Your Guide To Fitness Lingo 2020

Posted by Ryderwear HQ on



Lifting lingo is continually evolving, and if your gym slang isn’t up to scratch, it can feel like everyone else is speaking a different language.


Ever been left puzzling over the difference between kale and keto? Can’t tell your TRX from your Teatox?

If you’re feeling like you need a dictionary every time you deadlift, check out our guide to all the essential gym jargon you need to know in 2020. We’ve created this glossary to help you decipher some of the terms you see scattered throughout our Ryderwear blogs, and better understand the slang of the squat rack. 


Short for one-rep max, the maximum amount of weight you can lift for a single repetition (Where a second rep wouldn’t be possible) in any given exercise. Your one-rep max can also be used to calculate the weight you can lift in other rep ranges. Often exaggerated by bodybuilders and powerlifters.

On a pure chemistry level, amino acids are the molecular building blocks of protein. They’re essential for everything from recovery to healthy skin and hormones, and while we usually get our essential amino acids from food, plenty of serious lifters use amino acids supplements in their post-workout shakes.


Abbreviation for ‘As many reps / rounds as possible’. Typically used in CrossFit.


A workout style inspired by elements of yoga, ballet and pilates, using low-impact, high-intensity movements, using a ballet barre.


Handed down from generation to generation of gym bros, broscience is a slang term for misinformation and training myths passed around squat racks and locker rooms. These bodybuilding claims aren’t backed by science, but instead backed by the guy at the gym who exclusively wears stringers and thinks you shouldn’t train two muscle groups on the same day because the protein will get confused and won’t know where to go.


A compound movement is an exercise that works multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Good examples of compound movements are exercises like squats, deadlifts and overhead presses. These movements are great for functional fitness, as they closely mirror how our muscles typically move beyond the gym.


The concentric part of an exercise or muscle movement is the phase where the muscle shortens under tension. For the quadricep muscle, this would be the part of the barbell squat where you push upwards through your legs.


Short for delayed onset muscle soreness. DOMS is that feeling when you can’t walk down stairs without wincing after leg day. On a scientific level, that dull, aching soreness is an inflammatory response to exercise-induced muscle damage, as well as damage to connective tissue such as tendons and ligaments.


The eccentric part of an exercise or muscle movement is the phase where the muscle lengthens under tension. For the quadricep muscle, this would be the part of the squat where you lower the weight downwards.


One of the two main skeletal muscle fibre types. Fast-twitch muscle fibres contract faster and are better at generating short bursts of speed or strength. Since they fire more rapidly, these are the type of fibres you’re more likely to use in explosive actions like your HIIT workout, while you’re more likely to use your slow twitch fibres during your 2 hour stair climber session.


While any form of training can be labelled as functional, functional fitness in the mainstream tends to refer to training that uses exercises which mimic movements you’re likely to do in everyday life. Think squatting, pulling, balance and coordination exercises!


The muscles which everyone wants to target in 2020, glutes are referring to your three gluteal muscles which make up the buttocks. While plenty of glute workouts will give you that curvaceous Lauren Simpson figure, having strong glutes is also beneficial for a stronger core, improved posture and better athletic performance.


An abbreviation for High Intensity Interval Training, which are workouts involving maximum intensity efforts separated by moderate recovery intervals. Want to try a HIIT workout? Here’s one from the Ryderwear team.


The scientific term for gains. Muscular hypertrophy refers to the growth and increase in size of the muscle cells. This occurs during muscle protein synthesis, after the microtrauma that a heavy lifting session inflicts on our muscle fibres.


An abbreviation for If It Fits Your Macros. IIFYM is a type of flexible dieting, which tracks macronutrients (carbs, fats and protein)  instead of focusing purely on calories.


The ketogenic diet. A low-carb, high-diet diet designed to put the body into a state of ketosis, where you burn up fat for fuel. Aside from being scientifically and medically contentious, it’s also notoriously difficult to maintain. We wouldn't recommend a date night to Domino’s with someone doing keto. 


An abbreviation for Low Intensity Steady State, a type of cardio training involving slower-paced, continuous bouts of exercise.  


Short for macronutrients. The three essential macronutrients for your body are protein, carbohydrates and fat. Your body needs these nutrients in large amounts to grow and thrive.


Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment. This mental health tool encourages us to be aware of our thoughts, feelings, sensations and surrounding environment, tuning in to what we’re feeling in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. Mindfulness encourages us to not be overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.


The Olympia is (arguably) bodybuilding’s biggest contest, beloved by devotees of old-school lifting. Every year, the winner is crowned Mr.Olympia.


Weight plates that go on each end of the barbell.


‘The greatest feeling you can get in a gym’ according to Arnie. On a more scientific level, the pump is when your muscles swell up during your workout, caused by the excessive amount of blood travelling to the muscle. That swollen feeling occurs as blood pools in your muscles and plasma is drawn into the fibers, causing those fibers to expand and stretch, appearing even bigger than usual.


Progressive Overload is a training method, involving gradually increasing your training load to continually make gains in muscle strength and size. Simply put, in order to get bigger and stronger, you have to continually make your muscles work harder than they’re used to. Typically that means increasing the resistance, but as you can see from below, there are other methods to increasing the overload. This can be applied to anything from cardio to HIIT workouts.





An abbreviation of Personal Best. Whether it’s a heavy squat or a number on a scale, it’s something all gym goers can benefit from chasing.


An abbreviation for Rate of Perceived Exertion. RPE is a scale of how hard an exercise feels to you at the time. By measuring intensity, you can track your gains in muscle strength as those shoulder raises get easier and easier. Here’s a classic RPE scale.




Tabata is a type of Japanese HIIT training. Specifically, it’s a four minute workout consisting of 8 rounds of 20 seconds of maximum effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Think four-minute fitness sounds too good to be true? Read the original study here and make your own mind up.


You know
those black and yellow straps you see hanging around the gym? They’re used for something called TRX training (short for Total Resistance Exercise), which is a style of bodyweight training created by a Navy SEAL.

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