Workout Terms

I have created this page to explain some basic exercise terms that I commonly use in my articles so that everyone knows what I’m talking about. However, I have been known to say things in confusing ways, so if you have any further questions feel free to send me an e-mail.

Barbell: Commonly used weightlifting apparatus that is one long bar with weights attached to both sides.

Body weight: This may seem obvious but these are exercises in which you only use your bodyweight as resistance (Pushups, Squats, etc.) Bodyweight exercises can be more challenging if you add a weighted vest or use one less limb, such as a one arm pushup. For the sake of beginners, I wouldn’t worry about this for now.

Cinder Blocks: No these aren’t a special kind of exercise equipment named after the large rectangular bricks used in construction, these are actually those bricks. Cinder blocks work great because they have plenty of grip room, and are fairly heavy for their size. If you don’t have anything else then get some cinder blocks.

Circuit Training: This is the type of workout that I think is most effective for results and time efficiency. Circuit Training means that each exercise is performed in a circuit. So, for example, if your day’s work out consisted of 3 sets of 10 Squats to the chair, 3 sets of 10 Knee Pushups, 3 sets of 10 Bent Over Rows, and 3 sets of 10 Standing Twists, then instead of taking the time to do each 3 sets of 10 of each exercise with 1 minute rest, you would do 10 Squats,10 Pushups, 10 Rows, and then 10 Twists. That would be 1 “Circuit.” After that you perform 2 more circuits, after which you will have completed all of your sets in significantly less time, as well as giving your heart beat a little more of a challenge. Because this type of training does challenge the cardiovascular(heart) system more, it's a good idea to take 3 deep breaths in between each exercise, in the beginning. After about a month, you should be able to just switch to the next exercise right away.

Compound Exercises: These are the exercises that work multiple major muscle groups at one time. For example, the well known Bench Press is a compound exercise because it works the pectoral muscles mostly, but also works the triceps and deltoids.

Dumbbell: Weightlifting apparatus that is one short bar with weights attached to both sides. Is usually not adjustable weights, and two dumbbells are typically used at a time. (One in each arm.)

Isolation Exercises: These are the exercises that only work one major muscle group at a time. These should be considered secondary when forming an exercise program. There are multiple reasons for that, one being that isolating each muscle with one exercise means more time for exercises, which a lot of people just don’t have the time for. The main reason is that most people want muscles that help them in everyday life. Bicep Curls will help you to be strong enough to carry a couch, but your biceps will be useless if you haven’t done any squatting or dead lifting type of movements. In short, compound exercises help the muscles learn to work together and keeps the bigger muscles, as the bigger muscles.

Negative: When you lower a weight, this is called the negative portion of a repetition, or just a “negative.” In some cases, doing only the negative portion of an exercise is not only beneficial but also recommended. This is because lowering a weight is physically easier then lifting a weight.

Positive: When you lift a weight up, this is called the positive portion of a repetition, or just the “positive.”

Proper Breathing Technique: When lifting weights, you want to make sure that you never hold your breath. Typically, breathing in when lowering the weight and breathing out when lifting the weight is the most affective method for healthy lifting. For regular breathing, it's recommended that we should breathe in through our nose and out through our mouth. When lifting, it might work better to try to breath in and out through both your nose and mouth, especially if it’s too hard to get a full breath in with just your nose.

Repetition: One complete up and down performance of an exercise. (One pushup is one repetition.)

Resistance: The opposing force that you actually lift. For example, if you are bench pressing and using a 45 lb barbell, then 45 lbs is the resistance.

Resistance Bands: These are usually one rubber rope with a handle on both ends. Specific instructions are typically included in the box. These can be found anywhere from a sporting goods store to your local Wal-mart. There are different qualities to each. Some have a lot of resistance and some very little. Before you buy a resistance band, make sure that you will be able to move it, check the box to see what kind of resistance it has.

Rest Periods: 1-2 minute rest periods in between sets is usually optimum; however, there are exceptions. A 1-minute rest period means that you might do 5 pushups and then rest for 1 minute and then do 5 more pushups. During this rest period you can walk around and get a drink, and those things are probably best. It’s good to keep good blood flow, especially during a workout and the same goes for hydration.

Sets: To continue with the previous example, if someone does one pushup and then rests for one minute, and then does one more pushup, that is 2 sets of one pushup.

Types of Resistance: There are many types of resistance you can use, but for the purpose of these workouts I will be discussing what I consider to be the 5 most effective as far as time and access go. (1) Body weight, (2) Barbells, (3) Dumbbells, (4) Resistance Bands, and (5) Cinder blocks. (Cinder blocks may sound kind of funny, but they are quite effective. If you don’t want ultra rough hands, get some gloves. Otherwise, be prepared to be tough.) Even though I have numbered these types of resistance, I don’t value one over the other. Some people will like other types more than others, and that is very valuable in choosing your method. It is good do to what you like.

Warm up: Light and easy exercise done before the actual workout for the day. Depending on the workout, warm ups are not always necessary. To know if you need a warm up or not, you need to think about what you have been physically doing for the last hour. If you’ve been sitting at a computer, you’ll probably want to warm up for 2-3 minutes. However, you may have been taking frequent breaks to move around, so 1 minute could work. It just varies; I recommend trying out 2-3 minute warm-ups and monitoring how you feel.

Workout: A grouping of one or more sets and/or exercises, performed to increase physical health. For example, ten pushups could be a workout. Also, 3 sets of 10 pushups could be a workout. Also 10 minutes of running could be a workout.