When you start getting interested in exercising and fitness and you begin reading on the subject, it can seem a bit intimidating, like a new language. Just like any field, exercising has its own common terms. Unless you know about these terms, you won’t be able to correctly follow a fitness plan, lose weight, and burn fat effectively.
To make sure you feel “at home” whenever someone talks with you about workouts and fitness, this article will cover some of the common words, terms, and phrases, that you’re likely to read in fitness magazines or hear around your gym.
This is a low-intensity activity whose purpose is to prepare your buddy for the workout ahead. A warm-up usually consists of low level aerobic activity and stretching. The aerobic activity is usually done for 7 – 10 minutes. The idea is to warm up the muscles, tendon, and joints in peraration for the strain they’ll soon be under. A warm up reduces risk of injury so it is very important.
These are workouts that are designed to increase your heart rate and breathing. They usually involve no weights of any kind. Some of the more common cardio workouts are walking, running, rowing, swimming, and cycling. For more options read about these top cardio routines.
Strength training, weight lifting
These are exercises that train your muscles against resistance. The idea is to improve the strength and endurance of your muscles by forcing them to work against a certain resistance. These kind of exercises are usually done with weights, workout bands, or with strength training machines. However, you can also use your body as a weights.
Flexibility or stretching exercises
These exercises are done to improve the range and functionality of muscles and joints. These are often done during the warm-up or cooldown stages of a workout. Stretching exercises help to keep your muscles and joints supple and reduce risk of injury.
A few minutes of low intensity activity performed at the end of the workout. The purpose is to gradually lower your elevated heart rate back and slow your breathing. Stretching exercises are also performed during a cooldown.
Rep or Repetition
A single occurrence of a certain exercise. For instance, a single push-up is one repetition of the push-up exercise. You will often get guidance in fitness programs specified in the number of reps.
A number of reps of the same exercises done one after the other with no rest in between. You do take a short break in between sets. Your workout will usually be divided into a number of sets, each with its own number of repetitions.
Less Common Exercise Terms
Refers to a strength exercise that targets a single muscle group primarily. For instance, a bicep curl targets the bicep muscles, first and foremost.
A strength exercise that targets multiple muscle groups. For instance, the squat is considered a compound exercise as it targets the quadriceps, glutes, and calves, among other muscles.
A strength exercise that requires no equipment whatsoever. Your own body’s weight is the source of resistance. A lunge is an example of such an exercise. For more bodyweight exercises read this post about exercises without weights.
Refers to the possibility of working out too hard too often. Usually happens to people who train with heavy weight lifting. May lead to fatigue, injury, and a reduction in muscle endurance.
I hope that this article has given you a clear picture of the exercise terms people throw around in gyms or mention in magazines. Now you’ll be able to better judge the advice and guidance you’re given and create the best workout plan for you.