There are so many different terms to try and get your head round in the fitness industry, it can be a bit confusing – from HIIT to plyometrics and DOMS… Understanding these phrases will hep you improve your workout but also your enjoyment in the gym as you’ll be able to understand what the heck people are talking about!! Once you get the jist of these terms, it’s actually not that bad at all…
LIIT is otherwise known as low-intensity interval training which basically means exercises and movements that you do very slowly and in a controlled way. You can still use heavy weights while doing LIIT and in fact, if you do, will increase the burn and promote fat loss. LIIT uses heavy weights, resistance bands, and pilates-inspired bodyweight moves to get you toned, lean and strong. LIIT would be great for someone who can’t do lots of jumping movements or needs to be easier on their joints.
Active recovery is one way to spend your “rest” day still being active but not overdoing it as you would doing a proper workout. So doing some sort of low-intensity activity like going for a walk or doing some gentle yoga. Active recovery can help with circulation, ease muscle soreness and reduce muscle fatigue.
During aerobic exercise, your body uses oxygen for energy, which helps keep you moving for an extended period of time such as – a long walk, run, swim or bike ride.
Anaerobic activities are short intervals of intense work used to improve speed and power. During these activities, your muscles break down glucose to use as energy because the oxygen in your body can’t deliver the energy your body needs to your muscles fast enough – HIIT workouts, sprints, explosive movements.
Circuits are basically rounds of exercises. For example, one circuit might include – 10 burpees, 10 push-ups, 15 jump squats and 30 seconds of battle ropes, moving from one exercise right to the next with little to no rest in between each exercise. After each full circuit, you would get a rest break before repeating the circuit again.
A compound exercise is a movement or exercise that incorporates multiple muscle groups at the same time…
– Leg press
– Bench Press
– Bent-over Row
Compound exercises are great for increasing overall muscle mass and burning calories much faster and more effectively because they require more effort to complete.
Isolation exercises focus on working just one muscle group at a time and are great for really focusing on one muscle at a time but won’t burn calories as fast s compound exercises do. Think of isolation exercises like sprinkling sugar on your cereal – a little is great but you don’t want to over do it – and the compound exercise is the cereal itself, you’ll get a lot more benefit from eating the cereal than just the sugar.
– Bicep curls
– Tricep Pulls
– Tricep Dips
– Calf Raises
Cross-training means mixing different workouts and training methods rather than just focusing on one type of workout. This will help you to create a well-balanced fitness plan, but it can also help you reach your specific goals as well. For example, if you’re training to do a running race, ideally, you’ll want to include exercises focusing on leg strength (squats…etc) and plyometric workouts focusing on explosive power (box jumps…etc), which will complement your running and help improve your performance and decrease the chance of injury by aiding muscle growth and increasing your overall flexibility.
DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness, which is the soreness you will experience the day or two after a hard workout. This happens because when you’re working out you’re essentially damaging the muscle fibres. Damaging the muscle fibres is what makes them grow bigger and stronger, so it’s a good thing. The soreness and pain you feel from DOMS comes from the chemicals that set off pain receptors during the repair process. The soreness may last any where from 24 to 72 hours after your workout, depending on what you did and how hard you worked. To help reduce this pain and soreness, make sure you warm up and warn down after exercise and use a foam roller to get deeper into the muscles.
A dynamic warm up is what you should be doing before you being your proper exercise/workout to raise your heart rate and body temperature in preparation for the actual workout. During this warm-up, you want to be activating the muscle group/s you intend to focus on in your workout. For example, if you are doing a leg/glute workout, perhaps jump on the bike for 5-10 minutes to warm up your legs and then do some bodyweight squats and hip rotations to open up your hips in preparation.
Functional training generally refers to exercises that will help you move and feel better in every day life. They will often mimic the way you move outside of the gym. For example, to crouch down and tie your shoes or to walk up the stairs – so for these you might do squats or lunges.
BPM is the short term for beats per minute, referring to your heart rate and how many beats per minute your heart is pumping. When it comes to working out, knowing your heart rate can help determine if you’re working at the right intensity for your fitness level.
Your resting heart rate, which is how fast your heart is beating when you’re doing nothing, which should get lower the fitter you get because your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump out blood (although if you have a naturally low resting heart rate thanks to genetics, it may not get much lower). The average resting heart rate is between 50-80 BPM.
You also have your maximum heart rate, which is the hardest your heart can work efficiently.
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. This refers to quick, intense bursts of exercise where you use maximum effort, followed by short rest periods. This type of training gets your heart rate up and is great for fat burning because the intense intervals help kick-start the process known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (the afterburn effect), which helps you burn more calories even after you stop working out as your body has to work harder to return to its resting state.
Isometric exercises are contractions of a specific muscle or group of muscles you are trying to target. During this type of exercise, the muscle won’t noticeably change in length/size and the affected joint won’t move, as it would say doing a plyometric exercise. Isometric exercises help to maintain strength and may be helpful to someone who has an injury where movement of that muscle/joint is painful. For example, if you were to injure your shoulder, your doctor or physio might recommend isometric exercises involving the group of muscles that helps stabilise the shoulder to maintain some of the existing strength during recovery. Isometric training may also be helpful to someone who has joint issues like arthritis, which could be aggravated by using the muscles in the affected area.
Plyometrics basically means jumping around a lot and being out of breath most of the time -squat jumps, box jumps, broad jumps, burpees…etc. The main purposes of these explosive exercises is to increase your power. Having more power means you can recruit muscle fibre faster and more efficiently.
Shorthand for repetitions. Saying 10 reps means doing an exercise 10 times over.
Resistance means how much weight your muscles are working against to complete a movement. That can mean anywhere from your own bodyweight to 20kg dumbbells. The heavier the weight, the more resistance.
This stands for rate of perceived exertion, and refers to intensity. It’s a point of reference that trainers often use to communicate how hard you should be working. It’s a great guide for trainers since what feels easy or hard is different for everyone. On the RPE scale a 1 pretty much means zero effort while a 10 means you’re working harder than you thought possible.
A set refers to how many times you repeat a given number of reps. For example, one set might be 12 reps of sit-ups, repeating these 12 reps for three sets means you’ll do the 12 sit-ups three times over.
Tri-sets are a combination of 3 exercises used one after the other before rest is taken. For example, if you were working your legs you might do – dumbbell squats, RDL’s and then finish with some jump squats.
Drop sets are sets of the same exercise where you progressively drop the weight slightly as you go and are used to fatigue the same muscle group by essentially over working them. For example, you might use a drop set if you were targeting your triceps – starting off at 10 reps at 15kg, then dropping it down to 12.5kg for 12 reps, then finishing off at 10kg for 15 reps. As you drop the weight, by increasing the reps will ensure your muscles become more and more fatigued. Drop sets are great for finishing off a workout.
Romanian deadlift, otherwise known as RDL’s are a very popular choice of exercise to target the glutes and hamstrings.
Steady-state cardio refers to exercise where you aim to keep a set pace at a moderate intensity – a long steady run or a bike ride. This type of endurance training is especially beneficial if you’re training for a long distance event or you want to improve your cardiovascular health.
Strength training means using some kind of resistance to work your muscles. The resistance could be through – bodyweight, dumbbells, kettlebells, sand bags, resistance bands, free weights, machines…etc. The goal of this type of workout is to increase muscle mass and to gain strength.
Super setting means pairing two exercises and doing them back-to-back. The reason why you might want to do this type of exercise is because it saves time by working two muscles back to back without rest in between. Also, because you’re doing movements paired together without rest, you’re likely to raise your heart rate, too for more of a workout.
Tabata is a very popular form of high-intensity interval training. It basically means 20 seconds of maximum effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times for four minutes total. It’s known for it’s insane fat-burning benefits.
We hope this article was useful to you and you’ll now BOSS it with all your definitions in the gym!
The Fitness Focus Team
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– Signs you are overdoing it at the gym
– The beginners guide to lifting weights