Quick Fitness Glossary

Grammar and Lingo

This post contains a rundown of common terms and abbreviations you see pop up in regards to fitness.


The term skinnyfat was originally coined to describe people in the normal BMI range <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_mass_index>  (healthy weight) but who had blood markers showing an increased risk for many diseases and health conditions similar to those people in the obese BMI range. So, while they appeared healthy on the outside, upon closer inspection they were not. The technical term is metabolically obese, normal-weight individuals <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9588440> . In recent years this term has been co-opted to become a euphemism among people with fat in the wrong places and not enough muscle in the right places. In this instance, it’s a fairly meaningless term and does not change the applicability of any information or section in this FAQ.

Cutting or going on ‘a cut’. Short for ‘cutting fat’. It’s a term used when one’s goal is to diet down to reveal the underlying muscle and obtain more definition. It requires a caloric deficit.

Bulking or going on ‘a bulk’ is a term used when gaining weight, particularly muscle. In this instance, a caloric surplus is used in conjuntion with lifting to add muscle (and often some unavoidable fat) to the body.



Sets and Reps:
A ‘rep‘ is a repetition: one complete movement of the exercise you are performing

A ‘set‘ is a number of reps performed in a row, with little or no rest in between

Sets of repetitions are typically recorded as sets x reps. For example, “3×10 pull-ups” means 3 sets of 10 reps.

When recording or posting your sets and repetitions, make sure to include the weight of the bar (typically 45lbs / 20kg). The weight of the bar is always included.

Regimen or Protocol – A systematic plan or regular course of action


1RM: One Rep Max — The maximum amount of weight that can be lifted one time.
5K: A running race which covers 5 kilometers
5RM: Five Rep Max — The maximum amount of weight that can be lifted five reps.
ATG: Ass-To-Grass/Ground — A squat performed low enough that the trainee is nearly sitting on the ground
BB: Barbell
BCAA: Branched-chain Amino Acid — BCAA’s are a supplement combination of three amino acids (building blocks of protein): leucine, isoleucine and valine. Generally taken to promote the increase in lean mass and reduce recovery time.
BF%: Bodyfat Percentage — The amount of a person’s body weight that is due to body fat. This is the preferable metric compared to Body Mass Index (BMI) but is more difficult to determine.
BP: Bench press / blood pressure
BW: Body Weight
C25K: Couch To 5K — A nine week beginner’s running program that is designed to help an untrained enthusiast gradually become capable of running a 5K.
CC: Convict Conditioning — A popular bodyweight strength training program.
DB: Dumbbell
DL: Deadlift — A movement that entails bending over and picking up a weight from the floor using the legs and back.
DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness — The muscular aches felt in the 1-3 days that follow a strenuous workout.
EC Stack: Ephedrine and Caffeine — A combination of these two stimulants used to increase the rate at which body fat is burned.
ECA Stack: Ephedrine, Caffeine, and Aspirin — The addition of Aspirin to an EC Stack is thought to reduce some of the cons of the stimulants
GHR: Glute Ham Raise — An exercise used to strength the hamstrings.
KB: Kettlebell. See /r/kettlebell <http://www.reddit.com/r/kettlebell> .
Keto: Ketogenic diet — An ultra low-carb/high fat diet designed to keep the body in a status of ketosis.
IF: Intermittent Fasting — A dieting technique of purposely not eating for 12-24 hours (depending on the specific plan) at a time.
NSV: Non-scale victory. An achievement showing that you have worked toward a goal that doesn’t involve the number on the scale.
OHP: Overhead Press — A type of barbell movement that entails lifting the bar from shoulder height to over one’s head.
Paleo: Paleolithic diet — A nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various human species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era.
PL: PowerLifter/PowerLifting – A sport that focuses on the development of maximum strength in three types of weight lifting events: squat, bench press, and deadlift.
PPL: Push Pull Legs — A kind of weight lifting split where upper body push exercises are done one day (e.g. bench press), upper body pull exercises are down the next (e.g. rows) and leg work is done the following (e.g. squats). Typically done in a ABCABCx fashion, where ‘x’ is a rest day.
PR: Personal Record — The maximal amount of weight an individual has ever personally lifted.
PWO: Pre- or Post-workout — Generally used in the context of food or a beverage consumed immediately before or after a workout, “PWO shake, PWO meal, etc.” Clarifcation as to whether the user means pre- or post- will need to be sought if their use is unclear.
RDL: Romanian Deadlift — A variant of the deadlift performed with little to no knee bend in order to target the hamstrings and lower back muscles.
ROM: Range of Motion – the distance a joint or limb travels during exercise.
SS: Starting Strength — A beginner barbell program by Mark Rippetoe
SL5x5: Strong Lifts 5×5 — A beginner barbell program by Mehdi Hadim
TGU: Turkish Get-Up — An exercise common in the kettlebell community

Bodyweight/Gymnastics Terms
BL: Back Lever
FL: Front Lever
GHR: Glute Ham Raise
HBP: Hollow Back Press
HSPU: Handstand Push Up
HeSPU: Headstand Push Up
HS: Handstand
HMSH: Horizontal Middle Split Hold
MU: Muscle Up
MN: Manna
MSH: Middle Split Hold
OAC: One Arm Chin up
OAP: One Arm Pull up
PL: Planche
PHS: Press Handstand (not related to HSPU)
PPPU: Psuedo Planche Pushup
RC: Rope Climb
RTO: Rings Turned Out
SAS: Straight Arm Strength
SL: Side Lever
SPL: Straddle Planche
RMU: Reverse Muscle Up aka Pelican
SLS: Single Leg Squat


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