A Super Helpful Guide to Lifting Lingo

Your guide to all the jargon from the weights room

Learning the correct way to squat and deadlift with good technique is hard. Trying to learn what good technique is when the fitness world is full of weird terms and abbreviations are even harder!

That’s why I’m working on a fitness and health dictonary that let’s you find a short explanation for a ton of different terms so you can learn the lingo. Starting with strength training, we take a look at ATG, DOMS, GHD and so much more!

Strength training dictionary

Rep: Repetition. Completing the full movement of an exercise.

Sets: One set is a number of reps done in a row with little to no rest in between.

Superset: Alternating between 2 or more exercises for one set at time with little to no rest in between. The two exercise often targets different muscle groups.

Giant set: Same as supersets, but with 3 or more exercises.

Dropset: Performering 1 set of an exercise immediately followed by another set with of the same exercise with a lower weight. Can be repeated until your muscles are basically dead.

Pull movements: When the movement is towards the center of the body while the primary muscle contracts concentrically (think bent over rows, pull ups etc).

Push movements: When the movement is away from the center of the body while the primary muscle contracts concentrically (think bench press, push ups).

Compound moves: Exercises that involve movement over two or more joints (like squats).

Isolation moves: Exercises that involves movement over a single joint (think biceps curls – only moving at the elbow).

Isometric exercise: Static exercise. Exercise where the joint angle and muscle length remains unchanged during contraction (like planks).

Concentric movement: When your muscle shortens while contracting, lifting the weight. Example: lifting the weight up in a bicep curl.

Eccentric movement: When your muscles elongates while contracting – slowing down the weights descend. Example: lowering the weight in a bicep curl (the weight would come down a lot faster if you just let gravity do it’s thing).

Bilateral exercise: The exercise is done on both the left and right side at the same time.

Unilateral exercise: Isolate one side (left or right) at the time (think single leg squat).

ATG: Short for ‘Ass to Grass’ og ‘Ass to Ground’. It’s reaching full range of motion (going as low as possible) in a squat.

Tabata: It’s a form of interval training where you work for 20 seconds, rest for 10 for a total of 3 minutes. Here’s an example.

Air Squat: A bodyweight squat – the air is the only resistance.

GHD: Glute hamstring developer. A piece of exercise equipment. [Video].

Bumper plates: The plates to some barbells are rubberized so they don’t mess up the floor when you drop them. But before you start throwing around with barbells, you might want to check if that’s allowed in your gym.

ROM: Short for Range of motion. It’s the amount of movement you can have at each joint. It’s normally best to perform the full range of motion for the exercise – unless you have a reason to do otherwise (like I have bad knees for squatting).

TUT: Short for Time under Tension. Refers to how long a muscle is under stress during an exercise – the tempo. Written like 2-1-2, which translates to lifting the weight for 2 seconds pause at the top for 1 second, lowering the weight for 2 seconds.

Bulking: Being on a calorie surplus in order to gain muscle mass/weight.

Cutting: Being on a calorie deficit in order to lose fat/weight

Hypertrophy: Increase in muscle size/mass.

Atrophy: A decrease in muscle size/mass (caused by inactivity).

Sarcopenia: muscle loss associated with ageing.


BW: Short for bodyweight, an exercise with no equipment but your own flesh. (While it’s still part of your body. I hope I don’t have to clarify that).

BB: Barbell
DB: Dumbbell
KB: KettleBell
SM: Smith Machine

1RM: 1 Repetition Max, the maximum amount of weight you can lift for 1 rep. 2RM is the max for 2 reps etc.

DOMS: Short for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, the typical muscle soreness you get after a new or extra intense workout.


Crossfit: A strength and conditioning method focusing on functional movements performed at a high intensity.

AMRAP: Short for As many rounds as possible. Often used in crossfit workouts, where you need to do a specific number of reps of one or more exercises as many rounds as possible for time. Here’s an example of an AMRAP workout.

EMOM: Short for Every minute on the minute. Like AMRAP, it’s often used in Crossfit workouts. When a new minute begins, you do an exercise for x reps, then rest until a new minute starts. Here’s an example of an EMOM workout.

WOD: Short for Workout of the Day.

MetCon: Short for Metabolic Condition. And you might have guessed it, it’s a crossfit thing – often AMRAP workouts, always with high intensity to improve conditioning.

Kipping: Often used in relation to pull ups, it’s when you use momentum to complete the rep – opposite strict reps.

Unbroken: When you need to perform all the moves in a row (no resting!) or start over from the beginning in a WOD.

Crossfit Box: That’s what crossfitters call their gym.


BP: Bench Press
BS: Back squat (not BS)
C&J: Clean and jerk

DU: Double Unders
DL: Deadlift
MP: Military Press
OHP: Overhead Press

OHS: Overhead Squat
PP: Push Press
RDL: Romanian Deadlift

SP: Shoulder press
SQ: Squat
TGU: Turkish Get Ups

Powerlifting: A sport that focus on the three lifts: squat, bench press and deadlift and trying to lift as much weight as possible for a single rep.

Olympic Lifting: A sport that focuses on lifting the maximum combined weight for 1 rep in the snatch and clean & jerk. (Am I the only who LOVED watching this at the olympics?)

What surprised you the most? Or what’s missing on the list? Let me know in the comments!

Gif that says lots of love, Anne xx

Since you made it to the end, you may as well follow me on Instagram – but their algorithm is a bit of a mystery, so you can sign up to the newsletter to not miss out on the best posts! ✨

A Super Helpful Guide to Lifting LingoA Super Helpful Guide to Lifting Lingo
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