No idea what your PT is on about? Here’s your new guidebook
It’s a common theme between clients and trainers when they say something and you nod your head, acting like you know exactly how to engage your ‘lat’ … but your mind is rushing at a thousand miles a second trying to figure out if your ‘lat’ is upper or lower body. We thought it was about time we set the record straight and gave you a guide on how to decipher what on Earth your personal trainer is talking about.
Strength training: Heavier weight, less reps. You might not feel super tired or exhausted while doing strength training but it should be hard. You’ll be lifting heavier, either very close to or your absolute maximum weight, but between only one and six repetitions.
Hypertrophy Training: This is what makes your muscles big. It’s anywhere between eight and sixteen reps.
Endurance Training: This is exercise that makes your muscles tireless. You might not necessarily get bigger muscles and you might not increase strength to much but you will be able to go and go and go. Usually we classify endurance as anything above 16 reps.
1RM: This refers to your ‘One rep maximum’. The weight you can perform only one rep for but it’s ridiculously heavy.
‘Switch your core on’: How many times have you heard this and thought ‘yes, I know, but for the love of God, what do you mean?!’ Imagine you’re taking a deep breath into your lower back and you’re trying to touch your pelvis to your belly button. Everyone will react differently to different cues but most of us don’t actually know how to engage it and when you do, you’ll know.
‘ROM’ or Range of Motion: The full movement potential of a joint, usually its range of flexion and extension. For example, you might not have full range of motion in your squat because of a knee or back injury. The important point here is to remember that the greater the range of motion, the more muscle fibres we recruit.
‘Plyo’ or Plyometric: Exercises that enable a muscle to reach maximal force production in as short a time as possible. It’s designed to increase speed and explosiveness while strengthening joints and muscles. Exercises like box jumps, kettle bell swings and snatches are all great for ‘plyo’ training.
Superset: This is when you complete two exercises from the same muscle group back to back with little to no rest in between. For example, one set on the leg press followed by a set of jump squats. The payoff? More work in a minimal amount of time.
Jumpset: This is when you complete two exercises from different muscle groups back to back with little to no rest in between. For example, one set on the bench press followed by a set of seated rom. The payoff? More work in a minimal amount of time.
‘Traps’: Trapezius Muscle – Upper part of your back that runs along both sides of your spine and along the tops of your shoulders. This is the muscle that, if it gets too big you may start to look scarily similar to The Hulk.
Drop set: Mostly this refers to dropping the weight and increasing the reps each set. It also works if you’re doing as many reps as possible and then dropping the weight. The payoff here is that you can lift a maximal load through high repetitions and create high levels of lactic acid and muscular overload.
‘Rack it’: No, your personal trainer isn’t going to break into a hardcore gangster rap. It’s just a whole lot quicker than ‘alright, can you please place that bar back onto the weights rack now please?’. Because when you’re lifting as heavy as your body weight, you don’t want to hold it for any longer than you have to.
Free weights: These are the ones that aren’t attached to an intimidating metal machine. This term covers barbells, dumbbells, medicine balls, kettle bells or anything else you can grab and do a variety of exercises with, assuming it’s not a small, defenseless person. The best thing about free weights is that they are an open kinetic activity that stimulates more muscular activation.
Spot: Someone may ask you if they can “get a spot,” and we’ll tell you now so you don’t find out the hard way, they are not asking for you to help them find their dog. This means that they are asking you to help them do an exercise with a weight they might not be able to reach the rep target without a little bit of help.
Sticking point: This is the hardest part of your movement. It might be the very bottom of your squat or halfway through your chin-up. It’s that part of the movement that you get to every time and think ‘hang on, why do I put myself through this?!’ but you feel ridiculously satisfied afterwards.
Lactic Acid: This is produced in the muscles when the glucose in your body is broken down during strenuous muscular exercise. It’s when your energy demands exceed your oxygen supply or its rate of use. It’s not always a bad thing because during recovery or when the exercise intensity lowers, lactate can be used to generate even more energy!
So there it is. No doubt you’ve probably heard some random terms being thrown around and still don’t have any clue what they’re saying but at least you’re not a complete newbie now!
– FCF Team