12 Gym Terms You Should Know Before The Summer Begins

Healthy Hueman: Hector T. Brown

Have you ever walked in the gym felt like you were on another planet? There are a ton of terms, acronyms, and phrases that are important to understand if you’re following any type of workout plan, yet aren’t necessarily intuitive to understand. Being new to the gym doesn’t have to be intimidating and confusing.

Let me just say, congratulations! You’ve taken the first step on your way to a new and improved body and mind.

Today I’m breaking down the key gym terms that will be helpful for you to understand while you’re in the gym. Know your reps from your sets and your flexibility from your motor skills with this quick ‘gym speak’ cheat sheet.

12 Gym Terms You Should Know Before The Summer Begins

Anaerobic exercise

High-intensity exercise that burns glycogen for energy, instead of oxygen. Anaerobic exercise creates a temporary oxygen deficit by consuming more oxygen than the body can supply. Example: weight-lifting.


The sensation in a muscle when it has been worked intensely. It is caused by a build-up of waste products and microscopic muscle tears during exercise.

Cardiovascular exercise

Activity in which the body is able to supply adequate oxygen to the working muscles, for a period of time. Examples: running or cycling.

Exercise intensity

The amount of force or energy you expend during a workout, i.e. how hard you work during exercise.

Fat-burning zone

Used during cardiovascular exercise and refers to the exercise intensity at which the body uses stored fat for energy. At approximately 60 to 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate, about 85 per cent of calories burned in this zone are fats, five per cent are proteins and ten per cent are carbohydrates.


Range of movement (ROM) in a joint or group of joints. Good flexibility refers to an advanced degree of suppleness in the joints and muscles.

Motor skills

A movement that involves muscle groups and the function of the brain working in unison. This includes practically all forms of movement, including walking, kicking, jumping, climbing stairs and working out. It also refers to balance.

Muscular endurance

The ability of a muscle to produce force continually over a period of time. Example: circuit training.

Muscular strength

The ability of a muscle to produce maximum force, e.g. using weights.


A shortening of repetitions, this means one complete movement of an exercise.


These are the fixed number of repetitions, e.g. ten repetitions may comprise one set.

Target heart rate

The speed at which you keep your heartbeat during aerobic exercise. Find your target heart rate by multiplying your maximum heart rate by 0.7 (for 70 per cent) and by 0.8 (for 80 per cent).