Gym Glossary: 19 Terms That Every Beginner Needs to Know

If you're new to the gym or thinking about getting into weight lifting, you'll want to learn some of the vocabulary terms. These 19 terms are a solid start.

When you begin any new hobby, you must learn the vocabulary and/or slang of that activity so you can understand what others are saying and what you need to do.

That same idea applies to the weight room.

To help you beginners get better acquainted with the gym life, we’re sharing 19 words you need to know.

Pay attention – you’ll hear these often.

1. Beast Mode

This means you’re going to go all-out from start to finish and have the best workout possible.

The term was made famous by NFL running back Marshawn Lynch but it’s been around the fitness game for a while now.

If you exceed the expectations of yourself or others in the weight room, you went into “beast mode”.

2. Broscience

If you hear something in the form of a tip or rule that a fellow gym rat (or “bro”) tells you that may or may not have actual research behind it, you just heard broscience.

Related: 9 Broscience Myths Destroyed With Actual Science

It’s looked down on in modern times but you still may hear one of these “facts” occasionally from someone who has been lifting or lifted “in his college days”.

3. Cutting

Someone who is dieting and wanting to look ripped is cutting.

They are cutting calories from their diet and training harder because they want to show the separation in their muscles – primarily their abs and the lines known as cuts.

ALLMAX AminoCuts

4. DOMS

DOMS means Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and you’ll know what it means when you have your first hard workouts and are hurting for the next day or two.

That pain you feel is the “DOMS” effect.

You will feel this and the only remedy is to be consistent with your effort. You’ll feel it most on leg day which is a term you’ll see later on.

5. Finish Strong

If you hear someone spotting you yell this, it means he or she wants you to keep pushing or pulling as hard as you can.

If you hear him or her say “one more”, that means you’re failing, doing less of the work and should rack the weight to finish the set.

6. Gains

If you’re making gains, then you’re improving.

In most cases, it means you’re getting bigger or stronger but some lifters may also be talking about improvement in the form of getting more ripped. That progress is still considered gains too.

Gains are the goal and making gains are good.

Athlete Making Gains

7. Intensity

This does not mean yelling or grunting very loud when you’re starting or in the middle of a set. That just gets you strange looks and maybe kicked out of the gym.

Intensity in this sense means you’re pushing closer to your max effort and are likely going to reach failure. The heavier the weight and the more effort you give, the greater the intensity.

8. Jacked

This one is pretty self-explanatory. It means jacked up but in the world of muscle, it’s a good thing.

It basically means you look great and are showing a lot of muscle.

If someone made a lot of recent progress this may be used as a compliment to pay respect to the lifter in question. “Dude is getting jacked.”

9. Leg Day

This is the day you would train your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Leg day is considered the hardest training day of the week and has been known to be avoided by many lifters.

The result is a small lower body that doesn’t match the upper body which they train often. Don’t skip this day. True lifters go hard on leg day.

10. Max

This does mean “the most possible” as it does in other fields.

In regards to training, if someone is going for a max, that means they want to lift the heaviest weight possible for a certain number of reps. More often than not, it’s a one rep max or 1RM.

ALLMAX Impact

11. ‘Mirin

If someone is staring at you or someone else for more than a few seconds, they’re admiring you while training or in between sets.

The short for this is ‘mirin and this is a good thing. If you stare at the mirror a little too long, you’re ‘mirin yourself and that may not be such a good thing because you’ll be perceived as narcissistic.

12. Negative

If you’re training and hear someone call for this, it means you should lower the weight slowly and under control.

Related: Eccentrics - Build Strength With Heavy Negatives

This helps break down the muscle fibers more and can help you get bigger if done consistently.

13. Plate

This has nothing to do with a meal. If someone asks for a plate, that means he wants a 45 pound weight plate.

There are other terms for other weight plates as well. A 2 ½ is change, a 5 is a nickel, a 10 is a dime, 25 is a quarter, and a 100 pound plate is a “hundo”.

There is no name for the 35. It’s just called a 35.

14. Prep

Short for preparation, someone who is preparing for a show or goal with a deadline is in prep mode.

If they have 12 weeks until the event, it’s a 12 week prep. You might also hear this as someone being “12 weeks out”. The more successful the prep, the better the results can be at the end.

15. Spot

If you hear someone say this while lifting, it means they need help and if you’re capable you should do so in order to prevent the lifter in question getting injured.

If you want someone to help you, you would ask for a spot and if they wanted your help, they would do the same.

Allmax athletes spotting each other

16. Superset

The act of doing two exercises in a row without taking a break in between is doing a superset.

This is most popular when it comes to training arms. A bicep exercise followed by a tricep exercise would be a superset. You can do this with any other muscle groups and exercises though.

Doing three exercises in a row is a triset and four or more is a giant set.

17. V-Taper

This is the ultimate goal when it comes to altering your physique.

It means that your shoulders look wide and your waist looks small. When you turn around and show your back, it would look like a “V”.

This is more popular in bodybuilding circles than anywhere else.

18. Volume

This basically is a combination of the sets and reps you’re doing along with the total weight you’re using. If you bench 200 pounds for 3 sets of 10 reps, that is 200 pounds for 30 total reps which equals 6,000 pounds of total volume.

It can also mean generally a lot of sets and reps you’re doing. The more sets you do and the higher reps, the more overall volume you do.

19. Work In

If you hear someone asking this, it means they want to share the equipment you’re using. If you’re not in the middle of a set, the proper thing to do would be to allow the person asking to “work in”.

You would then take turns resting while the other is training. Hopefully, you’re not wasting time and just sitting on the machine when someone asks to do this. That’s generally frowned upon.

What’s Your Favorite Gym Term?

If there is a word you know that didn’t make the list, add it in the comments section below.

Make sure you give the definition so we can all benefit from the knowledge you’re bestowing upon the M&S community.