Gym For Dummies: A Beginner's Gym Lingo Guide - Femanin

Gym For Dummies: A Beginner’s Gym Lingo Guide

It’s only a matter of time before the treadmill becomes too samey and you want to move on to a different kind of workout. Like weight training, for example.

But if you can’t afford to shell out for a personal trainer to show you the ropes (ugh, same!), then getting clued up can be a pretty daunting task. Glancing around the weight section at your local gym might seem like you’re looking at an old garage scattered with random metal things, protein shakes and sweaty bodies, but once you know your clamps from your TRX, the props won’t look so foreign after all.

To help you get to grips with the basic gym lingo, we’ve created the ultimate fitness glossary, so you don’t have to feel like you’re winging it so much.


Clamps, collars, clips or grips – they all mean the same thing: the circular locks you use to secure players on the end of your barbell.

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If you’re a fan of The Body Coach (and who isn’t!), then you’ve probably heard this phrase being thrown about. Well, HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training and it is exactly that: quick bursts of exercise with short rests – for example, 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off.


The TRX, aka the Total Resistance Exercise, refers to the suspension of two straps, allowing you to create your own full-body strength work out.

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Reps refers to the number of times that you perform one exercise. So if you do a bicep curl 10 times, that’s 10 reps.


This is the number of times you perform one group of reps. So, if you do ten bicep curls and then stop, that’s one rep.

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In order to perform a superset, after completing one set of an exercise, you’ll do another straight away. You’ll alternate between these two (sometimes three) exercises until your sets are complete (usually without a rest).

Drop set

A drop set might sound like it’s only for Olympic level power-lifters, but it’s actually VERY simple. Basically, you’ll perform your exercise with a certain weight, then you’ll lower the weights to make it more manageable until you’re finished.

Training To Failure

The clue’s pretty much in the name – you’ll perfect a set until failure, meaning you just keep going until you can no longer perform another rep.

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We’ve ALL had it, but few of us actually know the name for it. You know those achy muscles you get the day after working out? It’s called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS for short. It’s where parts of your muscles have been microtorn and they’re in the phase of rebuilding.

Plyometric training

We know this one sounds scary. But, it just refers to movements that are especially created to increased speed and explosiveness by loading your muscles very suddenly. Think squat jumps, jump lunges and box jumps.

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Isolation exercises

They target one muscle at a time.


The last one on our beginner’s gym glossary… If someone asks you to spot them, all you’ve got to do is watch them and ensure they don’t get crushed by their own weights. Ouch.