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Gym Jargon - Definitions of Common Weight Room Terms

by Maia Appleby

Anyone new to weightlifting might feel intimidated when people at the gym use terms they don't understand. Here's a glossary defining some of the most common:

  • Abductors - Hip muscles that bring the legs out to the sides of the body.
  • Abs - General term for the abdominal (tummy) muscles, which includes the upper and lower abs, and the internal and external obliques.
  • Achilles tendon - Connects the calf to the heel.
  • Adductors - Muscles that bring the legs in toward the body (opposite of abductors).
  • Atrophy - The muscular result of ignoring the "use it or lose it" mantra.
  • Biceps - Muscles located on the front of the upper arm
  • Cardiovascular - Exercise that raises the heart rate and burns fat, like walking, running, bicycling and swimming.
  • Curl - Any exercise that involves bending at a joint to bring a weight closer to the body.
  • Delts (deltoids) - Shoulder muscles.
  • Extension - Any exercise that involves straightening at a joint to bring a weight further from the body.
  • Free weights - Dumbbells, barbells, ankle weights, etc.
  • Glutes (gluteals) - General term for the buttock muscles, including the gluteus minimus, medius and maximus.
  • Hamstrings - Muscles located on the back of the thighs.
  • Lats Back muscles.
  • Obliques - Muscles at the sides of the abdomen.
  • Pecs (pectorals) - Chest muscles.
  • Quads (quadriceps) - Muscles located on the front of the thighs.
  • Rectus Abdominus - Largest abdominal muscle, often called the "upper abs".
  • Rep - One repetition of a weight lifting move.
  • Set - A group of repetitions in a weight lifting routine.
  • Triceps - Y-shaped group of muscles located on the back of the arm.
  • Weight bearing exercise - Exercise that involves bearing one's own weight, like walking or using an elliptical trainer.

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