Gym terms can be extremely confusing and when you’re a newbie getting into fitness it can be rather confusing but say no more. Here is a list of super common terms to help you feel less new and more confident!


List of Common Gym Terms

Gym Rat

Somebody who is at the gym A LOT.

Funny story, back when I used to go to the gym all through middle and high school I went so much that people thought I worked there.


Somebody who does Crossfit regularly. Crossfit combines strength training, bodyweight exercise, and cardio.


Somebody brand new to the gym.


They train primarily for strength. They usually compete against others as to who can lift the most amount of weight. They are strong but not necessarily like a bodybuilder who is sculpting their body while increasing strength and muscle size.

Body Builder

Primarily training to improve the way their body looks. Just like Powerlifters, they are competing against others except for this time for who has the best physique.

Interval Training

Bursts of high intensity with recovery in between.

For example, high knees for 60 seconds followed with alternating leg lunges for 60 seconds as a recovery.



Developing your strength with bodyweight exercises.

Example: Pushups or pullups


I cannot possibly emphasize the importance of form. Keeping proper form while performing a particular move will keep you safe and avoid injury.

Leave the ego at the door. If you are struggling with either weight or being able to keep your body in perfect form stop!


Somebody who stands behind the person to ensure their safety when doing a move such as bench presses for example.

It’s a sense of security that if they begin to fail during the rep you can help assist them and finish.


Photo by Victor Freitas on

As the name implies you are performing weight lifting movements with dumbbells or barbells to gain strength or muscle.

Drop Sets

While lifting weights commonly my drop sets were 8 reps heavy and doing another 8 with a lower weight. With no rest in between each set. It’s to achieve muscle failure.

Compound/Functional Movements

Multiple muscle groups are engaged during a particular move.

Example: Deadlifts

Circuit Training

Circuit training is when you will move from one exercise to another with minimal rest in between each move.


When I became familiar with negatives was during a particular movement such as bicep curls you would curl the weight up then slowly lower it. You are elongating your muscles by lowering the weight and contracting them when curling up.


Explosive movements to strengthen your fast-twitch muscle fibers as I describe here. You will do a ton of jumping and hoping that will increase your heart rate and scorch a bunch of calories.

Progressive Set

Increasing weights from light to heavy, then heavy to light during a set.

Example: 15,12,8-8,12,15 for reps


Moving between two exercises without any rest. You will perform one move then immediately move onto the next.


Used as a way to express a change in muscle mass.


To keep it short and sweet it simply means personal best or max rep.


The number of times you perform an exercise.

Example: 10 squats


Each set has a certain number of reps that are performed each time.

Example: 3 sets of 10 reps.


When only a single muscle is focused on.

Example: Tricep Extention


You will hear this term often when losing weight. You will get to a point where you are no longer progressing. In the lifting world, you need to continuously increase your weights in order to continue progress. IF that weight you are using is “too” easy then bump it up!

Get To It!

Now with being educated on some of the common terms, you are ready to smash the world of fitness.