Gym Lingo: Common Phrases For Athletes to Know

Gym Lingo: Common Phrases For Athletes to Know

Authored by Audrey on July 6, 2020

Ever heard some gym slang and wondered what the heck it meant? Here at Jack City Fitness, we know a lot about gym terminology, and we’d love to share our knowledge with you. Read on to learn about fitness terms and workout slang so you can jump right into any routine! 


For many athletes, the gym is a world unto itself. It contains its own cast of characters, equipment, rules, and even language that is separate from the trappings of daily life, like work or family. 


It can be confusing when your coach or workout buddy suddenly throws unfamiliar gym phrases into casual conversation. That’s completely natural. In an industry as varied and large as the fitness world, there are bound to be countless phrases and titles —  and nobody is just born knowing them. Learning gym words requires dedication and practice, just like the activities themselves. We’ve compiled a few for you to learn about today. 


A Few Gym Terms Every Athlete Should Know

Your coach might use these fitness terms to describe a workout, or you might hear your gym buddies refer to them regarding their own routines. 



  • Intensity


We wanted to cover this term first because you very likely already know this word. Perhaps you’ve referred to a snowstorm, your sibling, or your feelings about something as “intense.” Though it’s a similar concept, “intensity” means something different in the fitness world. You may have heard it used in phrases like “High-Intensity Interval Training.” 


When someone at the gym is talking about “intensity,” they’re referring to how hard they can train. So, a high-intensity workout would mean a workout session that truly pushes your body to its unique limits — safely, of course. 



  • Hypertrophy


This sounds quite technical, but muscular hypertrophy is just a fancy fitness term for “getting swole.” Often just referred to as “hypertrophy,” this refers to the process of your muscle cells growing. It breaks down into two categories: myofibrillar muscular hypertrophy and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.  


The former, myofibrillar, increases things on a performance level, like speed and physical strength, by activating your contractor muscles. Meanwhile, sarcoplasmic muscular hypertrophy impacts the way your body handles and enables your performance — it activates the glycogen that’s stored in your muscles, increasing your endurance and energy levels. 



  • DOMS


DOMS is an acronym for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. This sounds a lot more complicated than it really is; DOMS is basically gym lingo for that achy feeling athletes sometimes feel in their muscles after a big workout. 

“Delayed” is the important word in this phrase. With these muscle aches, you won’t immediately feel any soreness or difference in your body. Instead, your muscles will start aching a day or two after your strenuous gym session. (If you do feel achy right after you leave the gym, that’s Acute Muscle Soreness — we’ll cover that next.) 


Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness runs its course after three days. To ease discomfort, try a warm or icy bath, massaging your muscles, or using some arnica or menthol-based topical analgesic — many athletes find relief this way. 



  • Acute Muscle Soreness


Unlike previously discussed DOMS, Acute Muscle Soreness consists of body aches that occur immediately following a workout. Sometimes the soreness even begins during exercise, and is generally described as a “burning” type of pain. Though painful, this type of muscle soreness doesn’t last for a very long time. 


Some research has suggested that consuming food with anti-inflammatory properties can help athletes find relief from post-workout soreness. (We’ve heard pineapple is a good one…yum!)  We’d recommend having a chat with a nutritional counselor — you’ll be able to work together and find helpful (and delicious) ways to soothe your body. 



  • PR


Get your head out of the corporate world. In the land of fitness, PR doesn’t mean public relations. It means “Personal Record” — as in, beating your own. Generally, when athletes speak about their personal record, they’re referring to weightlifting. So, the highest weight that you’ve ever lifted would be your current PR. 


We’d highly recommend teaming up with a fitness coach. Working with a dedicated coach will help and enable you to safely beat your own PRs on a regular basis! 



  • Spot


This is another term that can confuse gym newbies. You might be minding your own business at the gym when a new workout buddy asks you to spot them. They aren’t asking if you see them! 


In the workout world, spotting someone means standing with a person as they do a form of exercise, generally weightlifting. Asking someone to spot you is a way to ensure that you will perform the exercise properly and safely, as they’ll be observing (and correcting, if necessary) your form and execution.


Pro Tip: It’s good gym etiquette to say “yes” if someone asks you to spot them.



  • ROM


This is gym slang for Range of Motion, which refers to how far a specific body part of yours can safely move during a workout. Some athletes find that learning their ROM is a crucial part of recovery after an injury. 


Range of Motion is actually quite a precise concept: it’s something that can be physically measured using something called a goniometer. Generally, a physical therapist will measure your ROM during a session before working with you on specific exercises to keep yours healthy. 



  • Jack City


If you live in Boise, you’ve probably heard your more athletically-inclined friends refer to Jack City. No, it’s not an up-and-coming neighborhood or district! They’re referring to a fitness center that caters to the modern athlete and all of their needs: Jack City Fitness. 


At Jack City Fitness, the old-fashioned structure of a gym membership has been thrown out the window. Instead of locking our athletes into a high-pressure membership with low results, we’ve created an experience that works with the lives of our visitors. We don’t even have members. When an athlete decides to join the Jack City family, they become partners. 


Once you’ve signed up, you are granted 24/7 access to our gorgeous gym facility, which features a fantastic assortment of the latest fitness equipment. You’ll also have the ability to work with your own coach, join all sorts of classes and activities, create a custom routine, and more. 


Ready to start putting those gym terms to use? Get in touch with our team today. You can shoot us a message or give us a call at 208-999-1111. We’ll invite you over to our Boise gym for a FREE fitness consultation, as well as the opportunity to meet our team and see what we’re all about. We’re excited to get to know you, to help you best those PRs, and cheer for you every step of the way.




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