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Weightlifting Terminology

Here are some common terms you'll encounter in the world of weightlifting.

Anabolic
A state of positive nitrogen balance that is desired by bodybuilders because it is the state your body must be in to grow.

Bulking Up
Gaining bodyweight by adding both fat & muscle, a once common practice no longer in vogue.

Burn
The burning sensation in a muscle that comes from the lactic acid and pH buildup resulting from exercising the muscle to failure.

Catabolic
Opposite of anabolic, it is a negative nitrogen balance and is when muscle losses occur.

Compound movements
Exercises that use more than one joint to complete. Squats are a compound movement since they use the hip and knee joints to complete.

Cutting Up
Stripping the body of excess bodyfat while retaining maximum muscularity. Also can be called Ripped, Shredded, Sliced, etc.

Cycles
Used to describe how you split up your bodyparts and how often you train them. If you do every bodypart once per week, you would be said to be on a 7 day training cycle.

Definition
Extremely low bodyfat coupled with superior muscle separation and vascularity; the physical manifestation of 'dialing it in'. Adjectives that are used to describe this desired state include ripped, shredded, sliced, cut, striated.

Ectomorph
Almost the same as a hard gainer, they are people who have a very fast metabolism and thus have a hard time gaining mass.

Failure
That point in an exercise, which you have fully fatigued your working muscles. They can no longer complete an additional repetition of a movement with strict biomechanics. You should always take your post-warm-up sets at least to the point of momentary muscular failure, and frequently past that point.

Frequency
How often you train. Similar to cycles.

Hardgainer
Someone who has a hard time gaining muscle.

H.I.T.
High Intensity Training. A method that states it is not about doing 'more' or 'less' exercise but rather an appropriate amount on exercise to stimulate optimum muscle growth.

Hypertrophy
This means increase in muscle mass and an improvement in relative muscular strength. Hypertrophy is induced by placing an “over-load” on the working muscles with various training techniques during a bodybuilding workout.

Intensity
The degree of effort that you put into each set of your workout. The more intensity you place on a working muscle, the more quickly it will increase in hypertrophy. The most basic methods of increasing intensity are to use heavier weights in good form in each exercise, do more reps with a set weight, or perform a consistent number of sets and reps with a particular weight in a movement, but progressively reducing the length of rest intervals between sets.

Isolation movements
Movements done on one joint. Leg extensions are an isolation movement because they use only the knee joint to complete.

Pump
The tight, blood-congested feeling in a muscle after it has been intensely trained. Muscle pump is caused by a rapid influx of blood into the muscles to remove fatigue toxins and replace supplies of fuel and oxygen. A good muscle pump indicates that you have optimally worked a muscle group.

Pyramiding
The act of increasing your poundage while decreasing your reps on successive sets.

Ripped
A condition of extremely low bodyfat with superior muscle separation and vascularity. Variations include sliced, cut, and cross-straited.

Rep
Moving a weight through a range of motion and then back again one time, short for repetition.

Set
A grouping of repetitions that is followed by a rest interval and usually another set. Three to five sets are usually performed of each exercise.

Symmetry
The way your body matches up on both sides. The more evenly developed both sides are, the more symmetrical you are.

Splits
Used to describe the way you divide up your bodyparts when you train them. For example, if you were to train lower body one day and upper body the next 1 time per week, you would be on a 2 way split with a 7 day frequency.

Vascularity
Used to descibe the amount of veins on a persons body. The more veins you have, the more vascular you are.