Beginners Guide to Gym - A to Z of Gym Terms

Believe it or not, gyms can be intimidating. A beginner's guide to gym decodes A to Z of gym terms.

Going to a gym is more than fitness. A passport to adulthood, it has become an integral part of growing up. But, gyms can be intimidating too! The condescending stares of the pros and the casually thrown gym glossary unnerve beginners. No wonder, more than 50 percent of gym memberships do not last beyond a month. Is your gym membership also gathering dust because you are not acquainted with the fitness speak?  A to Z guide of gym terms decodes commonly spoken gym terms or gym vocabulary for fitness beginners so that you continue to build with confidence. 


Anaerobic Training stumps newbies. All the while after listening to aerobic training, suddenly the new word baffles them. Putting it simply, when you run like you stole something, it is anaerobic training. Naturally, it is hard to run for a longer duration in this way.  In anaerobic exercise form, you perform a high-intensity exercise for a couple of seconds to a minute or two.


Bulking or anabolism is what drives gym regulars. A keyword for the muscle maniacs, it means building new muscle mass and transforming your physique. The proof of bulking lies in biceps swell, bulkier chest and massive shoulders. 


Compound exercises require movement of two or more major joints in the body in a straight line path. A key contributor towards building endurance and muscle mass, compound exercises mimic real world functional movements, like pushing your car or picking up your kid. Squats, pushups are compound exercises that work as starting point of compound exercises for beginners. The benefits are increased stability and maximum calorie burn.


Deadlifts scare beginners. The word means lifting a dead weight lying on the ground and is a must to build physique and total body strength. Regarded as the king of mass builders, deadlifts build your core strength. Of course, you feel like a dead while lifting that weight away. 


Posterior, behind and butt has a new name commonly used by the muscle building enthusiasts. Glutes maximus your primary butt muscle is the largest muscle in your body and the most inactive too, for a lot many people who spend most of their waking hours sitting on it. Each time you perform lunges, leg presses deadlifts, squats, you engage your glutes.


High-Intensity Interval Training High is a short burst of intense cardio activity where you pour in your 100 per cent, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns fat in less time. With a HIIT session, you end up burning more calories towards the end of the day, even when you?re not doing anything.

Hypertrophy is another name for growing bigger in muscle size. 


One muscle at a time, the quintessential bodybuilding favourite is bicep curl.


Jump your way to fitness. Fun to do jumping jacks is a good for your heart. Each time you stretch your arms over head and legs, blood flow stimulates to different muscle groups. ThE best part you do not need any equipment to do it.


Heavy muscle heads use it when they are dealing with barbells loaded with huge chunks of weight. Providing extra support and protection the knee wraps work on all variants of squats.


Lats is the broadest muscle covering your back and they are important in defining the bodybuilders physique.


The name says all. Anyone serious about fitness carries it so that they don?t succumb to an impromptu urge to snack on unhealthy foods. The meal replacement shake combines the convenience of a shake and the nutrition of a well-planned meal in a limited calorie format. Enriched with proteins, vitamins and minerals, it works as a guilt-free, on-the-go nutritious snack and a wholesome in-between meal that easily integrates with a busy lifestyle and delivers healthful advantages.


A term used as a slang for a beginner, the word will get thrown around, if you are short on gym etiquettes, like leaving a sweaty bench, talking on the phone. Be aware of gym etiquettes.


Olympic bars are the maxed out version of the barbell and they are used by  international sports  competition. A barbell is a piece of exercise equipment (a long bar with weights attached to it) and it is used in weight training, bodybuilding and power lifting. 


The bare bones of muscle building exercise, pushups target, arms, core and chest simultaneously and they are really difficult for a beginner. A compound exercise and a barometer of your fitness level, pushups are not as simple as they look.

Pecs are the bulk of chest muscles.

Pilates is an exercise form and it demands focus. Fluid looking body movements in Pilates exert immense control.

Plateau is to remain in a state of no-growth.  When plateau sets in muscles stop growing or weight refuses to budge.

Progressive Overload in simpler words means to take it easy and to increase the weights gradually, during your training so that the body adapts and makes changes accordingly.


Quads or quadriceps is a large muscle group on the front of the thigh. Stretching out the quads Stretching out the quads is a must do after hiking, cycling, running, stair-stepping, or any other activity that gives your thighs a workout. 


Reps refer to repetitions and a set comprises of the number of reps. You will often hear people saying something like, 3 sets of 5 reps. This means that the particular exercise will be done for 15 times. After a set, you may rest briefly.


Soreness of muscles: a necessary evil or an avoidable pain? An outcome of punishing workout schedules, Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness kicks in after 6 to 8 hours of exercise and peaks after 48 hours. DOMS is often considered as a reward for increasing muscle size, but be careful because overtraining can stunt your muscle growth.

Related Article: Are You Training Too Much?



Training is often used interchangeably for work out. It?s  the action of undertaking a course of exercise and diet in preparation for a sporting event.


As you increase your exercise intensity, your oxygen consumption goes up. VO2 Max is a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use.  VO2 Max is measured in ml/kg of body weight per minute.  For most people, the number of VO2 max is between 30 to 60. 


Whey is the first tub of protein that a fitness enthusiast buys. And from here begins a lasting relationship that grows stronger with each passing day. Whey is not only for huge muscle heads. It?s for any regular guy who begins to gym, eats clean, but is still not able to see the definition of his muscles.


X-training is also known as Cross training or boot camp and offers an alternative to group fitness training activity  It is an alternative  to typical group fitness training found in gyms and provides an overall total body workout!


Yohimbe is often found in fat burners and it blocks fat receptors. The other key ingredients in a fat burner are garcinia cambogia, grape fruit extracts and cayenne pepper. Together they work to improve metabolism and boost fat burn when done with a workout.

Related Article: A Quick Guide to Fat Burner


Sleep is the most important bit of muscle building. Rest is critical for muscles to grow stronger. If your growth is getting stunted, try investigating your sleep pattern.