of muscularity called “striations” will be clearly visible over each major muscle group.

Delts – Abbreviation for deltoids, the large triangular muscles of the shoulder that raise the arm away from the body and perform other functions.

Density – Muscle hardness, which is also related to muscu-lar definition. A bodybuilder can be well-defined and still have excess fat within each major muscle complex. But when he has muscle density, even this intramuscular fat has been eliminated. A combination of muscle mass and muscle density is highly prized among all competitive bodybuilders.

Diet – Food and drink regularly consumed by a person, often according to specific guidelines to improve physical condition.

Dipping Bars – Parallel bars set high enough above the floor to allow you to do dips between them, leg raises for your abdominals, and a variety of other exercises. Some gyms have dipping bars which are angled inward at one end; these can be used when changing your grip width on dips.

Dip Belt – Large heavy belt worn around hips with chain at each end that can be attached to a barbell plate or dumbbell for additional resistance during certain exercises like dips.

Diuretics – Sometimes called “water pills,” these are drugs and herbal preparations that remove excess water from a bodybuilder’s system just prior to a show, thereby reveal-ing greater muscular detail. Harsh chemical diuretics can be quite harmful to your health, particularly if they are used on a chronic basis. Two of the side effects of excessive chemical diuretic use are muscle cramps and heart ar-rhythmias (irregular heart beats).

Double (Split Training) Routine – Working out twice a day to allow for shorter, more intense workouts. Usually performed by advanced bodybuilders preparing for contests.

Drying Out – Encouraging loss of body fluids by limiting liquid intake, eliminating salt, sweating heavily and/or using diuretics.

Dumbbell – Weight used for exercising consisting of rigid handle about 14″ long with sometimes detachable metal discs at each end.

Easy Set – Exercise not close to maximum effort, as in a warm-up.

Eccentric – The lowering phase of an exercise, when the muscle lengthens. For example, lowering the weight to your chest during the bench press is the eccentric, or “negative,” portion of the exercise.

Energy – The capacity to do work. Energy harnessed is power.

Endurance – Ability of a muscle to produce force continually over a period of time.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) – Fats our bodies can’t make, so we must obtain them through our diets. These fats (which include linoleic and linolenic acid) are very important to hormone production, as well as cellular synthesis and integrity. Good sources of these fats arc flaxseed oil and safflower oil

Estrogen – Female sex hormone.

Exercise – Each individual movement (e.g., a seated pulley row, barbell curl, or seated calf raise) that you perform in your bodybuilding workouts.

Extension – Body part (i.e. hand, neck, trunk, etc.) going from a bent to a straight position, as in leg extension.

Failure – That point in an exercise at which you have so fully fatigued your working muscles that they can no longer complete an additional repetition of a movement with strict biomechanics. You should always take your post-warm-up sets at least to the point of momentary muscular failure, and frequently past that point.

Fascia – Fibrous connective tissue that covers, supports and separates ~l muscles and muscle groups. It also unites skin with underlying tissue.

Fast-Twitch – Refers to muscle cells that fire quickly and are utilized in anaerobic activities like sprinting and powerlifting.

Fat – One of the macronutrients. Fat contains nine calories per gram; it has the most calories of MI the macronutrients. There are two types of fat-saturated “bad” fat and unsaturated “good” fat.

Fat free mass (FFM) – The part of the body not containing fat, including: bone, muscle, skin, organs, water, hair, Hood, and lymph.

Flex – Bend or decrease angle of a joint; contract a muscle.

Flexibility – A suppleness of joints, muscle masses, and connective tissues which lets you move your limbs over an exaggerated range of motion, a valuable quality in body-building training, since it promotes optimum physical development. Flexibility can only be attained through systematic stretching training, which should form a cor-nerstone of your overall bodybuilding philosophy.

Flexion – Bending in contrast to extending, as in leg flexions.

Flush – Cleanse a muscle by increasing the blood supply to it, removing toxins left in muscle by exertion,

Forced Reps – Forced reps are a frequently used method of extending a set past the point of failure to induce greater gains in muscle mass and quality. With forced reps, a training partner pulls upward on the bar just enough for you to grind out two or three reps past the failure thresh-old.

Form – This is simply another word to indicate the biome-chanics used during the performance of any bodybuild-ing or weight-training movement. Perfect form involves moving only the muscles specitied in an exercise description.

Free Style Training – Training all body parts in one workout.

Free Weights – Barbells, dumbbells, and related equip-ment. Serious bodybuilders use a combination of free weights and such exercise machines as those manufac-tured by Nautilus and Universal Gyms, but they primarily use free weights in their workouts.

Frequent Feeding – Eating often throughout the day to work with your body, not against it. fly eating at regular intervals throughout the day (approximately every two to three hours), you can keep your metabolism elevated and energy levels stable.

Fructose – The main type of sugar found in fruit. It’s sweeter than sucrose (table sugar).

Giant Sets – Series of 4-6 exercises done with little or no rest between movements and a rest interval of 3-4 minutes between giant sets. You can perform giant sets for either two antagonistic muscle groups or a single body part.

Glucose – The simplest sugar molecule. It’s also the main sugar found in blood and is used as a basic fuel for the body.

Gluteals – Abbreviation for gluteus maximus, medius and minimus; the buttocks muscles.

Glycogen – The principal stored form of carbohydrate energy (glucose), which is reserved in muscles. When your muscles are full of glycogen, they look and feel full.

Gorging – This refers to eating large amounts of food at one meal, then waiting for many hours, maybe a full day, before eating again. This is also known as bingeing.

Grazing – This term refers to frequent feedings-eating small amounts of food often.

Hand Off – Assistance in getting a weight to starting position for an exercise.

Hard Set – Perform a prescribed number of repetitions of an exercise using maximum effort.

HDL – This stands for “high-density lipoprotein.” It’s one of the subcate-gories of cholesterol–typically thought of as the “good” cholesterol. You may be able to raise your HDL cholesterol levels by ingesting qual-ity unsaturated fats like flaxseed oil. Exercise has ~so been shown to increase HDL levels.

Hypertrophy – The scientific term denoting an increase in muscle mass and an improvement in relative muscular strength. Hypertrophy is induced by placing an “over-load” on the working muscles with various training tech-niques during a bodybuilding workout.

IFBB – International Federation of Bodybuilders, founded in 1946 – group that over-sees worldwide men’s and women’s amateur and professional bodybuilding.

Intensity – The relative degree of effort that you put into each set of every exercise in a bodybuilding workout. The more intensity you place on a working muscle, the more quickly it will increase in hypertrophy. The most basic methods of increasing intensity are to use heavier weights in good form in each exercise, do more reps with a set weight, or perform a consistent number of sets and reps with a particular weight in a movement, but progressively reducing the length of rest intervals between sets.

Isokinetic Exercise – Isotonic exercise in which there is ACCOMMODATING RESISTANCE. Also refers to constant speed. Nautilus and Cybex are two types of isokinetic machines, where machine varies amount of resistance being lifted to match force curve developed by the muscle.

Isometric Exercise – Muscular contraction where muscle maintains a constant length and joints do not move. These exercises are usually performed against a wall or other immovable object.

Isolation Exercise – In contrast to a basic exercise, an isolation movement stresses a single muscle group (or sometimes just part of a single muscle) in relative isola-tion from the remainder of the body. Isolation exercises are good for shaping and defining various muscle groups. For your thighs, squats would be a typical basic move-ment, while leg extensions would be the equivalent isola-tion exercise.

Isotonic Exercise – Muscular action in which there is a change in length of muscle and weight) keeping tension constant. Lifting free weights is a classic isotonic exercise.

Judging Rounds – In the universally accepted and applied IFBB system of judging, bodybuilders are evaluated in three distinctly different rounds of judging, plus a final pose down round for only the top five competitors after the first three rounds have been adjudicated. In Round One, the competitors are viewed in groups and individually in seven well-defined compulsory poses; in Round Two, they are viewed semi-relaxed from the front, both sides, and back; and in Round Three, they perform their own uniquely personal free-posing routines to their own choice of music. Overall, this use of three rounds of judging and a pose down round results in a very fair choice of the final winners of a bodybuilding champion-ship.

Juice – A slang term for anabolic steroids, e.g., being “on the juice.”

Kinesiology – Study of muscles and their movements.

Knee Wraps – Elastic strips about 3½” wide used to wrap knees for better support when performing squats, dead lifts, etc.

Lats – Abbreviation for latissimus dorsi, the large muscles of the back that move the arms downward, backward and in internal rotation.

Law Of Nature – Use it or lose it.

Layoff – Most intelligent bodybuilders take a one- or two- week layoff from bodybuilding training from time to time, during which they totally avoid the gym. A layoff after a period of intense precompetition preparation is particularly beneficial as a means of allowing the body tocomp)tfr)y mit r&u0Pr2ta &n4 ~ L~flW~ injuries that might have cropped up during the peaking cycle

LDL – This stands for “low-density lipoprotein” and is a subcategory of choles-terol, typically thought of as the “bad” cholesterol. Levels of LDL cholesterol can be elevated by ingestion of saturated fats and a lack of exercise.

Lean Body Mass – Everything in the body except fat, including bone, organs, skin, nails and all body tissue including muscle. Approximately 50-60% of lean body mass is water.

Lift Off – Assistance in getting weight to proper starting position.

Ligament – Strong, fibrous band of connecting tissue connecting 2 or more bones or cartilages or supporting a muscle, fascia or organ.

Linoleic acid – An essential fatty acid and, more specifically, an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid. Good sources of this fatty acid are safflower oil and soybean oil.

Linolenic acid – An essential fatty acid and, more precise an omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acid. It is found in high concentrations in flaxseed oil.

Lock Out – Partial repetition of an exercise by pushing the weight through only last few inches of movement.

Lower Abs – Abbreviation for abdominal muscles below the navel. Max- Maximum effort for one repetition of an exercise.

Mass – The relative size of each muscle group, or of the entire physique. As long as you also have a high degree of muscularity and good balance of physical proportions, muscle mass is a highly prized quality among competitive bodybuilders.

Meal – Food that’s eaten at one time. Each meal should contain a portion (which is the size of the palm of your hand or your clenched fist) of protein and a portion of carbohydrates.

Metabolic rate – The rate you convert energy stores into working energy in your body. In other words, it’s how Fast your “whole system” runs. The meta-bolic rate is controlled by a number of factors, including: muscle mass (the greater your muscle mass, the greater your metabolic rate), calorie intake, and exercise.

Metabolism – The use of nutrients by the body. It’s the process by which sub-stances come into the body and the rate at which they are used.

Midsection – Muscles of abdominal area, including upper and lower abdominals, obliques and rectus abdominis muscles.

Military press – Pressing a barbell from upper chest upward in standing or sitting position.

Minerals – Naturally occurring, inorganic substances that are essential for human life, which play a role in many vital metabolic processes.

Mixed Pairs Competition – Couples’ competition, a rela-tively new form of bodybuilding competition in which man-woman teams compete against others with particu-larly appealing posing routines featuring adagio and other dance movement

Muscle – Tissue consisting of fibers organized into bands or bundles that contract to cause bodily movement. Muscle fibers run in the same direction as the action they perform.

Muscle Head – Slang for someone whose life is dominated by training.

Muscle Spasm – Sudden, involuntary contraction of muscle or muscle group.

Muscle Tone – Condition in which a muscle is in a Constant yet slight state of contraction and appears firm.

Muscularity – An alternative term for “definition” or “cuts.”

Myositis – Muscular soreness due to inflammation that often Occurs 1-2 days after unaccustomed exercise.

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