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Gym Jargon... An A-Z.

For many fitness first-timers, the gym can be an intimidating place!

Aside from getting to grips with the rules of gym etiquette and knowing how to use a myriad of exercise contraptions, there's the subject of gym vocabulary. Gym jargon can sound like a whole new language to those not in the know. According to a study by Fitness First, 36 per cent of us pretend to understand fitness jargon when we haven't a clue what it means. Because of course, we'd hate to look foolish when it comes to our fitness knowledge!

So, thankfully, a few fitness experts have created a handy list, taking you through an A-Z of fitness speak, from bulking to burping and other baffling buzzwords!

The guide, created by Fitness First, comes as statistics show that women are twice as intimidated about joining a gym as men. Their aim is to make everyone feel much more confident when it comes to getting their gym time done.
Notepads at the ready...


The ability to change direction quickly.


Body Mass Index is a measure of height against overall body weight which is a good indicator for health. An ideal BMI is between 18.9 and 24.


Increasing the amount of calories consumed to gain muscle mass


Full body exercise. Place hands on the ground, jump legs behind you, immediately jump back in then jump into the air with arms above your head


Exercises using no added weight, commonly referred to as body-weight training - for example pull-ups.


Short for cardiovascular and is any exercise which increases your heart rate.

Clean Eating

Natural, unprocessed food.

Cutting phase

Decrease calories and increase cardio to shed excess fat gained when bulking. The aim is to allow muscle definition to show.


Lifting a weight from the floor whilst standing, this exercise is great for lower back, glutes and hamstring strength.


That sore feeling two days after a workout.

Donkey kicks

Start on all fours and bend one knee by 90 degrees then lift knee to hip level and lower without touching the floor.

Downward dog

An essential yoga pose. It's named after the way dogs naturally stretch their entire bodies!

Drop sets

Completing multiple sets of the same exercise by reducing the weight each time, with no rest in between.

EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption)

An increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity.

Free weights

Includes dumbbells, barbells and weight plate machines.

Functional training

Exercise to help with everyday activities

Jumping Jack

Start from a standing position, then jump, shooting arms and legs outwards mid-air, and land with feet together.


A cast-iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle.

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is produced when you work muscles hard. A build-up of this normal by-product is what causes your muscles to fatigue during a workout.

Maintaining form

Keeping the correct technique when performing an exercise.

Mountain climbers

A press up position while bringing each knee as close to the chest as possible.


Obstacle course racing - an alternative to running a marathon - think military training!


Lie flat and hold yourself on your toes and elbows for as long as possible.


An exercise that involves rapid and repeated stretching and contracting of the muscles

Power lift

Three movements used in a power lifting competition; the squat, bench press and dead lift.


Good bacteria

Protein window

Best time to eat protein


A heavy metal sled which is pushed or pulled to build muscle strength, power and speed.



Indoor Cycling Class

An indoor cycling exercise class focusing on cardiovascular fitness, endurance and strength.


Weights wingman to help you lift heavier weights safely


A lower body exercise used in strength training. The individual bends the knees and shifts hips back and slowly lowers down then stands back up.


Two moves back to back with no rest

Triceps Dip

An arm exercise which targets the muscle at the back of the arm.


Suspension training product that leverages gravity and the user's body weight to complete hundreds of exercises.

Whey Protein

Protein from whey, a by-product of cheese production, used as a dietary supplement in a powder form that is typically mixed with water or milk.


Someone who loves yoga now you know!

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