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Gym Slang – Another Language

Gimnasio Turre is the town’s friendliest community based gym and fitness studio.

Training at the gym can sometimes feel like learning a whole new language. Imagine stepping into an ice cream shop, and the person behind the counter asks if you’d like Jimmies with your order. Depending on your region, you might wonder, “What on earth are Jimmies?” (They’re actually sprinkles.)

Similar confusion can occur when you encounter gym lingo for the first time. Some terms have different meanings in the gym than in everyday life, and some exist solely within the fitness realm. Since there’s no gym option on DuoLingo, we want to assist those striving to become fluent in gym slang. As certified personal trainers, CrossFit L-1 coaches, and competitive weightlifters, we use most of these terms daily.

Here’s our guide to essential gym slang:

AMRAP Definition: An acronym for “as many reps as possible.” This term appears in workout programs, indicating that you should perform a specific exercise until your muscles reach fatigue, and you can’t complete another repetition.

Used in a Sentence: “In this AMRAP, you’ll be doing lateral raises.”

Anabolism/Anabolic Definition: Anabolism refers to the process of building molecules from smaller units to develop and maintain muscle mass. “Anabolic” describes anything that promotes this process. While often associated with steroids, your body has natural anabolic processes that don’t require performance-enhancing substances.


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Used in a Sentence: “To gain muscle, you need to be in an anabolic state.”

All You Definition: This phrase is used to motivate someone attempting a challenging lift. It signifies that they can complete it independently, without assistance.

Used in a Sentence: “You’ve got this! It’s all you!”

Ass To Grass Definition: This term doesn’t involve actual grass but refers to squatting deeply, ensuring your buttocks go as low as possible during back or front squats.

Used in a Sentence: “I want to see ass to grass on your next squat, not just going halfway.”

Block Definition: “Block” refers to a specific time span during which you must complete a particular workout circuit.

Used in a Sentence: “The next block will really work your leg muscles.”

Brace Definition: “Brace” can mean the supportive gear worn by lifters, but more often, it refers to the action of maintaining a tight torso during heavy lifts to ensure proper form. This is often achieved by taking a deep breath before a rep and exhaling during the lowering phase.

Used in a Sentence: “Brace yourself, and then lift!”

BCAAs Definition: Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are molecules found in specific protein sources that aid in muscle growth and energy production. They’re also available as a supplement, which can help prevent muscle fatigue during workouts.

Used in a Sentence: “You should check out our guide to the best BCAA supplements.”

Bro Definition: “Bro” is a term used to refer to anyone in the gym, including both men and women.

Used in a Sentence: “Hey, bro, I like your t-shirt.”

Broscience Definition: “Broscience” is a term used to describe fitness and nutrition advice that lacks a scientific basis, similar to an “Old Wive’s Tale” in the gym world.

Used in a Sentence: “You don’t need to consume protein immediately after a workout; that’s just broscience.”

Bulking Definition: “Bulking” involves adding weight to your physique, typically in the form of lean muscle mass. People achieve this by consuming more calories than they burn throughout the day, creating a caloric surplus. It’s the opposite of “cutting.”

Used in a Sentence: “Put away the salad; it’s bulking season.”

Cardio Definition: “Cardio” refers to rhythmic exercises that raise your heart rate, improving cardiovascular health. Activities like walking, running, swimming, or using cardio equipment like treadmills fall into this category.

Used in a Sentence: “Let’s hit the treadmill and do some cardio.”

Conditioning Definition: “Conditioning” is similar to cardio but focuses on your body’s ability to sustain an activity over an extended period. It includes non-rhythmic exercises like pushing a heavy sled, climbing a rope, or doing repeated box jumps. These workouts aim to improve endurance.

Used in a Sentence: “Carrying this suitcase is exhausting; I need to work on my conditioning.”

CTB/C2B Definition: Primarily used in CrossFit, these terms describe pull-ups where your chest must touch the bar, as opposed to simply getting your chin over the bar.

Used in a Sentence: “We’ll start with some CTBs in this block.”

Chalk Definition: Weightlifters and powerlifters use “chalk,” a powdery substance, to enhance their grip on barbells. It increases friction between your hands and the bar, preventing sweat from loosening your grip.

Used in a Sentence: “Do you have any chalk I can use for my next deadlift?”

Cheating Definition: “Cheating” involves using momentum to complete a lift, like swinging your arms during a dumbbell curl or leaning back during a lat pulldown. While not always discouraged, it should be done under the supervision of a certified trainer.

Used in a Sentence: “I want strict pull-ups; no cheating allowed.”

Chipper Definition: A “chipper” is a type of CrossFit workout that involves completing a high number of repetitions of multiple exercises, typically ranging from five to ten.

Used in a Sentence: “I’m not sure if I can finish this Chipper WOD.”

Compound Exercise Definition: “Compound exercises” target multiple muscle groups, such as bench presses, squats, and deadlifts, as opposed to “isolation exercises.”

Used in a Sentence: “To build serious muscle, focus on compound exercises.”

Concentric Definition: A “concentric” contraction occurs when a muscle shortens during an exercise. It’s the phase when a muscle contracts, often referred to as “the concentric.”

Used in a Sentence: “Squeeze your muscles during the concentric phase.”

Couplet Definition: In CrossFit, a “couplet” consists of two different exercises performed back-to-back with minimal rest.

Used in a Sentence: “This couplet starts with deadlifts followed by over-bar burpees.”

CNS Definition: “CNS” stands for the central nervous system, which plays a primary role in strength training.

Used in a Sentence: “Heavy deadlifts every day will strain your CNS.”

Cutting Definition: “Cutting” involves reducing body weight by shedding excess body fat, often achieved through a caloric deficit. It’s the opposite of “bulking.”

Used in a Sentence: “No dessert for me; I’m cutting.”

Cycle Definition: “Cycle” can refer to a workout routine or an anabolic steroid regimen used by athletes.

Used in a Sentence: “He just started a new cycle, which is why he’s benching 315.”

DB Definition: “DB” is shorthand for “dumbbell,” typically seen in written workout plans.

Used in a Sentence: “We’re doing DB incline presses for three sets of 15 reps.”

Deload Definition: “Deload” involves lifting lighter weights or reducing the volume in your workout routine to give your muscles and central nervous system a rest. This is often done for a week before returning to a regular lifting routine.

Used in a Sentence: “I’m on a deload phase right now, so I’m lifting lighter weights.”

DOMS Definition: “DOMS” stands for delayed-onset muscle soreness, the discomfort you experience in a muscle group 24 to 72 hours after training it.

Used in a Sentence: “My legs are sore two days after leg day; I’ve got DOMS.”

Drop Set Definition: A “drop set” involves performing a move for as many reps as possible and then reducing the weight to continue for additional reps. This technique is used to exhaust targeted muscles and promote muscle growth.

Used in a Sentence: “To work your biceps thoroughly, we’ll do a drop set of barbell curls.”

Eccentric Definition: An “eccentric” contraction occurs when a muscle lengthens during an exercise, often referred to as “the eccentric.”

Used in a Sentence: “Don’t forget to breathe during the eccentric phase.”

EMOM Definition: “EMOM” stands for “every minute on the minute.” It instructs trainees to perform a specific move for a set number of reps at the beginning of each minute, with the workout ending when completed.

Used in a Sentence: “Do 20 push-ups every minute on the minute for ten minutes.”

Functional Training Definition: “Functional training” prepares the body for everyday movements like squatting and hip-hinging. The term can be controversial, as some argue that all training is functional in its own way.

Used in a Sentence: “My functional training class helped with my hip pain.”

FT Definition: “FT” stands for “for time,” frequently used in CrossFit to indicate that the goal is to complete a workout as quickly as possible or within a specified time limit.

Used in a Sentence: “Today’s WOD is for time!”

Gains Definition: “Gains” describe muscular or strength improvements.

Used in a Sentence: “You’re making some impressive gains in the gym.”

Gear Definition: In slang, “gear” is often used to refer to steroids.

Used in a Sentence: “Do you think he’s on gear?”

Guns Definition: “Guns” specifically refer to well-developed and large biceps.

Used in a Sentence: “I might have to show off my guns.”

Gym Rat Definition: A “gym rat” is someone who spends a significant amount of time in the gym, often making working out a central part of their identity.

Used in a Sentence: “He’s always at the gym; he’s a total gym rat.”

Half Rep Definition: A “half rep” is an incomplete repetition, where the exercise is performed through only a partial range of motion.

Used in a Sentence: “I can only do a half rep with that weight.”

HIIT Definition: “HIIT” stands for high-intensity interval training, which involves short bursts of intense cardio exercises followed by brief rest periods. It’s ideal for people with limited time.

Used in a Sentence: “I’ll do a quick HIIT workout since I don’t have much time.”

HSPU Definition: “HSPU” stands for handstand pushup, a challenging CrossFit move where you perform pushups while in a handstand position.

Used in a Sentence: “Today’s WOD includes 100 HSPUs.”

Hypertrophy Definition: “Hypertrophy” refers to the growth of muscles. A “hypertrophy workout” focuses on building muscle rather than strength.

Used in a Sentence: “We’re concentrating on hypertrophy this week.”

Intra-Workout Definition: “Intra-workout” describes the period when someone is actively training. It can also refer to a supplement taken during a workout to boost energy, which may or may not contain branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).

Used in a Sentence: “I usually have lemonade as my intra-workout drink.”

Invisible Lat Syndrome Definition: “Invisible Lat Syndrome” humorously describes the sensation some bodybuilders experience after a back workout, where they mistakenly believe their lats are wider than they actually are.

Used in a Sentence: “Don’t worry; it’s just invisible lat syndrome.”

Isolation Exercise Definition: An “isolation exercise” targets a specific muscle group, unlike “compound exercises” that engage multiple muscle groups.

Used in a Sentence: “To develop your deltoids, consider shoulder isolation exercises.”

KB Definition: “KB” is short for “kettlebell,” commonly seen in written workout instructions.

Used in a Sentence: “Today, we’re doing KB snatches.”

KG Definition: “KG” represents kilograms, a unit of measurement found on Olympic weightlifting plates. One kilogram is equivalent to 2.2 pounds.

Used in a Sentence: “Kate lifted 71 kg the other day. How much is that in pounds?”

Knurling Definition: “Knurling” refers to the cross-hatch pattern on barbells, dumbbells, and other gym equipment that enhances grip. Knurling can range from passive to aggressive.

Used in a Sentence: “I prefer aggressive knurling on the bar for pulling movements.”

Macros Definition: “Macros” or macronutrients include protein, carbohydrates, and fats, the three sources of calories. Macro intake varies based on fitness goals.

Used in a Sentence: “What are the macros in that protein ice cream?”

Metcon Definition: “Metcon” is short for metabolic conditioning, a workout combining strength and cardio exercises to improve conditioning and boost metabolism. It’s also a type of shoe made by Nike.

Used in a Sentence: “We’re doing a metcon workout later.”

Newbie Definition: A “newbie” is a gym rookie or beginner.

Used in a Sentence: “Let’s help the newbie; he’s just starting.”

OHS Definition: “OHS” stands for overhead squat, often used to assess mobility, flexibility, and stability. It involves squatting with a barbell overhead.

Used in a Sentence: “Try an OHS with an empty barbell.”

Plateau Definition: A “plateau” refers to a phase with minimal or no progress, whether in strength gains, hypertrophy, or weight loss.

Used in a Sentence: “I was making progress, but now it seems I’ve hit a plateau.”

PEDs Definition: “PEDs” stands for performance-enhancing drugs, commonly known as steroids.

Used in a Sentence: “Which athletes do you think are still using PEDs?”

Pre-Workout Definition: “Pre-workout” is a supplement designed to provide energy for workouts, typically containing caffeine or other stimulants.

Used in a Sentence: “Want some of my pre-workout?”

PR/PB Definition: “PR” or “PB” stands for personal record or personal best, denoting an individual’s best achievement in lifting, running, or other physical activities.

Used in a Sentence: “I hit a deadlift PR today!”

Peeled Definition: “Peeled” describes someone who is very lean with minimal body fat and defined muscle mass.

Used in a Sentence: “You’re looking peeled for beach season.”

Prep Definition: “Prep” refers to the period when someone is preparing for a bodybuilding show, powerlifting meet, or any competition.

Used in a Sentence: “How long is your prep for the weightlifting competition?”

Pump Definition: A “pump” occurs when muscles swell after a workout, temporarily making them appear larger due to increased blood flow.

Used in a Sentence: “I’ve got a massive pump right now.”

Rack Definition: “Rack” can refer to a squat rack, power cage, squat stand, or bench rack. It may also mean returning weights to their designated place.

Used in a Sentence: “No one ever racks their dumbbells, and that’s why I prefer a home gym.”

Rep Definition: A “rep” is one complete cycle of an exercise, such as one push-up or one squat.

Used in a Sentence: “We’ll keep the reps low for this set.”

Ripped Definition: “Ripped” describes a physique with defined muscles and low body fat.

Used in a Sentence: “You’re looking ripped for the beach.”

RMU Definition: “RMU” stands for ring muscle-up, a gymnastic move involving a muscle-up on rings.

Used in a Sentence: “How many RMUs can you do?”

ROM Definition: “ROM” stands for range of motion, indicating how far a joint or muscle can move, varying among individuals.

Used in a Sentence: “Adjust your exercise bike seat for a full range of motion.”

RPE/RIR Definition: “RPE” (rated perceived exertion) assesses the difficulty of a lift, while “RIR” (reps in reserve) measures how many additional reps one could perform after a challenging lift.

Used in a Sentence: “He squatted 500 pounds with an RPE of six.”

Rx Definition: “Rx” signifies “as prescribed” and is frequently used in CrossFit to indicate the specified number of reps and weight for a workout.

Used in a Sentence: “Today’s WOD: Deadlifts, 155 pounds Rx.”

Sandbagging Definition: “Sandbagging” can refer to using sandbags instead of traditional weights or intentionally slowing down a workout due to soreness in CrossFit.

Used in a Sentence: “I might sandbag tomorrow’s workout.”

Scale/Scaled Definition: “Scaling” in CrossFit involves modifying a workout to suit one’s fitness level, accounting for injuries or soreness, and is not performed exactly as written.

Used in a Sentence: “Scale the weight on the deadlifts to something manageable.”

Set Definition: A “set” is a series of reps performed during an exercise, with the number of sets and reps varying based on fitness goals.

Used in a Sentence: “How many more sets do you have on the bench?”

Spot Definition: “Spotting” involves supervising someone during a challenging lift, like the bench press, to assist if needed.

Used in a Sentence: “Could you spot me on this bench press?”

Superset Definition: A “superset” consists of performing two exercises in succession with minimal rest in between.

Used in a Sentence: “We’re doing a superset of bench presses followed by lateral raises.”

Swole Definition: “Swole” describes someone with a significant amount of muscle mass.

Used in a Sentence: “He’s looking incredibly swole.”

T2B/TTB Definition: “T2B” or “TTB” stands for toes to bar, a challenging CrossFit move involving hanging from a pull-up bar and touching your toes to the bar.

Used in a Sentence: “Today’s WOD includes TTBs.”

TUT Definition: “TUT” represents time under tension, signifying the duration a muscle is under strain during an exercise.

Used in a Sentence: “Hold the squat at the bottom to increase time under tension.”

Uncle Rhabdo Definition: “Uncle Rhabdo” is a humorous term used in CrossFit to describe athletes who push themselves to the point of health issues. It references rhabdomyolysis, a condition resulting from severe muscle damage.

Used in a Sentence: “You need to take a rest day; otherwise, you’ll turn into Uncle Rhabdo.”

Wheels Definition: “Wheels” refer to well-developed quadriceps, particularly when they have significant muscle definition.

Used in a Sentence: “Check out the wheels on that guy!”

WOD Definition: “WOD” stands for workout of the day, commonly used in CrossFit to describe the daily workout routine.

Used in a Sentence: “Are you ready for today’s WOD?”

95/65 Definition: In CrossFit, “95/65” indicates the recommended weight for male and female athletes, respectively, for a particular exercise.

Used in a Sentence: “Today’s WOD: Deadlifts, 225/135.”

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