Exercise Lingo – What Does THAT Mean?

This time of year brings new people to the gym – or sees more people interested in starting an exercise routine. If you’re like most people nowadays the first place that you go to for inspiration is online. That could be Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.

You may see or hear words or short-forms for the workouts and may not understand what they mean. So, this blog is going to outline some of the ‘exercise lingo’ you’re likely to come across and explain for you what the words mean. 

Exercise Lingo You’re Likely to Come Across…

Rep: One repetition of a single exercise.

Set: Number of repetitions performed without stopping.

Tempo: Speed at which one repetition is performed. It is denoted with 4 numbers (ex. 4-0-1-0). Each of the 4 numbers is in seconds. (4 seconds into the rep – no rest – 1 second to come out of the movement – no rest)

Rest: Time in seconds between two sets.

HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training. This is an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 4–30 minutes. Eg. 20/10, 40/15 and the second number is the rest time in seconds for each interval or exercise.

Work time: The first number is the work time in seconds, the duration of time that you complete an exercise in a timed HIIT workout. eg. =>20/10

Rest Time: The second number is the rest time in seconds, the duration of time that you rest between exercises in a timed HIIT workout. eg. 20/10<=

Interval: One interval is the work and rest time for an exercise. A workout could be written as 20/10 x 8

Circuit: A series of exercises one right after the other with minimal rest in between. Rest is done at the end of the circuit.

Straight sets:  Complete one exercise for the required repetitions followed by a rest period. Then repeat the same exercise for the required number of sets before moving on to the next exercise.

Superset: Completing two strength training exercises back to back in which you move quickly from one exercise to another exercise without taking a break for rest in between the two exercises.

Knowing what the words mean can help you make sure that you are performing the workouts correctly so you were getting the most out of your time and effort. 

Some advice for beginners…

If you are new to exercising, or if you haven’t been exercising for a while, start slowly. Complete one or two sets or circuits of your workout and see what your body feels like the next day. It will take your body time to adjust and become stronger. Overdoing it today will only cause you to second-guess exercising tomorrow. Slowly increasing what you do over time will set you up with the most success. it will build your confidence and your strength without the extreme discomfort caused by DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness.

A general rule of thumb that I follow is when your muscle starts to burn from completing an exercise, try doing three or four good reps. That’s your starting point. If you can do 12 to 15 reps easily, add some weight. If you can’t do 8 reps then you need an easier exercise or variation. When you are new to exercise, you want to build some muscle tone and get your heart rate up. Start safely and progress slowly for best and lasting results.

Remember, don’t overdo it. You want to make sure that you were challenging yourself but you need to pay attention to the cues that your body is telling you.

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