17 Famous Gym Jargon in Bodybuilding When You Regular at The Gym. Once you are a regular at the gym, you may hear many words that sound as if they are related to training, but the exact meaning may be unclear if you’re new to weight training. Welcome to gym jargon, a language started mostly by pumped-up behemoth bodybuilders and powerlifters that is now common in most gyms. Like any language, at first it seems awkward, but many of the terms are descriptive, and since the true science behind weight training came long after people started doing it, little thought went into the creation of new words. The list of terms that follows will give you a good introduction to the jargon you’re likely to hear in the gym. When you have a clear understanding of gym jargon, you should have no trouble standing up to the 300-pound, 6-foot-5 (135 kg, 195 cm) monster and asking for a spot or politely telling him to rack his weights. Then flex your tiny pistols and get back to work on making the perfect peak.
17 Famous Gym Jargon
1. Arnold is the man who fashioned the art of building muscle and brought it to the popularity it is today. He stands alone as the only person in the world of muscle who needs no last name—besides it is hard to spell. If you’re still not sure who this is, you may know him better as Governor Schwarzenegger.
2. Cannons (also known as guns, wings, bazookas, and jacks) describe the upper arms. Generally, the larger the arm circumference, the greater the size of your gun. Wings means that the size of your arms is birdlike. Why that has anything to do with lifting, I’m not sure. Similarly, the origin of the term jacks is unclear, but it could be from the fact that a jack is used to lift something, and you lift with your arms. Gym jargon can be confusing, even irrational at times, but you will end up using these terms in time—everyone does.
3. Cheat reps are a way to complete a repetition without help from a spotter but with help from other muscles. Usually, a cheat is in the form of a bounce or momentum used to get over the sticking point. These can be ugly and very dangerous to both the lifter and those around him. Notice I said him; women rarely use cheat reps, preferring to focus more on precision.
4. Crush it is used as hyperbole to create aggression and inspiration to make one lift harder and stronger. It means to crush the set or rep, not the weight itself (that would be nearly impossible). You may hear a training partner, coach, or spotter yell, “Crush it!”
5. Cut (and chiseled, shredded, sliced, and diced) refers to a person’s overall percentage of body fat. Those with superior skills at dieting and erfectly trimming their fat to make their muscles pop are considered to be among the very few that receive these super terms. In the bodybuilding world, you generally need to have a body fat of less than 6 percent if you truly want to be considered chiseled. In fact since this is such a difficult level to achieve (and certainly not something I suggest you attempt), we further use terms such as “cut like glass”—something difficult to do and very precise. Those lean enough are considered to have paper-thin skin, so nearly every vein in the body is visible. What this really means is that their subcutaneous fat is almost nonexistent.
6. Cuts, lines, and hardness are also terms for being lean but generally refer to the specific quality of a muscle and its shape. You may have nice lines or hardness in one area but are still not shredded enough to be considered super lean.
7. Help is a word you seldom like to hear in a gym since it means you may be in trouble. It is especially bad to hear when you are pinned underneath a bar during a heavy lift. It is also a way to describe forced reps, generally to refer to a set that was completed with a little extra influence from the spotter. Keep in mind that forced reps, a method of training to get an extra couple reps in your set, is a form of help. Requiring a spotter to provide a little extra help to complete the set is a good thing. Requiring a group of people or a forklift to lift the entire pile of weight off you is not.
8. It’s all you is a good way to tell your training partner that he is lifting all the weight himself, and you are there only if a true spot is needed. Although in some cases this acts as a nice motivator, often it results in the spotters getting much bigger forearms and trapezius muscles as they tend to be lifting quite a bit more than needed, making it all them! A spot is designed to help a lifter continue and complete a set not so the spotter gets a workout. It is common to see many guys trying to lift veryheavy weight in the gym, while often their partners are doing quite a bit of the work. If this is the case, you are lifting too much weight. In other words, if your training partner is developing pulling muscles (such as traps when lifting upward) faster than you are developing your push muscles (as in a bench press), then you need to cut back on the weight.
9. Master Blaster is the name given to pioneer fitness magazine legend Joe Weider, who began writing and training before most of you were even born. The term is often given to others to describe their talent as the king of a domain.
10. Peak usually refers to the fully flexed biceps muscle poking out of your shirt like the apex of a mountain. It can be used to describe other muscles or the moment in your workout where you reached your maximal weight or effort.
11. Pins (along with wheels, poles, and dogs) is used to describe the legs. Pins may be large, as when referring to the legs as bowling pins, which are more round at the bottom, or small, as when referring to something like the thinness of a safety pin. Again, if you are confused, so are the people who started using these terms. Wheels is used to describe the legs as a whole since like a car’s wheels, they are the parts that roll you along. The term is often used to describe the training day, as in
“I’m training wheels today.” If your legs are small in relation to the rest of your body, they may be referred to as toothpicks, chopsticks, poles, pins, or anything small and thin. Generally if your legs are large, you may be given the name Quadzilla. People usually use the word dogs in a sentence referring to a hard-core leg pump: “My dogs are barking.”
12. Pump refers to increasing blood flow to the muscles, which makes them bulge and, when lean enough, may bring out veins. It is typically used when a person believes she has gotten a really good workout. Men like to get a good pump, and that is obvious, but women do as well if they want their arms or legs to look shapely when wearing a sleeveless top or a skirt.
13. Squeeze and flex are terms used to create maximal tension in the muscle to force it to bulge as much as possible. Bodybuilders will squeeze at the fully flexed position to enhance the feel and get a better pump.
14. Sticking point is the point in an exercise where your leverage is at its worst possible point. Typically it is midway through a lift but varies depending on many factors. You always have a sticking point because of the anatomical makeup of your body and the biomechanical factors that dictate movement. When the weight is light enough, you will not notice the sticking point; but as the weight increases, it will be evident, and you will want to do what you can to overcome it.
15. Sweep is the roundness that a large outer thigh makes sweeping from the hip down to the knee. Although you want a defined leg, when not flexing, it should be lean and rounded.
16. Taper and V describe the shape of the upper body as it narrows from the shoulders to the waist. If you have those pesky love handles, it is unlikely that you will be considered to have this shape. Although the taper or V shape is usually used to describe men’s torsos, it also forms the top portion of the hourglass figure often used when describing women.
17. Washboard, cubes in the tray, and six pack specifically refer to the abdominal region and being able to see the individual parts of the entire front abdominal muscle. Interestingly, there are eight parts of this abdominal muscle (known as the rectus abdominis), but since most people never get that lean and a six pack is well known, the term eight pack never made it except to describe a pack of batteries or hot dog buns.
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