Glossary of Weight Training, Nutrition & Supplement Terms

Author: Joseph Krachenfels

Glossary of Terms




Abduction: Movement of a body part away from the middle of the body. If you have your arms at your side, then you raise your arms so they are level with your shoulders, like wings on an airplane.

Abs: This is an abbreviation for abdominal muscles.

Actin: A protein found in muscle fibers that acts with myosin to bring about muscle contraction and relaxation.

Aerobic Exercise: An exercise where the oxygen demands of the muscles are provided by the circulation of oxygen in the blood. Distance running, distance cycling and aerobic activities are examples of Aerobic Exercise.

Agonist: The muscle directly engaged in contraction that is primarily responsible for movement of a body part. When you do barbell curls, the bicep muscle in the agonist.

Amino Acids: The “building blocks of life” amino acids are subunits that join together to form protein. There are 20 amino acids that come from food and other amino acids that are produced in the body. Amino acids not produced in the body are known as essential amino acids, while amino acids produced in the body are known as non-essential amino acids.

Anabolic Steroids: A drug that that mimics the muscle building characteristics of the male hormone testosterone. Anabolic steroids are illegal in most states and have been known to cause negative side effects on the recipient of the drugs. Some side effects include baldness, headaches, kidney disorders, and impotence.

Anaerobic Exercise: An exercise where the oxygen demands of the muscles are so high that the body can’t replenish it quickly enough. As a result, the oxygen debt in the muscles forces the athlete to stop the exercise. Sprinting and weight training are examples of Anaerobic Exercise.

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Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP): All living things, plants and animals, require a continual supply of energy in order to function. The energy is used for all the processes which keep the organism alive. Some of these processes occur continually, such as the metabolism of foods, the synthesis of large, biologically important molecules, e.g. proteins and DNA, and the transport of molecules and ions throughout the organism. Other processes occur only at certain times, such as muscle contraction and other cellular movements. Animals obtain their energy by oxidation of foods; plants do so by trapping the sunlight using chlorophyll. However, before the energy can be used, it is first transformed into a form that the organism can handle easily. This special carrier of energy is the molecule adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.

Antagonist: The muscle that counteracts the agonist. For example, the triceps are the antagonist to the biceps. When you do barbell curls the biceps contract, and the triceps lengthen.

Atrophy: Decrease in size and functional ability of tissues or organs. If you work out for 10 years and get big, then you stop working out, your muscles will begin to shrink or atrophy.


Barbell: A steel bar measuring 4 –6 feet in length. The bar is used for weight training and body building exercises. Some barbells have a fixed amount of weight on the sides, while other barbells allow you to add and remove weight as you desire.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): BMR estimates how many calories you would burn if you were to do nothing but rest for 24 hours. It represents the minimum amount of energy required to keep your body functioning, including your heart beating, lungs breathing, and body temperature normal. Working out will help elevate your BMR, meaning you can burn off fat or excessive food consumption, leading to a more lean body. BMR measurements are typically taken in a darkened room after 8 hours of sleep.

Basic Exercise: A bodybuilding exercise that stresses the largest muscle groups of your body (e.g., the thighs, back, and/or chest), often in combination with smaller muscles. You will be able to use very heavy weights in basic exercises in order to build great muscle mass and physical power. Typical basic movements include squats, bench presses, and deadlifts.

Biomechanics: Science concerned with the internal and external forces acting on the human body and the effects produced by these forces.

Blood Pressure: The pressure exerted against the inner blood vessel walls during heart contractions (systolic blood pressure) or during heart relaxation (diastolic blood pressure).

Body Fat Percentage: Your body fat percentage is simply the percentage of fat your body contains. If you are 150 pounds and 10% fat, it means that your body consists of 15 pounds fat and 135 pounds lean body mass (bone, muscle, organ tissue, blood and everything else). A certain amount of fat is essential to bodily functions. Fat regulates body temperature, cushions and insulates organs and tissues and is the main form of the body's energy storage.
Body Mass Index (BMI): BMI stands for Body Mass Index, and it is an assessment of your weight relative to your height. The formula is: weight in kg / (height in meters x height in meters). The results of the BMI calculation are categorized as follows:

• Underweight: below 18.5
• Normal weight: 18.5-24.9
• Overweight: 25-29.9
• Obese: 30-39.9
• Morbidly obese: 40 and above

The BMI formula does not take into account your body composition (percent muscle vs. fat) and is therefore less accurate if you have a non-typical amount of muscle. This is because while a person with an above average amount of muscle is likely to be healthier because of it, the formula simply interprets the added muscle as fat and overestimates obesity. Conversely, with older persons and others with a below average amount of muscle, it underestimates obesity.


Calorie: The amount of energy necessary to raise one liter of water one degree Celsius. Your body needs calories as "fuel" to perform all of its functions, such as breathing, circulation, and physical activity. All the food you intake has a certain number of calories that are ultimately used by your body or stored for later use. The body burns 3 fuels for energy: Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates. The body will burn Proteins and Fats as fuels, but prefers Carbohydrates to the other two. Each fuels provides a certain number of calories per gram:

• 4 calories per gram of protein
• 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate
• 9 calories per gram of fat

As we can see fat is the most efficient fuel, although too much fat in your diet is very bad.

Carbohydrate: Carbohydrate means “chains of carbon”. Carbohydrates are the bodies primary short – term fuel source. Carbohydrates come in 2 forms: Simple Carbohydrates are sugars and are broken down by the body immediately into glucose. This is immediate fuel for your muscles. Complex Carbohydrates (pasta, potatoes) are broken down more slowly and provide energy over a longer time period.

Cardiovascular Training: Working out to strengthen heart and blood vessels. Cardio training examples include jogging and swimming.

Catabolic: Chemical reactions in the body where larger units are broken down into smaller subunits. For example, muscle tissue may be broken down into protein strands, which then may be broken down into individual amino acids.

Cheating: A method of pushing a muscle to keep working far past the point at which it would normally fail to continue contracting due to excessive fatigue buildup. In cheating you will use a self-administered body swing, jerk, or otherwise poor exercise form once you have reached the failure point to take some of the pressure off the muscles and allow them to continue a set for two or three repetitions past failure.

Cholesterol: A type of fat manufactured within the body, but more often ingested from fatty animal source foods like beef, pork, eggs, and milk products. Over time cholesterol can clog arteries and blood vessels leading to a stroke or heart attack. There are different types of cholesterol: namely, HDL and LDL (HDL being the "good" form and LDL being the "bad" form).

Circuit Training: Circuit training is an excellent way to simultaneously improve mobility, strength and stamina. The circuit-training format utilizes a group of 6 to 10 strength exercises that are completed one exercise after another. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a prescribed time period before moving on to the next exercise. The exercises within each circuit are separated by brief, timed rest intervals, and each circuit is separated by a longer rest period. The total number of circuits performed during a training session may vary from two to six depending on your training level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), your period of training (preparation or competition) and your training objective.

Clean: The movement of raising a barbell or two dumbbells from the floor to your shoulders in one smooth motion to prepare for an overhead lift. To properly execute a clean movement, you must use the coordinated strength of your legs, back, shoulders, and arms.

Compound Training: Also called "giant sets". Doing 3 - 4 exercises for the same muscle, one after the other, with minimal rest in between. See also Trisets.

Creatine: A chemical produced by the liver, pancreas, and kidneys and mostly stored in the skeletal muscle. Theory says that muscle fatigue is caused by creatine depletion within the muscles. So if you consume more creatine, your muscles will store more, leading to increased muscle size and larger energy reserves and strength. Creatine is an over the counter supplement that can be purchase pretty much anywhere.

Cross - Training: In cross-training, two or more types of exercise are performed in one workout or used alternately in successive workouts. A distance runner in training, for example, may also lift weights twice a week, perform daily stretching exercises, and do high-intensity bicycle sprints every Tuesday. This is believes to increase performance in all sports leading to a higher level of fitness.


Diuretics: Sometimes called "water pills," these are drugs and herbal preparations that remove excess water from a bodybuilder's system just prior to a show, thereby revealing greater muscular detail. Harsh chemical diuretics can be quite harmful to your health, particularly if they are used on a chronic basis. Two of the side effects of excessive chemical diuretic use are muscle cramps and heart arrhythmias (irregular heart beats).

Drop Sets: This is one of the more advanced bodybuilding techniques designed to increase the intensity of your workout. Basically to perform a drop set you do one set of a specified weight to failure, then with no rest, lower the weight and do another set to failure (single drop set), then with no rest, lower the weight and do another set to failure (double drop set), and so on.

Dumbbell: A steel bar measuring 10 – 12 inches in length. The bar is used for weight training and body building exercises. Most dumbbells are fixed weights stored on long racks in the gym. The weights come in 5-pound increment pairs.


Ectomorph: One of the 3 main human body types. It is characterized by a thin, linear appearance. They often possess narrow waist, hips and shoulders. The ectomorph also has a low body fat percentage.

Endomorph: One of the 3 main human body types. It is often characterized by big bones, round face, large trunk and thighs and a naturally high degree of body fat, especially around the midsection. Endomorphs usually struggle to control their weight although it may simply mean more determination is needed for an endomorph to lose as much weight as a mesomorph.

Endurance: The ability of a muscle to produce force continually over a given period of time. Like that guy in the boxing ring who can fight all 12 rounds without ever getting tired must have good endurance.

Estrogen: A female sex hormone. For example, in men excess testosterone is converted to estrogen sometimes leading to gynecomastia (breast development).


Failure: The point in an exercise when you are so fatigued your working muscles can no longer complete an additional repetition of a movement with strict biomechanics (correct form).

Fast – Twitch Muscle Fibers: Muscle fibers that contract quickly and powerfully. They are utilized in anaerobic activities like sprinting and powerlifting. Fast – Twitch fibers are developed by heavy, low rep, explosive weight training. Everyone is born with different ratios of fast to slow twitch muscle fibers. It has been proven that working out does changes fiber behavior and helps grow new fibers.

Fat: A major source of energy in the diet. All food fats have 9 calories per gram making it the most efficient energy source. Fat helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E and K and is also responsible for supporting vital organs. Some kinds of fats, especially saturated fats, may cause blood cholesterol levels to increase and increase the risk for heart disease. Other fats, such as unsaturated fats do not increase blood cholesterol. Fats that are in foods are combinations of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids. The essential amount of fat in our body is 3%, an American in their 30’s considered to be in good shape has 18%.

Fiber: The part of plant foods that the body cannot digest. It helps to move food waste out of the body more quickly. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, dry beans and peas, nuts and seeds, and breads and cereals. Fiber is not found in animal foods (meat, milk, eggs).

Forced Repetitions: Assistance to perform additional repetitions of an exercise when muscles can no longer complete the movement on their own. For example, a spotter on the bench press will help you press the bar up by pulling it towards them slightly.

Free Weights: Barbells, dumbbells and other exercise equipment not considered to be a machine. Free weights are the preferred choice of most body builders because they recruit more muscle fibers when exercising.

Fructose: The main type of sugar found in fruit. It's sweeter than sucrose (table sugar).

Full Body Routines: Working out your whole body in one workout is a decent plan. Generally, two full body workouts per week is a good frequency to start out with, and you might me able to get the job done with one. This type of routine generally has one exercise for each major body part, with less or no work for smaller body parts such as arms and calf’s. A full body workout is incredibly exhausting, and delivers a conditioning effect that other routines do not. A full body workout can also be very time effective- One full body session per week can give some decent muscle growth. Full body workouts tend to involve fewer sets per body part because of their difficulty.


Glucose: A simple sugar (blood sugar) that is created when simple carbohydrates are broken down in the body. Glucose is then stored in the muscles for fuel, and the excess is housed in the liver and fat cells.

Glycogen: Blood sugar stored in the muscles, liver and to a lesser extent the bloodstream. Glycogen helps to fuel muscle contractions.

Gynecomastia: Condition in males caused by excess of testosterone or testosterone-derived agent. When converted to estrogen, the estrogen stimulates the growth of female breasts. This is known as “bitch tits”. The condition may require surgery. This is one of the know side-effects of anabolic steroids.


HDL: This stands for "high-density lipoprotein." It's one of the subcategories of cholesterol and is typically thought of as the "good" cholesterol. You may be able to raise your HDL cholesterol levels by ingesting quality unsaturated fats like flaxseed oil. Exercise has also been shown to increase HDL levels.

Hyperglycemia: The basic defect in all patients with diabetes is the decreased ability of insulin to induce cells of the body to remove glucose (sugar) molecules from the blood. Whether this decreased insulin activity is due to a decreased amount of insulin produced (e.g. Type I Diabetes), or from the insensitivity of the cells to a normal amount of insulin, the results are the same...blood glucose levels which are too high. This is termed "hyperglycemia" which means "high glucose in the blood".

Hyperplasia: The ability of a single muscle fiber to split into two fibers.

Hypertrophy: A term denoting an increase in muscle mass and muscle strength. Hypertrophy is created by overloading muscles during body building workouts.
Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia is the medical term for low blood sugar. An average person has a sugar reading of 80 to 120 (measured in milligrams of sugar per deciliter of blood). Anytime a persons blood sugar level drops below that, they are considered hypoglycemic, or having low blood sugar. If the blood sugar level drops far enough, the person becomes unconscious, has seizures, or, if the episode lasts too long, can even die.


Insulin: Hormone produced by the pancreas which controls the blood’s level of glucose and amino acids.

Isokinetic Exercise: Isotonic exercise in which there is accomodating resistance. Also refers to constant speed. Nautilus and Cybex are two types of isokinetic machines, where machine varies amount of resistance being lifted to match force curve developed by the muscle. The goal here is to maintain resistance throughout the whole movement while forcing the muscles to also stabilize the weight. You are trying to get the best of both worlds: Isometric (constant stress) and Isotonic (stabilizing effect). Consider this to be a hybrid between a machine and free weight.

Isolation Exercise: In contrast to a basic exercise, an isolation exercise stresses a single muscle group or part of a single muscle in isolation from the rest of the body. These exercises are good for shaping and defining various muscle groups. For your thighs, squats would be a basic movement, and leg extensions would be an isolation exercise.

Isometric Exercise: Isometric exercise is practiced by pushing or pulling an immovable object like a wall or bar anchored to the floor. Research has shown that a muscle contraction during Isometric exercise produced more force then a contraction generated by lifting weights. Although research shows that Isometric exercise increases muscle tension significantly, it still fails to change the length of the muscles. Today, it is primarily used for rehabilitation purposes. Click here to read full article.

Isotonic Exercise: Isotonic exercise is practiced by lifting weights. This type of training does in fact change the length of the muscle. As contrasted to isometric exercise, where maximum muscular contractions are possible throughout the exercise, in isotonic exercise resistance during the entire lift is not consistent. There is an easy part of the lift and a hard part of the lift. The hard part “sticking point” is the weakest spot in the range of motion where the weakest muscle or joint angles come into play. For example, when you are doing a barbell curl, when the bar is down by your waist, this would be the sticking point of the movement. As you bring the bar up, the resistance weakens as momentum takes over. So the resistance is different throughout the exercise.


Juice: Slang term referring to anabolic steroids.


Ketosis: Ketosis is the result of insufficient carbohydrate intake. When in a state of ketosis, your feelings of hunger will be reduced and you may become dehydrated. If you test positive for ketosis by your doctor of pharmacist, you should increase your carbohydrate intake to recover.

Kinesiology: The study of muscles and their movements.


Lactic Acid: A product given off during aerobic perspiration. For example, when you are jogging on a treadmill your system must continue to deliver oxygen to your muscles. A chemical in your body called pyruvic acid which comes from the breakdown of glucose (blood sugar) mixes with oxygen and produces carbon dioxide, water, and ATP. When there is not enough oxygen in the muscles because you are working out so hard, the pyruvic acid is now converted to lactic acid (lactate). As the lactate is produced in the muscles it leaks out into the blood and is carried around the body. If this condition continues the functioning of the body will become impaired and the muscles will fatigue very quickly. This point is often measured as the lactic threshold or anaerobic threshold or onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA). When oxygen becomes available the lactic acid is converted to pyruvic acid and then into carbon dioxide, water and ATP.

Lactose: Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products.

Lactose Intolerance: The inability to easily digest lactose. This may be inherited, or may occur after some types of surgery. Surgery-related lactose intolerance may go away over time. Many stores carry special milk products that do not contain lactose.

LDL: This stands for “low-density lipoprotein" and is a subcategory of cholesterol, typically thought of as the "bad" cholesterol. Levels of LDL cholesterol can be elevated by ingestion of saturated fats and a lack of exercise.

Lean Body Mass: Everything left in the body when all of the body fat has been eliminated. This includes bones, organs, skin, nails, and all body tissues including muscle. About 50-60% of your lean body mass is water.

Ligament: A band of flexible, fibrous connective tissue that is attached at the end of a bone near a joint. The main function of a ligament is to attach bones to one another, to provide stability of a joint, and to prevent or limit some joint motion.


Mass: The relative size of each muscle group, or of the entire physique. Someone has massive arms, means their arms are really big and contain a lot of mass (usually muscle mass).

Max: Maximum weight you can do for one repetition of an exercise.

Mesomorph: One of the 3 main human body types. It is characterized by broad shoulders, narrow waist, naturally large muscles and fast metabolism due to the amount of lean muscle. For men a mesomorph looks like a natural muscle man with a heavy, hard and athletic physique.

Metabolism: Metabolism is the process of converting our energy source which is food into a form of energy the body can use to function. An increase in your metabolic rate (metabolism) will increase the number of calories you burn, and a decrease in your metabolic rate will decrease the number of calories you burn. This is why working out helps you lose weight. When you workout, your body needs more energy to function, so it will burn more calories. To provide more energy your body must increase your metabolic rate.

Mineral: A term applied to inorganic (not living) substances, such as rocks and similar matter found in the earth's strata, as opposed to organic substances such as plant and animal matter. Minerals normally have definite chemical composition and crystal structure. The term is also applied to matter derived from minerals, such as inorganic ions found in water. Nutrients are needed by the body in small amounts to help it function properly and stay strong. Iron, calcium, potassium, and sodium are minerals.

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

Muscle Spasm: A sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscle group.

Myofibril: Myofibrils are very small fibers that run through each muscle fiber. The myofibrils have alternate light and dark bands, which contain protein filaments responsible for the muscle's contractile ability and give the muscle its typical striped appearance under the microscope.

Myositis: Muscular soreness due to inflammation that often occurs 1 – 2 days after unaccustomed exercise.


Nautilus: A brand of exercise equipment commonly used in most gyms. Most machines are of the isokinetic-type which attempt to match resistance with user force.

Negative Reps: The downward movement in a repetition, also known as the eccentric contraction. An example would be having a spotter help you lift more weight than you can on the bench press, then you slowly lower the weight on your own. The lowering of the weight is the negative part of the exercise. Muscles can handle more weight load on the negative part of the exercises.

Nutrient: Chemical compounds (water, protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals) that make up foods. These compounds are used in different ways by the body, i.e., to grow, function and stay alive.

Nutrition: A three-part process that gives the body the nutrients it needs. First, you eat or drink food. Second, the body breaks the food down into nutrients. Third, the nutrients travel through the bloodstream to different parts of the body where they are used as "fuel" and for many other purposes. To give your body proper nutrition, you have to eat and drink enough of the foods that contain key nutrients.


Obliques: Abbreviation for external obliques, the muscles to either side of abdominals that rotate and flex the trunk.

Overload: The amount of weight that you force a muscle to use that is over its normal strength capacity. Overloading a muscle creates hypertrophy (causes the muscle to grow).

Overtraining: A condition in which your body can no longer recover from your workouts, leading to losses in muscle size and strength. Things that lead to overtraining include training too frequently, spending too much time in the gym, doing too many sets, doing too many reps, not getting enough rest, improper nutrition.


Plyometric Exercise: Where muscles are loaded suddenly and stretched, then quickly contracted to produce movement. Athletes who must jump do these. For example, jumping off a bench to the ground, and then quickly jumping back on the bench.

Power: Power is equal to speed + strength.

PowerLifting: A form of competitive weight lifting featuring 3 lifts: the squat, the bench press and the dead lift. In a Powerlifting competition, athletes are categorized by sex, age and bodyweight. Each competitor is allowed three attempts at each lift, the best lift in each discipline being added to their total. The lifter with the highest total is the winner. In cases where two or more lifters achieve the same total, the person with the lightest bodyweight wins.

Power Training: System of weight training using low repetitions, heavy weights.

Pre Exhaustion: There's an old saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. That adage also applies to multi-joint movements. Indeed, multi-joint movements have a distinct disadvantage because they generally have a "weak link." When an athlete fatigues in an exercise it is because the smaller, weaker muscle becomes exhausted. This happens well before the larger and stronger muscle has received a sufficient workload. In an exercise like the lat pull-down, the biceps are the smaller muscle and, therefore, will fatigue long before the upper back. To solve this problem, we can utilize the Pre- Exhaustion Principle. The Pre-Exhaustion Principle employs what has been called a "double set": one single-joint movement followed quickly by a multi-joint movement. With the Pre-Exhaustion Principle, the idea is to "pre-exhaust" the muscles you are trying to work by first performing a single-joint exercise. In effect, this will bypass the weak link. The first exercise is followed quickly by a second exercise to bring into play other surrounding muscles which provide assistance to work the pre-fatigued muscle to a point beyond it's normal state of exhaustion. For instance, let's suppose that you want your athletes to exercise their upper backs using the Pre-Exhaustion Principle. The first thing they'd do is perform a single-joint exercise -- such as a barbell or a dumbbell pullover -- to pre-fatigue their upper backs. As soon as possible following the completion of that exercise, they'd perform a multi-joint movement -- like a lat pull-down or a seated row. That second set will employ their arms to assist their pre-fatigued upper backs to work to a degree of exhaustion that would normally be impossible. It should be noted that for maximum results, the second exercise should come as soon as possible following the completion of the first exercise. Too much time between the first and second exercises will allow the pre-fatigued muscle to gradually recover some of its original level of strength. If the muscle recovers too much, then you're back to where you started with the weak link still being the limiting factor.

Protein: One of the three nutrients that supply calories to the body (the other two are fats and carbohydrates). The protein we eat becomes a part of our muscle, bones, skin, and blood. Protein is the only nutrient the body can’t live without. Protein is also necessary for muscular growth and repair.

Pump: A bodybuilding term meaning the muscles have been made larger by increasing blood supply to them through exercise. For example, when you do bench press, if you take off your shirt and look in the mirror after a few sets you will notice your chest looks larger. The pump does go away a few hours after your workout.


Quality Training: A type of workout used just prior to a body building competition in which the length of rest intervals between sets progressively decrease leading to an increase in overall training intensity and a more defined physique. In addition, a low calorie diet is also followed to reduce body fat.


Repetition: One complete movement of an exercise. For example, when you barbell bench press, lowering the weight to your chest and then pressing it back up is considered 1 repetition.

Rep Out: Repeat the same exercise over and over again until you can’t do anymore.

Rest Interval: The pause between sets of an exercise which allows muscle recovery.

Rest Pause Training: Training method where you do one difficult repetition, then place the weight down, rest for 10 – 20 seconds, then do another rep, etc.


Set: A set is a group of consecutive repetitions that are performed without resting. After the set, a rest interval occurs before you begin another set.

Slow Twitch Muscle Fibers: Muscle fibers that contract slowly, weakly and continue for long periods of time. These muscle fibers are more resistant to fatigue and are utilized in endurance activities such as long-distance running, cycling or swimming. Everyone is born with different ratios of fast to slow twitch muscle fibers. It has been proven that working out does changes fiber behavior and helps grow new fibers.

Smith Machine: A machine at your gym that you use to workout. The bar is on tracks and has hooks that you rotate to release and lock weights on pegs. You can use the machine for many exercises. Many people use it for bench press and squats because you don’t always need a spotter when you go heavy.

Split Routine: Split routines consist of working different body parts on different days of the week. Common splits for beginners include an upper/lower body split, and a three-day a week split. Split routines may not have the same overall conditioning effect as full body routines, but in my opinion they allow greater concentration on individual exercises. In a full body routine the last body part you train might not get as much stimulation as others, since you are dead tired at that point. Split routines give you more leeway to train each body part with similar effort.

Stacking: The practice of taking two or more performance – enhancing drugs at one time. The actual drugs, combinations, and dosages are known as a stack.

Steroid: "Anabolic steroids" is the familiar name for synthetic substances related to the male sex hormones (androgens). They promote the growth of skeletal muscle (anabolic effects) and the development of male sexual characteristics (androgenic effects), and also have some other effects.

Sticking Point: Most difficult part in the movement of an exercise. For example, during a barbell curl, when the barbell is at the bottom, it is the hardest part of the exercise.

Straps: Straps are fastened around your wrists and then twisted around a bar to strengthen your grip in exercises where the grip is your weakest link. This may allow you to lift heavier weights during an exercise, while also protecting the wrists from injury.

Stretch Marks: Tears (slight scars) in the skin caused if muscle or fat tissue has expanded in volume faster than skin can grow.

Striations: Grooves or ridge marks seen under the skin, the ultimate degree of muscle definition.

Super Set: A superset consists of performing two exercises in a row with no rest in between. For example, you would do a set of dumbbell flies, then immediately do a set of dumbbell or barbell bench presses. Super sets save time, increase intensity, and provide for a more aerobic type of weight training workout. However, super sets are not recommended if you are trying to build strength or power.

Supplement: This is a term used to describe a preparation such as a tablet, pill, or powder that contains nutrients. Supplements are used to help you achieve optimal nutrient intake.


Tendon: The tough tissue that connects muscles to bones.

Testosterone: Testosterone is a principal male sex hormone. Though this hormone normally (and necessarily) occurs in small amounts in females, it is chiefly known as the hormone responsible for stimulating the development of male sex organs and male secondary sexual characteristics, e.g. facial hair, deepening of the voice, and muscle development.

Training to Failure: Continuing a set until it is impossible to do any more repetitions without assistance.

Trisets: A triset consists of performing three exercises in a row with no rest in between. For example, you would do a set of dumbbell flies, a set of dumbbell bench presses, and a set of dumbbell incline presses with no rest in between sets. This is equal to one triset. Trisets contain one more exercise than the superset, making them even more intense.


Universal Machine: One of several types of machines where weights are on a track or rails and are lifted by levers or pulleys.

Unsaturated fat: These are 'good' fats. They are called unsaturated because they have one or more open spots on their carbon skeletons. The main sources of these fats are from plant foods, such as safflower, sunflower, arid flaxseed oils.


Vascularity: Increase in the size and number of visible veins. Highly desirable for the body builder.

Vitamin: Any organic substance that is essential to human health, and which the body cannot make for itself, at least not in sufficient quantities. Vitamins are added to foods to increase their nutritional value. Vitamins can be classified into two groups: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins must be taken into the body daily as they can’t be stored and are excreted within one to four days. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored for longer periods of time in the body’s fatty tissue and liver.

Volume Training: Doing a very high number of sets for each body part when weight training. Lighter weights are used to perform more repetitions. This technique is better for shaping and toning muscles, rather than growing muscles.


Warm-up: The 10-15-minute session of light calisthenics, aerobic exercise, and stretching taken prior to handling heavy bodybuilding training movements. A good warm-up helps to prevent injuries and actually allows you to get more out of your training than if you went into a workout totally cold. Warming-up also helps clean toxins out of your muscles prior to the workout.

Weight Training Belt: A thick leather belt used to support the lower back. Used primarily when doing squats, military press, dead lifts or bent over rows.

Wraps: Wraps are used to support weak or injured joints or muscles. Wraps are used around the knees for weight training athletes performing heavy squats, or around the elbows during bench press.

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