08 Aug, 2022
Say what? Breaking down fitness jargon
Breaking down some common fitness jargon, to shed some light on what exactly the industry pros are talking about.
The fitness space can be pretty overwhelming at times, thanks to the volume of jargon that’s so often used. Unfortunately, unless you know what this jargon means, it’s pretty useless. Instead of adding to the noise, we’re here to help. Let’s jump right in.
Straight set vs superset
Sets are a core component of so many workouts, so this one’s really important.
With straight sets, you complete one set after another for a given exercise, with a period of rest in between each one. Once your sets are done, you move onto the next exercise. For example, you would do 3 sets of 10 squats, resting for a minute in between each one, before moving onto another exercise.
With supersets, however, you group two exercises together and complete a set of one exercise and immediately follow it up with a set of another exercise, before resting. For example, you would do 1 set of 10 squats followed immediately by 1 set of 10 push ups, resting only after both sets have been completed. This is then repeated for as many rounds as you want.
Straight sets are particularly useful for strength training as they allow you to handle much heavier weights, thanks to their lower intensity nature, while supersets allow you to maximise your time spent during a workout, and get more bang for your buck.
Compound vs isolation exercises
Compound exercises are ones that work multiple muscle groups at a time. Examples include squats, bench press, and deadlifts. They’re ideal for getting a full body workout with only a few exercises, allowing you to make the most of even the smallest training windows.
Isolation exercises are the opposite – they focus on one, targeted muscle group instead. Examples of isolation exercises are calf raises, bicep curls, and lateral raises. They’re really handy for targeting muscle groups that can sometimes get overlooked with compound exercises.
Aerobic vs anaerobic training
Aerobic training involves a sustained period of exertion, during which your oxygen uptake is increased to help your muscles withstand the longevity of your workout. This is largely endurance cardio sports, with examples including running, cycling, and swimming.
Conversely, anaerobic training involves short, sharp bursts of increased physical exertion. In these sessions, your body prioritises your glucose supply over oxygen to fuel your muscles. Classic anaerobic workouts include strength training, circuit training, and sprinting.
The mind-muscle connection references the act of bringing your attention to your body as you move during an exercise. It involves actively thinking about engaging the muscles you’re targeting, and making your workout more purposeful. So, instead of passively going through the motions during each set, you can use this connection to really make the most of your reps.
A great way to improve your mind-muscle connection is by implementing proper form when executing the exercises – with proper form, you’re able to focus your attention on the muscles you’re working. Another tip is to slow down each rep. By doing this, you’re increasing your time under tension, requiring your muscles to work for longer during your sets.
All the acronyms
Every minute, on the minute. This is a high-intensity style of training where you complete a set number of reps, at the start of every minute. Whatever time you have left before the next minute begins is your rest period.
High-intensity interval training. A HIIT workout does what it says on the tin – it’s short, it’s sharp, it’s snappy. You complete short bursts of all-out work, and follow them up with a period of active recovery before going again.
As many rounds as possible. An AMRAP workout involves doing as many rounds of exercises as you can in a set timeframe, without resting.
Workout of the day. This is a term most commonly used in CrossFit, and it references the workout you’ll complete on a given day. Since this changes so regularly in a sport like CrossFit, WOD is an easy blanket term for the workouts.
Delayed onset muscle soreness. That feeling you get after a particularly intense workout is due to DOMS, and it can come on hours or even days after you’ve finished working out.
Rate of perceived exertion. This is a way to track your effort during a workout, to measure how hard you feel your body is working. The RPE scale runs from 0–10, with exertion increasing as the numbers do.
Entering the fitness space shouldn’t be an intimidating process, but the frequent overuse of jargon can sometimes make it one. Not understanding what people around you are banging on about can feel alienating, but armed with these definitions you can feel confident you’ve at least got the basics down.
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