here's a handy list of fitness, exercise and nutrition terms, phrases & common abbreviations that every athlete should know.

A

Abbreviations

1RM = One Repetition Maximum
AS = Assisted
BB = Barbell
BP = Bench Press
BW = Body Weight
CG = Close Grip
CB = Cable
CT = Circuit Training
DB = Dumbbell
DL = Deadlift
DOMS = Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Ex = Exercise
ExRx = Exercise Prescription
FSQ = Front Squat
GM = Good Mornings
GHR- Glute-Ham Raise
HIT = High Intense Training
IBP = Incline Bench Press
LV = Lever
OHP = Overhead Press
OHSQ = Overhead Squat
MP = Military Press
NG = Narrow Grip
PR = Personal Record
R = Resistance
Rep = Repetition
RM = Repetition Maximum
ROM = Range of Motion
RDL = Romanian Deadlift
SLDL = Stiff or Straight Legged Deadlifts
SM = Smith Machine
SL = Sled
SQ = Squat
TUT = Time under Tension
WG = Wide Grip
WT = Weight or Weighted

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Abdominal Muscles

A set of eight small muscles that is located below your chest. These muscles help you to bend forward and twist from side to side. This group of muscles also assists with your regular breathing as well as supporting the muscles of the spine.

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Abduction

Movement of a limb away from middle of body, such as bringing arms to shoulder height from hanging down position

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Abductors

Muscles of the hip that pull your legs apart. Gluteus medius and minimus pull your legs outward. Inline skating, skiing and dance work these muscles.

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Absolute Strength

The maximum amount a person can lift in one repetition

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Accommodating Resistance

Increasing resistance as lifters force increases through range of motion. Nautilus machines are said to provide accommodating resistance.

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Acquired Aging

The acquisition of characteristics commonly associated with aging but that are caused by immobility or sedentary living.

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Active Stretch

Muscles are stretched using the contraction of the opposing muscle, (antagonist). For an example stretching the triceps, requires the biceps to contract.

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Adduction

Movement of a limb toward middle of body, such as bringing arms to side from extended position at shoulder.

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Adductors

Muscles of the inner thigh that pull your legs together. They attach the pelvis and the femur (or thigh bone). You use these muscles when inline skating, skate skiing or swimming the breaststroke.

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Adhesion

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

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ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate)

ADP is formed when ATP is broken down within the body’s cell furnace (the mitochondria). This provides energy for muscular contraction.

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Aerobic

With oxygen, or in the presence of oxygen.

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Aerobic capacity

Another term for maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 Max)

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Aerobic Exercise

A method of conditioning the cardiorespiratory system by performing an activity that uses large muscle groups, is rhythmic, elevates the heart rate for a period of time, and increases the intake of oxygen.

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Agonist

Muscle directly engaged in contraction that is primarily responsible for movement of a body part.

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Amino Acids

Twenty- two basic building blocks of the body that make up proteins.

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Anaerobic Exercise

Short-term, high-intensity exercise (i.e., sprinting, weight lifting) that uses carbohydrates for energy.

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Anaerobic Threshold

The point at which you begin working your muscles without oxygen, from an aerobic level, believed to be at about 87% of your Maximum Heart Rate.

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Antioxidants

Vitamins A, C and E, along with various minerals, which are useful to protect the body from “free radicals”. Free radicals are unstable cells, which react with each, naturally created in the body, and also caused by factors such as smoking and radiation

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Atrophy

Decrease of a muscle caused by the decrease in the size of its cells because of inactivity.

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Auxiliary

An optional exercise that may supplement a basic exercise. Auxiliary exercises may place greater relative intensity on a specific muscle or a head of a muscle.

 

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B

Ballistic Stretching

A stretching technique that involves a bouncing or bobbing movement during the stretch. The final position is not held. This is not a recommended stretching technique.

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Barbell

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

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Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

The energy requirements necessary for maintenance of life processes such as heart beat, breathing and cell metabolic activities.

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Biomechanics

The study of the mechanics of a living body, especially of the forces exerted by muscles and gravity on the skeletal structure.

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C

Calorie

The amount of energy necessary to raise the temperature of 1 liter of water 1° C. Also called a kilocalorie.

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Carbohydrate

Organic compounds containing carbon, hydrogen and oxygen; when broken down, a major energy source for muscular work and one of the basic foodstuffs.

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Cardiac

Pertaining to the heart.

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Cardiovascular Training

Physical conditioning that strengthens heart and blood vessels, the result of which is an increase in the ability for your body muscles to utilize fuel more effectively resulting in a greater level of exercising.

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Carotid Pulse

Pulse located on the carotid artery down from the corner of the eye, just under the jawbone; common site used for taking heart rate.

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Cholesterol

A fat lipid which has both good and bad implications within the human body. Good being known as HDL and bad being LDL. Bad cholesterol is associated with heart disease and stroke, whereas the body requires cholesterol for the production of many steroid

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Circuit Training

Going quickly from one exercise apparatus to another and doing a prescribed number of exercises or time on each apparatus, keeps pulse rate high and promotes overall fitness, by generally working all muscle groups as well as heart and lungs.

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Closed Chain

An exercise or movement in which the end segment of the exercised limb is fixed, or the end is supporting the weight. Most compound exercises are closed-chain movements.

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Compound

    An exercise that involves two or more joint movements.
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Concentric Muscle Action

The muscle shortens while contracting against resistance.

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Cool Down

Rhythmic, low-intensity aerobic activities that provide a transition period between high-intensity aerobic work and less aerobically taxing calisthenics, stretching or the end of the workout.

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Core Training

Exercises that strength the muscles related to the hip, abdominal, and pelvic area of your body. The core muscles are vital because they are the foundation for all other movement in your body.

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Cross-Training

Engaging in a variety of physical activities and exercise modalities including both cardiovascular and strength training exercises; a training method that can be used to help minimize boredom, maintain motivation and prevent overuse syndrome.

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Crunches

Sit-ups done on the floor with legs on bench, hands behind the neck.

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Curl Bar

Cambered bar designed for more comfortable grip and less forearm strain.

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D

Dead Lift

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

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Deficiency

A sub optimal level of either one or more nutrients, often resulting in poor health.

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Dip Belt

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

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Dumbbell

Weight used for exercising consisting of rigid handles about 14″ long with either detachable metal discs or fixed weights at each end.

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Duration

The time from the beginning to the end of the workout. Duration may also describe other time components such time under tension or Volume (see below).

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E

Eccentric Muscle Action

The muscle lengthens while contracting against resistance.

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Elastic Resistance

Weight training provides the majority of the resistance at the beginning, initiation joint angle of the movement, when the muscle must overcome the inertia of the weight’s mass. After this point the overall resistance alters depending on the angle of the joint. In comparison, elastic resistance provides a fixed amount of resistance throughout the range of motion, depending on the speed of the movement. Elastic resistance provides the greatest resistance at the end of the motion, when the elastic element is stretched to the greatest extent.

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Empty Calories

A term used to denote food contributing calories that are void of significant food value and nutrients, i.e., alcohol, simple sugars.

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Endurance

Ability to sustain a physical activity or continue exerting a force over time.

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Exercise Intensity

The level of effort exerted during a workout as measured by the exerciser’s heart rate. Since breathing rates and amount of sweat are highly individual, heart rate is the most reliable indicator of exercise intensity.

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Extension

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

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F

Fat

Stored as adipose tissue in the body, it serves as a concentrated source of energy for muscular work; a compound containing glycerol and fatty acids.

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Fatigue

A diminished capacity for work as a result of prolonged or excessive exertion or inadequate fuel.

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Flex

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

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Flexibility

The range of motion around a joint.

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Frequency

The number of workouts per week (or unit time) or number times a muscle group is trained per week (or unit time).

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Functional

An exercise which allows one to gain motor development or strength in a manner in which it is used in the execution of a particular task (eg: specific sport skill, occupational task, or daily activity).

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G

Guided Motion

This is the traditional pressing style of motion found on selectorized machines both at the club and at home. Pressing exercises are performed in a movement pattern predetermined by the structure of the machine to ensure proper form.

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H

HDL

High-density lipoproteins (“good” cholesterol) that return unused fat to the liver for disposal; HDL levels are raised by aerobic exercise and are beneficial due to their “removal” effect on harmful LDL (low-density) lipoproteins.

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Heart Rate

The number of times the heart beats in one minute.

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Hypertrophy

Enlargement of a muscle caused by an increase in the size of its cells in response to weight training.

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I

Inertia

The tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest or a body in motion to remain in motion unless disturbed by an external force.

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Intensity

Degree of resistance, energy or difficulty as related to a workout.

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Intensity

The amount of weight used, percentage of one repetition maximum, or the effort used during the exercise.

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Interval Training

Deliberately alternating between brief periods of lower and higher intensity levels during a workout; a method used to maximize cardiovascular endurance.

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Isolated

    An exercise that involves just one discernible joint movement.

 

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K

Kinesiology

Study of muscles and their movements.

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L

Lactic Acid

A substance caused by anaerobic training of the muscles, a build up prevents continuation of exercise. A good example is 400 meter runners- watch how they slow down during the last 100 meters of the race.

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Lean Body Mass

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

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Ligament

Strong, fibrous band of connecting tissue connecting two or more bones or cartilage or supporting a muscle, fascia or organ.

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Lumbar

Lower region of the spine, vertebrates L1 to L5. Used for bending and extending the body forward and back, with the aid of the abdominal and erector spinae muscles.

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M

Maximum Heart Rate

Theoretical maximum heart rate that one can achieve during his or her greatest effort in exercise, estimated to be 220 minus your age.

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Metabolism

The sum total of the chemical reactions in the body at rest or during exercise.

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Muscle

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

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Muscle Fatigue

Fatigue is when you can’t possibly do another rep without sacrificing form.

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Muscle Tone

Condition in which muscle is in a constant yet slight state of contraction and appears firm.

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Muscularity

Another term for definition, denoting a fully delineated muscles and absence of fat.

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N

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.

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Nutrients

Substance obtained from food and utilized by the body to provide energy and promote growth, maintenance and/or repair (for example, carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals and water). They are necessary for all bodily functions.

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O

Open Chain

An exercise or movement in which the end segment of the exercised limb is not fixed, or the end is not supporting the weight. Many isolated exercises are open-chain movements.

 

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Overload Principle

Applying a greater load than normal to a muscle to increase its capability.

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P

Partial Reps

Performing an exercise without going through a complete range of motion either at the beginning or end of a rep.

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Performance benefit

Improvements in physical fitness as a result of exercise.

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Physical Fitness

An overall measure of physical attributes including cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, body composition and flexibility.

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Plyometric Exercise

A technique that includes specific exercises which encompass a rapid stretch of a muscle eccentrically, followed immediately by a rapid concentric contraction of that muscle for the purpose of facilitating and developing a forceful explosive movement over a short period of time. Examples of these are using medicine balls for upper extremity and depth jumping for lower extremity.

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Power

Quick movement where the body is propelled either upward or outward; explosive strength; performance of work accomplished per unit of time.

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Power Lifts

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

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Power Training

System of weight training using low repetitions, heavy weights.

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Progressive Resistance

Method of training where weight is increased as muscles gain strength and endurance. The backbone of all weight training.

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Proper Form

Focus on the proper motion of the exercise and concentrate on the specific muscles being used. Do not sacrifice proper form to lift heavier weight or to perform more repetitions. Proper form also means lifting in a smooth, fluid motion. If you feel strain elsewhere, you should re-evaluate the amount of weight you are lifting or have a qualified professional critique your exercise motion.

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Proper Posture

Maintaining proper posture will greatly reduce chances of injury and maximize exercise benefit. When standing always keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Do not lock your knees. Locking your knees can put unnecessary strain on them. Keep your back flat and straight, making sure not to twist or arch it in order to complete a repetition.

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Proper Technique

To get the most out of strength training and to reduce the chance of injury, use proper weight training techniques. These include working your muscles through their full range of motion (but not locking any joints), lifting at a speed at which you can control the weight and stop easily if necessary.

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Protein

A compound composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen arranged into amino acids linked in a chain, responsible for building and repair of tissue, hormone production and enzyme function.

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Pull

Movement toward center of body during the concentric contraction of the target muscle. Isolated movements are classified by their compound counterparts.

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Push

Movement away from center of body during the concentric contraction of the target muscle. Isolated movements are classified by their compound counterparts.

 

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R

Range of Motion

Moving through a complete range of motion (ROM) allows the muscles to stretch before contraction and increases the number of muscle fibers being recruited. This produces maximum contraction and force. By working the full ROM, flexibility will be maintained and possibly increased.

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Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA)

Percent or amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals that should be included in the daily diet. The estimated amount of all nutrients needed daily to maintain optimal health. These estimates vary for different conditions, ages and dis

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Recovery Heart Rate

Heart rate taken at the end of exercise after cool-down and stretch. The amount of time it takes to recover to pre-exercise heart rate is an indication of cardiovascular health.

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Repetition

One complete movement of an exercise.

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Repetition Velocity

Speed of repetition, cadence, or time under tension

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Repitition Maximum (RM)

This is the maximum number of repetitions per set that can be performed at a given resistance with proper lifting technique. Thus, a set at a certain RM implies the set is performed to momentary voluntary fatigue. 1RM is the heaviest resistance that can be used for one compete repetition of an exercise. 10 RM is a lighter resistance that allows completion of 10 (but not 11) repetitions with proper exercise technique.

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Rest Between Sets and Exercises

Influences energy recovery and training adaptations.

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Rest Interval

Pause between sets of an exercise, which allows muscles to recover partially before beginning next set.

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Rest Pause Training

Training method where you perform one difficult repetition, “re rack” the weight, then after 10-20 second rest, do another rep, etc.

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Resting Heart Rate

The number of times the heart beats in one minute while the body is at rest. This is best calculated by measuring your pulse for one minute in the morning before getting out of bed. Record this number for five consecutive days and take the average to dete

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Rotator Cuff

A group of four tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. Each of the four tendons hooks up to a muscle that moves the shoulder in a specific direction. The four muscles whose tendons form the rotator cuff are: • The subscapularis muscle, which moves the arm by turning it inward (internal rotation); • The supraspinatus muscle, which is responsible for elevating the arm and moving it away from the body; • The infraspinatus muscle, which assists the lifting of the arm during turning the arm outward (external rotation); • The teres minor muscle, which (like the infraspinatus) helps in the outward turning (external rotation) of the arm.

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S

Sets

A group of reps; as in one set of 12 reps.

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Speed of Movement

Strength training movements should be slow and controlled. Do not use momentum to complete an exercise movement. Momentum puts unnecessary stress on tendons, ligaments and joints. Using momentum in your exercise movements does not develop increased strength.

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Spot Reducing

A popular but false assumption that an individual can “burn” fat only in desired areas. Fat is not reduced selectively from exercised areas, but rather from total fat stored throughout the body.

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Spotter

Person who watches a person closely to see if any help is needed during a specific exercise.

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Static Stretch

Stretching/elongating a muscle and holding a steady point without bouncing for a period of 20 seconds.

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Straight Sets

Groups of repetitions (SETS) interrupted by only brief pauses, (30-90) seconds.

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Strength

Amount of force a muscle or muscle group can exert against resistance.

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Strength Training

Working the muscles against external resistance to increase muscular strength, muscular endurance or muscular power.

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Subcutaneous fat

Subcutaneous fat is found just beneath the skin as opposed to visceral fat which is found in the peritoneal cavity. Subcutaneous fat can be measured using body fat calipers giving a rough estimate of total body adiposity.

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Super Set

Alternating back and forth between two exercises until the prescribed number of sets is completed.

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T

Target Heart Rate Zone

The number of heartbeats per minute reflecting the exercise intensity that gains the maximum training benefits from an aerobic workout. The formula for obtaining a target heart rate equals 220 minus your age x 60% – 85%, depending on the individual’s fitness

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Tempo Training Shorthand (seconds)

  • 2 point tempo
    • Eccentric / Concentric
    • Example: 3/2
  • 3 point tempo
    • Example: 3/0/2
    • Eccentric / Stretched / Concentric
  • 4 point tempo
    • Example: 3/0/2/1
    • Eccentric / Stretched / Concentric / Contracted
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Tendon

A band or cord of strong, fibrous tissue that connects muscle to the bone.

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Training to Failure

Continuing a set until it is impossible to complete another rep without assistance.

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Traps

Abbreviation for trapezius muscles, the largest muscles of the back and neck that draw head backward and rotate scapula.

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U

Universal Machine

One of several types of machines where weights are on tracks or rails and lifted by levers or pulleys.

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Upper Abs

Abbreviation for abdominal muscles above the navel.

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V

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.”

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Vascularity

Increase in size and number of observable veins. Highly desirable in bodybuilding.

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Volume

Total amount of work performed in a training phase (workout,

week, month, etc). Methods of calculating include:

  • number of repetitions or sets performed in a workout
  • product of resistance and repetitions (eg: 10 reps * 45 kg = 450 kg)
  • total work (eg: 445 N * 1 m * 10 reps = 4450 J)
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W

Warm-Up

A balanced combination of increasingly intense aerobic exercises and stretches that prepare the body and the mind for more vigorous exercise.

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Watts

The expression of the mechanical rate of work (power output) for a device, such as a cardiovascular machine.

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