Learn Your Gym Terms

While many gym rats can easily slip in and out of gym talk, it’s much harder for beginners to understand the slang found all over the gym. If you feel left out of the talk at the gym, it’s simple to start improving and expanding your gym slang dictionary. Starting out with this list can help you improve your workouts by understanding the terms that your trainer or friends might say.

Let’s start with understanding the terms for your body that you’ll hear at the gym. For example, someone might say “Today I’m training Bis and Tris.” Now you can understand what they mean!

Pecs: Pectoral muscles in the chest.

Lats: Latissimus dorsi in the back.

Traps: Trapezius muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper back.

Delts: The shoulder muscles can be front, middle, or rear.

Tris: Triceps in the back of the upper arm.

Bis: Biceps in the front of the upper arm.

Quads: Quadriceps in the front of the thighs.

Hams: Hamstrings in the back of the thighs.

Glutes: Gluteus maximus is the butt.

Core: Your middle body – low and mid back, abdominals, obliques, and stabilizers.

Other Gym Terms to Know

Beast Mode

When you go all out on a workout to exceed expectations. Popularized by NFL running back Marshawn Lynch.


When a gym bro tells you a “fact” with no research behind it at the gym. Do your research, bros!


A circuit is a series of exercises that are performed back to back with little to no rest.


When you restrict calories and train hard to look ripped by showing the lines and separations in your muscles.


Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is the soreness and stiffness you feel 24-72 hours after your workout. Walking, stretching, massages and hot baths can help relieve some of this soreness.

Drop Set

Drop sets are a common way of training the muscles beyond the point of failure. You start at a heavy weight and lift until your point of failure. Then you “drop” or reduce the weight and continue performing the exercise to your next point of failure.

Finish Strong

Keep going as hard as you can to the finish line.


When you’re making gains, you’re improving and increasing mass or cutting well. Making progress towards your goals.


High Intensity Interval Training is when you combine short intense periods of exercise with easier recovery periods.

Leg Day

Leg day is when you train your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Don’t skip leg day or you’ll have a tiny lower body with a jacked upper body.

Max Out

Doing the max means lifting the heaviest weight you can handle. Often this is just for one rep as it is the most weight your muscles can handle.


The negative is when you lower the weight on your rep. Your negatives should be done under control to continue working your muscles.


A plate is the weight plate used with many exercises in the gym.


If someone asks for a spot, they want you to watch them rep to help lift the weight off if they perform to failure and risk injury. Only spot someone if you can handle the weight – you don’t want to injure yourself in the process.

Static Hold

A static, or isometric, hold is literally holding the body in one position to work the muscles. Examples of static holds include planks or wall sits. Static holds can also be done at the end of a set instead of finishing a heavy weight. Simply hold the weight at the top of the exercise and squeeze to work the muscles.

V Taper

A V-Taper is when your shoulders are wide and muscled and your waist is small and chiseled so that your upper body looks like a “V.” Often used by bodybuilders.


Volume is the total amount of reps and sets you do on an exercise combined with the amount of weight you’re using. Benching 200 pounds for 3 sets for 10 reps equals 200 x (3 x 10) for a total for 6,000 pounds of total volume.

Derrick Glass
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