Scratch's Glossary Of Fitness Terms
Term (alphabetical) Definition
Abduction Movement of a limb away from middle of body, such as bringing arm to shoulder height from hanging-down position.
Abs Abbreviation for abdominal muscles.
Abyss A barrier which stands between knowing what needs to be done and actually doing it
Accomodating Resistance Increasing resistance as lifter's force increases through range of motion. Nautilus machines are said to provide accommodating resistance.
Acute Injury An injury which occurs due to one specific event.
Adduction Movement of a limb toward middle of body, such as bringing arm to side from extended position at shoulder.
Adhesion Fibrous patch holding muscles or other parts together that are normally separated.
ADL Activities of daily living.
Aerobic Exercise Prolonged, moderate-intensity work that uses up oxygen at or below the level at which your cardiorespiratory (heart-lung) system can replenish oxygen 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 include running, cycling, swimming, dancing, and walking. 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 dangerous to use such unknown substances to increase muscle mass.
Anabolic Steroids Synthetic chemical that mimics the muscle-building characteristics 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 powerlifters 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 control 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 tricep pushdowns.
ATP Adenosine Tri-Phosphate energy fuel for all cellular reactions in the body, all dietary calories are eventually broken down into ATP.
Atrophy Decrease in size and functional ability of tissue or organs.
Baby's Butt Indentation between the two heads of biceps muscles of very muscular athletes.
Back-Cycling Cutting back on either number of sets, repetitions or amount of weight used during an exercise session.
Balance A term referring to an even relationship of body proportions in a man's physique. Perfectly balanced physical proportions are a much sought after trait among competitive bodybuilders.
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.
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 exercises 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 are 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.
BMR Basal Metabolic Rate - Resting metabolism, the number of calories your body would burn if you laid in bed all day with no physical activity under normal conditions.
Body Composition The percentage of your body weight composed of fat compared to fat-free mass.
Body Building A type of weight training applied in conjunction with sound nutritional practices to alter the shape or form of one's body. Bodybuilding is a competitive sport nationally and internationally 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 massive, 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 Bodybuilders - The sports federation responsible in Canada for administering amateur bodybuilding for men, women, and mixed pairs. The CAFB is one of the more than 120 national bodybuilding federations affiliated internationally with the IFBB.
Caloric Balance Eating the same amount of calories that you burn.
Calorie A unit of energy. The amount of energy it takes to raise 1 cubic centimeter of water 1 degrees celsius
Calories The unit for measuring the energy value of foods.
Carbohydrates Organic compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They're a very effective fuel source for the body. The different types of carbohydrates include starches, sugars, and fibers. Carbohydrates contain 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.
Cartilage Soft gel like padding in between bones, protects joints from bone on bone stress, aids in movement.
Catabolic Breaking down.
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 "bad" form).
Chronic Injury An injury which occurs due to repeated stress over time.
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 execute a clean movement, you must use the coordinated strength of your legs, back, shoulders, and arms.
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 the floor to overhead at arms' length in one motion.
Clean Diet This refers to eating nutrient-rich, low-fat meals.
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 middle of an exercise.
Complimentary Proteins When incomplete proteins (plant sources) are combined to make a complete protein, grains, corn, nuts and seeds plus legumes.
Compound Training Sometimes called "giant sets"; doing 34 exercises for same muscle, one after other, with minimal rest in between.
Concentric The lifting phase of an exercise, when the muscle shortens or contracts. For example, when you lift the weight in a bench press, pressing it from your chest to the lock-out position, that's the concentric, or "positive" phase of the exercise.
Couples' Competition A relatively new form of body-building competition in which man-woman teams compete 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.
CPT Certified Personal Trainer
Creatine A naturally occurring organic acid, used for increasing strength in short duration anaerobic activities.
Crunches Abdominal exercises - sit-ups done lying on floor with legs on bench, hands behind neck.
CSCS Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
Curl-Bar Cambered bar designed for more comfortable grip and less forearm strain.
Cut Up (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 the 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 training), 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 muscular 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.
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.
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.
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 revealing 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 arrhythmias (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.
Drop Sets Performing reps until failure starting with a heavy weight and subsequently lowering (dropping) the weight and repeating until ultimate failure.
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.
Dynamic Exercises in which there is movement of the body's muscles and joints.
Dynamic Posture The ability of your body to maintain proper posture during movement
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.
Electrolytes Minerals which contain free ions, sodium & potassium.
Endurance Ability of a muscle to produce force continually over a period of time.
Energy The capacity to do work. Energy harnessed is power.
Ergogenic Aid A product used to increase performance.
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 The 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 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 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.
Fatty Acids Building blocks of triglycerides (fats).
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 cornerstone 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.
Foot Strike One variable in different gaits is foot strike how the foot contacts the ground, specifically which part of the foot first contacts the ground. Refoot strike (toe-heel) - ball of foot lands first. Midfoot strike heel and ball land simultaneously. Heel strike (heel-toe) - heel of foot lands, then pronates to ball.
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 threshold.
Form This is simply another word to indicate the biomechanics used during the performance of any bodybuilding or weight-training movement. Perfect form involves moving only the muscles specified in an exercise description.
Free Style Training Training all body parts in one workout.
Form This is simply another word to indicate the biomechanics used during the performance of any bodybuilding or weight-training movement. Perfect form involves moving only the muscles specified in an exercise description.
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).
Functional Training Resistance exercise which imitates activities of daily living (ADLS).
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 Blood sugar, the only fuel for your brain, obtained from broken down carbohydrate in digestion, formed from broken down glycogen in muscles and liver.
Glutamine Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid.
Gluteals Abbreviation for gluteus maximus, medius and minimus; the buttocks muscles.
Glycemic Index The ranking system for a specific carbohydrate's blood sugar response, developed for diabetics but is useful for dieters.
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 or eating small amounts of food often.
Guarana The herbal version of caffeine. The amount of guarana in a product does not equal the same amount of caffeine. Products are standardized for a certain percentage. For example a product may have 300mg of guarana standardized at 22% caffeine of caffeine, this product would have around 66mg of caffeine.
H.I.T. (High Intensity Training) Method of weight training using infrequent heavy weight training sessions, usually training only 1 set per body part 3 times per week, focuses on using strict form and slow repetition speed.
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 (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 quality unsaturated fats like flaxseed oil. Exercise has been shown to increase HDL levels.
Hyponatremia Deadly water intoxication due to severe electrolyte disturbance.
Hyperglycemia High blood sugar due to diabetes or possibly an eating disorder.
Hyperthyroidism When the thyroid gland is overactive and produces too much thyroid hormones. Speeds up digestion and body processes.
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 techniques during a bodybuilding workout.
Hypoglycemia Low blood glucose levels (sugar).
IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilders Founded in 1946, it's a group that oversees 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.
Interval Training Training which involves alternating intense bouts of exercise with either rest or lower intensity exercise.
Isokenetic 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.
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 isolation 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 movement, while leg extensions would be the equivalent isolation exercise.
Isometric When there is no lengthening or shortening of a muscle but the muscle is still under tension.
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.
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. 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 championship.
Juice A slang term for anabolic steroids, e.g., being "on the juice."
Kettlebells A weight from Russia which looks like a canon ball with a handle, used for stabilization and power training.
Kineseology Study of muscles and their movements.
Kinetic Energy The energy of motion, as you lift a weight you can measure the kinetic energy.
Knee Wraps Elastic strips about 3.5" wide used to wrap knees for better support when performing squats, dead lifts, etc.
Lactic Acid A byproduct of burning glucose (blood sugar) as fuel during exercise that lasts longer than a minute.
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 to completely rest and heal injuries that might have cropped up during the peaking cycle.
LDL This stands for "low-density lipoprotein" and is a subcategory of cholesterol, 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 precisely an omega-3 polyunsaturated 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. Maximum effort for one repetition of an exercise.
Macronutrients Stuff needed by your body in large quantities, foods in your diet and water, carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
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.
MCTS Medium Chained Triglycerides, good sources include coconut and palm kernel oils, used for energy easier than regular fats (triglycerides).
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 metabolic 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 substances come into the body and the rate at which they are used.
Micronutrients Stuff needed by your body in small quantities, vitamins and minerals.
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 relatively new form of bodybuilding competition in which man-woman teams compete against others with particularly 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.
NASM National Academy of Sports Medicine
Negative Reps One or two partners help you lift a weight up to 50% heavier than you would normally lift to finish point of movement. Then you slowly lower weight on your own.
Nitrogen Balance The amount of protein (muscle) broken down versus the amount of protein built.
Non-Locks Performing an exercise without going through complete range of motion. For example, doing squat without coming to full lockout position of knees or pressing a barbell without locking out elbows.
NPC The National Physique Committee, Inc., which administers men's and women's amateur bodybuilding competitions in the United States. The NPC national champions in each weight division are annually sent abroad to compete in the IFBB world championships.
NSCA National Strength & Conditioning Association
Nutrients Components of food that help nourish the body. That is, they provide energy or serve as "building materials." These nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, water, etc.
Nutrition The applied science of eating to foster greater health, fitness, and muscular gains. Through correct application of nutritional practices, you can selectively add muscle mass to your physique, or totally strip away all body fat, revealing the hard-earned muscles lying beneath your skin.
Obliques Abbreviation for external obliques, the muscles to either side of abdominals that rotate and flex the trunk.
Odd Lifts Exercises used in competition other than snatch and clean and jerk, such as squats, bench presses, and barbell curls.
Olympian A term reserved for use when referring only to a bodybuilder who has competed in the Mr. Olympia or Ms. Olympia competitions.
Olympic Barbell A special type of barbell used in weightlifting and powerlifting competitions, but also used by bodybuilders in heavy basic exercises such as squats, bench presses, barbell bent rows, standing barbell curls, standing barbell presses, and deadlifts. An olympic barbell sans collars weighs 45 pounds, and each collar weighs five pounds.
Olympic Lifting The type of weightlifting competition contested at the Olympic Games every four years, as well as at national and international competitions each year. Two lifts (the snatch and the clean and jerk) are contested in a wide variety of weight classes.
Onion Skin Slang denoting skin with very low percentage of subcutaneous fat which helps accentuate muscularity.
Optimal Nutrition The best possible nutrition; distinct from merely adequate nutrition, which is characterized by no overt deficiency. This term describes people free from marginal deficiencies, imbalances, and toxicities, and who are not at risk for such.
Over Pronation Over pronation, or flat feet, is a common biomechanical problem that occurs in the walking process when a person's arch collapses upon weight bearing. This motion can cause extreme stress or inflammation on the plantar fascia, potentially causing severe discomfort and leading to other foot problems.
Overload Principle Applying a greater load than normal to a muscle to increase its capability.
Overreaching Short term performance drop due to not enough recovery, too much exercise or a combination of the two.
P.H.A. Peripheral Heart Action. A system of training where you go from one exercise to another, with little or no rest, preferably alternating upper body and lower body exercises. Designed for cardiovascular training and to develop muscle mass.
Partial Reps Performing an exercise without going through a complete range of motion either at the beginning or end of a rep.
Peak Contraction Exercising a muscle until it cramps by using shortened movements.
Pecs Abbreviation for pectoral muscles of the chest.
Plateau The point in a training program when your results come to a halt.
Plates The flat discs placed on the ends of barbell and dumbbell bars to increase the weight of the apparati. Although some plates are made from vinyl-covered concrete, the best and most durable plates are manufactured from metal.
Plyometric Exercise Where muscles are loaded suddenly and stretched, then quickly contracted to produce a movement. Athletes who must jump do these, i.e. jumping off bench to ground, quickly rebounding to another bench.
Plyometrics Fast, powerful movement training. Bridges the gap between strength and speed.
Portion The amount of carbohydrates or protein one should eat with each meal. A portion is the size of the palm of your hand or your clenched fist.
Pose Each individual stance that a bodybuilder does onstage in order to highlight his muscular development.
Pose Down Bodybuilders performing their poses at the same time in a competition, trying to out pose one another.
Posture Alignment of the body.
Potential Energy Energy which is stored in your body, potential for producing (kinetic) energy of movement.
Poundage The amount of weight that you use in an exercise, whether that weight is on a barbell, dumbbell, or exercise machine.
Power Strength plus speed.
Power Lifting A second form of competitive weightlifting (not contested in the olympics) featuring three lifts: the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Power lifting is contested both nationally and internationally in a wide variety of weight classes for both men and women.
Power Lifts Three movements used in powerlifting competition: the squat, bench press and dead lift.
Power Mindset The state of being where you feel self-reliant, confident, and strong.
Power Training System of weight training using low repetitions, heavy weights.
Progression The act of gradually adding to the amount of resistance that you use in each exercise. Without consistent progression in your workouts, you won't overload your muscles sufficiently to promote optimum increases in hypertrophy.
Progressive Resistance Method of training where weight is increased as muscles gain strength and endurance. The backbone of all weight training.
Pronate To rotate hands, thumbs toward the body.
Proteins Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, enzymes, and sonic hormones. They are made up of amino acids and are essential for growth and repair in the body. A gram of protein contains four calories. Those from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Those from vegetable sources contain some but not all of the essential amino acids. Proteins are broken up by the body to produce amino acids.
Pump The tight, blood-congested feeling in a muscle after it has been intensely trained. Muscle pump is caused by a rapid influx of blood into the muscles to remove fatigue toxins and replace supplies of fuel and oxygen. A good muscle pump indicates that you have optimally worked a muscle group.
Pumped Slang meaning the muscles have been made large by increasing blood supply to them through exercise.
Pumping Iron Phrase that has been in use since the 1950s, but recently greatly popularized. Lifting weights.
Quads Abbreviation for quadriceps femoris muscles, muscles on top of legs, which consist of 4 parts.
Quality Training Training just before a bodybuilding competition where intervals between sets are drastically reduced to enhance muscle mass and density, and a low-calorie diet is followed to reduce body fat.
Rep Out Repeat the same exercise over and over until you are unable to do any more.
Repetition (Rep) The number of times you lift and lower a weight in one set of an exercise. For example, if you lift and lower a weight 10 times before setting the weight down, you have completed 10 "reps" in one set.
Reps Abbreviation for repetitions.
Resistance Exercise Working out with weights or using your body to resist some other force. This includes a wide spectrum of motion, from push-ups to dumbbell curls.
Respiration Breathing.
Rest Interval Pause between sets of an exercise, which allows muscles to recover partially before beginning next set.
Rest Pause Training Training method where you press out one difficult repetition, then replace bar in stands, then after a 10-20 second rest, do another rep, etc.
Rest Period The amount of time you allow between sets and exercises.
Ripped Slang meaning extreme muscularity.
Roid Slang for anabolic steroid.
Rotator Cuff 4 tiny muscles in your shoulder. Their main job is to decelerate arm motions.
Routine Also called a training schedule or program, a routine is the total list of exercises, sets, and reps (and sometimes weights) used in one training session.
Sagittal Plane The plane that bisects the body into right and left halves.
Saturated Fats These are "bad" fats. They are called saturated because they contain no open spots on their carbon skeletons. These bad fats have been shown to raise cholesterol levels in the body. Sources of these fats include animal foods and hydrogenated vegetable oils, such as margarine.
Set Group of reps (lifting and lowering a weight) of an exercise after which you take a brief rest period. For example, if you complete 10 reps, set the weight down, complete eight more reps, set the weight down again, and repeat for six more reps, you have completed three sets of the exercise.
Sleeve The hollow metal tube fit over the bar on most exercise barbell and dumbbell sets. This sleeve makes it easier for the bar to rotate in your hands as you do an exercise.
Slow-Twitch Muscle cells that contract slowly, are resistant to fatigue and are utilized in endurance activities such as long-distance running, cycling or swimming.
Snatch Olympic lift where weight is lifted from floor to overhead, (with arms extended) in one continuous movement (see also clean and jerk).
Spot Assist if called upon by someone performing an exercise.
Spot Reduction The idea that you can target and remove fat in a specific area by doing specific isolated exercises for that area, i.e. doing abdominal crunches to reduce stomach fat.
Spotter Person who watches a partner closely to see if any help is needed during a specific exercise.
Steroids Prescription drugs which mimic male hormones, but without most of the androgenic side effects of actual testosterone. Many bodybuilders use these dangerous drugs to help increase muscle mass and strength.
Sticking Point A stalling out of bodybuilding progress.
Straight Sets Groups of repetitions (sets) interrupted by only brief pauses (30-90 seconds).
Strength The ability of a muscle to produce maximum amount of force.
Strength Training Using resistance weight training to build maximum muscle force.
Stretch Marks Tears (slight scars) in skin caused if muscle or fat tissue has expanded in volume faster than skin can grow.
Stretching A type of exercise program in which you assume exaggerated postures that stretch muscles, joints, and connective tissues, hold these positions for several seconds, relax and then repeat the postures. Regular stretching exercise promotes body flexibility.
Striations Grooves or ridge marks seen under the skin, the ultimate degree of muscle definition.
Super Set Alternating back and forth between two exercises until the prescribed number of sets is complete.
Supinate To turn the hands outward from the body.
Supine Lying on your back, your palms facing out.
Supplement This is a term used to describe a preparation such as a tablet, pill, or powder that contains nutrients. Supplements are used to help you achieve optimal nutrient intake.
Symmetry The shape or general outline of a person's body, as when seen in silhouette. If you have good symmetry, you will have relatively wide shoulders, flaring lats, a small waist-hip structure, and generally small joints.
Tendon A band or cord of strong, fibrous tissue that connects muscles to bone.
Testosterone The male hormone primarily responsible for the maintenance of muscle mass and strength induced by heavy training. Testosterone is secondarily responsible for developing such secondary male sex characteristics as a deep voice, body hair, and male pattern baldness.
Thick Skin Smooth skin caused by too much fatty tissue between the layers of muscle and beneath skin.
Thyroid Endocrine gland in the neck that produces hormones.
Thyroid Hormones Regulate the rate at which our body breaks things down and builds things up.
Tone See "Muscle Tone"
Training Effect Increase in functional capacity of muscles as result of increased (overload) placed upon them.
Training Straps Cotton or leather straps wrapped around wrists, then under and over a bar held by clenched hands to aid in certain lifts (rowing, chin-ups, shrugs, dead lifts, cleans, etc.) where you might lose your grip before working muscle to desired capacity.
Training To Failure Continuing a set until it is impossible to compete another rep without assistance.
Traps Abbreviation for trapezius muscles, the largest muscles of the back and neck that draw head backward and rotate scapula.
Tri Sets Alternating back and forth between 3 exercises until prescribed number of sets is completed.
Tribulus Terrestris A non-steroidal dietary supplement, purported to raise testosterone.
Trimming Down To gain hard muscular appearance by losing body fat.
Underpronation The outside of the heel makes initial contact with the ground but the inward movement of the foot occurs at less than fifteen percent (i.e., there is less rolling in than for those with normal or flat feet). Consequently, forces of impact are concentrated on a smaller area of the foot (the outside part), and are not distributed as efficiently. In the push-off phase, most of the work is done by the smaller toes on the outside of the foot.
Universal Machine One of several types of machines where weights are on a track or rails and are lifted by levers or pulleys.
Unsaturated Fats These are 'good' fats. They are called unsaturated because they have one or more open spots on their carbon skeletons. This category of fats includes the essential fatty acids linoleic and linolenic. The main sources of these fats are fromm plant foods, such as safflower, sunflower, arid flaxseed oils.
Upper Abs Abbreviation for abdominal muscles above navel.
Variable Resistance Strength training equipment where the machine varies amount of weight being lifted to match strength curve for a particular exercise-usually with a cam, lever arm or hydraulic cylinder. Also referred to as "accommodating resistance."
Vascularity Increase in size and number of observable veins. Highly desirable in bodybuilding.
Veining See "Vascularity"
Vitamins Organic compounds that are vital to tile, indispensable to bodily function, and needed in minute amounts. They are calorie-free essential nutrients. Many of them function as coenzymes, supporting a multitude of biological functions.
Warm-Up The 10-15 minute session of light calisthenics, aerobic exercise, and stretching taken prior to handling heavy bodybuilding training movements. A good warm-up helps to prevent injuries and actually allows you to get more out of your training than if you went into a workout totally cold.
Weight The same as poundage or resistance.
Weight Class In order for bodybuilders to compete against men of similar size, the IFBB has instituted weight classes for all amateur competition. The normal men's weight classes are 70 kilograms (kg), 154 pounds (lbs); 80 kg, 176 lbs; 90 kg, 198 lbs; and over 90 kg. In a minority of competitions, particularly in the far east, one additional class 65 kg, or 143 lbs is also contested.
Weight Training Belt Thick leather belt used to support the lower back. Used while doing squats, military presses, dead lifts, bent rowing, etc.
Weightlifting The competitive form of weight training in which each athlete attempts to lift as much as he can in well-defined exercises. Olympic lifting and power lifting are the two types of weightlifting competition.
Whey Protein High quality protein that is actually a byproduct of cheese manufacturing, commercial version contains a blend of different types of whey.