Bodybuilding Jargon

Bodybuilding has its own special language.
In this section, we have defined some of the terms of this sport, and their respective meanings.

  • Bitch Tits:
    A condition in which femaile like breast development occurs in a bodybuilder, also called Gynecomastia.

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

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

  • Cap:
    The deltoid muscle of the shoulder, which can be divided into front, middle and rear heads for training.

  • Cheat Reps:
    When muscle fatigue begins to set in or the weight is too heavy, some athletes employ body English or 'improper' form to make the lift, using surrounding muscle groups or even momentum to assist in the movement.

  • Close Sport:
    Standing by, alert and ready to assist promptly if called upon by someone performing an exercise.

  • Circuit Training:
    A workout technique in which the individual goes from one exercise to another. one set per movement per round, with minimal rest, thus gaining some aerobic benefit at the expense of maximal strength gains.

  • Cramping:
    Exercising a muscle using shortened movements that causes a muscle to cramp, contracting painfully perhaps to the point of temporary fatigue to achieve a greater pump.

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

  • Cycle:
    A length of time set aside for specific types of training, whether for bulking up, getting stronger, getting leaner, etc. Combining individual training cycles is sometimes referred to as periodization.

  • Cycle (of steroids):
    Another meaning is taking one or more specialized supplements (or steroids) for a specific period of time, as taking creatine for two months, then stopping for a month.

  • 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.

  • Dialing It In:
    The process of training and dieting to get shredded for a contest. Adjectives include on time, on the money, peaking.

  • DPP:
    Short for Discipline, persistence and patience.

  • Flat:
    Describes muscles that have lost their fullness, commonly caused by overtraining, undertraining or a lack of nutrients and water.

  • Flush:
    To increase the blood supply to a muscle, thereby bringing in more nutrients.

  • Forced Reps:
    Additional repetitions of an exercise performed with the help of a partner when you're unable to do anymore reps on your own.

  • Freak:
    Anyone with inhuman size or unproportional muscles. The person that makes you stare.

  • Free Hand Movement:
    Any exercise that can be performed without exercise equipment, using only your bodyweight, such as a push-up or squat without weight.

  • Full:
    The appearance of muscle pressing against skin. The best competitive bodybuilders manage to look simultaneous full and shredded.

  • Glutes:
    A shortend version of gluteas maximus, the largest of the muscles forming each of the human buttocks.

  • Guns:
    Another word for Biceps, alone for with triceps. Other slang words include Pipes, Pythons...

  • Hardbody:
    Women who are so toned, so good looking, with excellent physique. Top of the line fitness competitors.

  • 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.

  • Intensity:
    It can mean that the pace you keep while you train is higher than normal, as in moving quickly and taking a shorter rest between sets. It also can mean that the weight you use during those sessions is relatively heavy for you. It can also mean that the workload within a given time period, combined with the weight and pace is increased.

  • Isolation:
    A technique that focuses work on an individual muscle without secondary or assisting muscle groups being involved, which provides maximal muscle shape. A good example is the seated dumbbell concentration curl.

  • Juice:
    Meaning anabolic steroids. Other slang words for steroids include gear, sauce, roids...

  • Lats:
    A term which is abbreviated jargon for the latissimus dorsi. This Latin term translates roughly into 'lateral muscles of the back'. When viewed from the rear, and relaxed, the lats form large. inverted cones.

  • Lean Body Mass:
    Fat Free body tissue, comprising mostly muscle. Lean mass is the primary determinant of the body's basal metabolism (calories you burn at rest). In healthy men, bodyfat (bodyweight minus lean body mass) ranges from 8-12%; in women, 18-22%.

  • Mass:
    Size - lots of it. If you train hard and eat right, you can add muscle. A growing bodybuilder's favorite word!

  • Muscle Confusion:
    A technique to counteract the cessation of growth that occurs when muscles adapt to the training demands placed upon them. To keep the body growing and getting stronger, a bodybuilder needs to vary his/her sets, reps, rest, weight used and exercise angles during each workout.

  • Negatives:
    The act of lowering a weight againt gravity, speicifcally, resisting gravity by lowering the weight slowly and under control.

  • One Rep Max (1RM):
    Your absolute strength in a given movement. Powerlifting competitions are a test of 1RM strength. For many bodybuilders, especially beginners, 1RM training is harmful because of the higher risk of injury. A weight that you can just complete in 10 reps is a good approximation for most people of 75% of their 1RM.

  • Peak:
    As a bodybuilder prepares for a contest, he/she cuts bodyfat to an unusually low level to bring out maximum muscularity that can be maintained for only a short time, usually only a few days.

  • Plates:
    The weights that you put on an Olympic dumbell, specifically a 45 pound weight. Smaller weights are called quarters (25 pounds), dimes (10 pounds), and nickels (5 pounds).

  • Periodization:
    Also called Cycle Training, a predetermined approach to strength and muscle building in which bodybuilders train light for several weels, then heavier, and then really heavy, and the process is cycled. Helps avoid injury and burnout.

  • Progressive Overload:
    Gradually adding more resistance during strength training exercises as your stregth increase.

  • Pump:
    The look and feeling a bodybuilder experiences when his/her muscles engorge with blood as the result of intense exercise.

  • 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 unit of exercise measurement consisting of a movement that is repeated a desired number of time.

  • Shredded:
    To get ripped, to have extremely low bodyfat with superior muscle separation. Also, sliced, cut, and cross-straited.

  • Site Injections:
    A terms involving injecting steroids right into a specific muscle groups, to help them bring up lagging bodyparts.

  • Six Pack:
    A ab muscles so well developed that you can see the separate muscle under the skin where your stomach is. Other words include washboard.

  • Skull Crusher:
    The lying french press, in which you lower a barbell from full etension above your head down to your forehead and then extend at the elbows to press it back up.

  • Spot:
    To 'stand guard' while someone performs a set with heavy weights. A 'spotters' main duty is to prevent unjury in case that someone cannot finish is reps.

  • Stacking:
    Usually mixing one or more supplements together.

  • Unilateral Training:
    It means working one side of the body at a time.

  • V-Taper:
    A person with big shoulders and a small waist.

  • Vascular:
    The visibility of veins on a bodybuilder as a result of exercise and low bodyfat (and perhaps higher blood volume).