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Weight Training Terms & Concepts

Online Glossary / Quick Reference

Weight training terms at this quick reference include related terms from the sport sciences, including sport psychology and motor control. The Online Reference provides a variety of definitions and uses.
AbdominalsThe large muscles of the anterior abdominal wall; part of the core group of muscles that move the trunk in flexion, lateral flexion, and rotation. The "abs" include the rectus abdominis, internal obliques, and external obliques.AbductionA joint action where a limb moves away from the midline body.Absolute StrengthThe amount of weight that one can lift.Achilles TendonThe fibrous cord that connects the muscles of the calf to the heel bone.AdductionJoint action where the limb moves toward the body.Adipose TissueConnective tissue composed of fat cells.AerobicRequiring oxygen; exercise that overloads the cardiovascular system to stimulate increases in cardiac output.AgilityThe ability to change directions quickly under control.AgonistA contracting muscle that is resisted or balanced by an opposing muscle; also called prime mover.Amino AcidsThe basic structural unit of proteins.AnabolismThe phase of metabolism where simple substances are synthesized into the complex materials of living tissue; the building of body tissue during recovery.AnaerobicWithout oxygen; describes cell metabolism for brief, high intensity activity (e. G. Weight lifting, sprinting).Anatomic PositionReference point for all joint motions; standing erect with the palm facing forward.AnatomyThe science of the shape and structure of organisms.AntagonistA muscle that acts in opposition, or counterbalances, the action of another muscle.AnteriorThe front of the body (e. G., tibialis anterior is the muscle at the front of the lower leg).BalanceThe ability to maintain stability while stationary or moving.Ballistic StretchingA technique where segments are bounced to achieve a terminal range of motion.BarbellA straight or curved bar typically five to seven feet in length designed to have weights placed on the ends.Bench PressAn exercise performed lying supine on a bench; strengthens the muscles of the arms and chest.Bent RowAn exercise performed by pulling the weights toward the body in the opposite action of the bench press.BiomechanicsThe study of the applications of mechanics to biological systems.Body CompositionThe relative amount of fat and lean body tissue.Body Mass IndexA technique for categorizing people with regard to their degree of body fat.Bumper PlateAn Olympic plate with a rubber padding.Calf MusclesMuscles of the back of the lower leg (i. E., the gastrocnemius and soleus).CardioDescribes cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercise performed on a treadmill, stepper, or bike if in a gym.CardiorespiratoryRelating to the heart and lungs.CardiovascularRelating to the heart and blood vessels.CatabolismMetabolism involving the release of energy and resulting in the breakdown of complex materials within the body.CatchThe Olympic lifting position where the weight is supported at the shoulders or overhead.Center Of GravityThe approximate point at which all parts of the the body are equally distributed.Circuit TrainingA method of physical conditioning where athletes move from one exercise to another, usually at different stations using different equipment.CleanWeightlifting exercise phase performed in Olympic lifting where the bar is lifted from the floor to the shoulders.Clean And JerkThe complete competitive lift used in Olympic lifting where the weight is brought to the shoulders and then to overhead after a brief pause.Clean PullA variation of the clean where the weight is lifted from the floor to full body extension.Closed SkillsSkills that are executed in stable conditions (e. G., shooting a free throw, performing a forward roll).CollarsAny sleeve that prevents plates from slipping off the end of the bar.Components Of FitnessBasic qualities that demonstrate the ability to complete daily tasks with energy, reduce health risks, and participate in a variety of physical activities.Compound Exercisea lift that targets a more than muscle or muscle group over two or more joints; also referred to as a multi-joint exercise (e.g., squat)Concentric Contractiontype of isotonic contraction where a muscle shortens as it develops tension against resistance.Conditioningperforming exercises and activities to prepare the body for more intensive exercise or sports.Continuous Skillstasks with no defined beginning or end (e.g., running, swimming).Coordinationthe ability to use the senses and body parts to perform tasks smoothly, efficiently, and accurately.Core Exercisesa variety of exercises that strengthen the muscles of the trunk. These include abdominal and lower back exercises.Crunchesa modified sit-up having a smaller range of motion that reduces back strain and strengthens the abdominal muscles.Curlan exercise where the bar is raised and lowered using elbow flexion to strengthen the biceps.Curl Upabdominal exercise similar to a sit up, except trunk flexion stops at about the point when the shoulder blades leave the floor (at approximately 35-45 degrees).Dead LiftCompetitive powerlifting exercise where the bar is lifting from the floor to a standing position.Decline PressVariation of the bench press where the bench is angled so the body is inverted at approximately 45 degrees.DeltoidsLarge triangular muscles that cover the shoulder joints.DetrainingThe effect of stopping training activities causing training effects to be reversed.Discrete SkillsBrief tasks with a defined beginning and end (e. G., discus throw, golf swing).DorsiflexionAnkle action where the toes move toward the shin.DumbbellA short bar with fixed or changeable weights mounted on each end.Duration Of ExerciseThe time it takes to perform a primary workout.Dynamic ContractionA muscle contraction where the length of the muscle changes; means the same as isotonic.Dynamic StabilityThe ability to maintain balance while moving.Dynamic StretchingForm of stretching resulting from explosive movements of opposing muscles.DynamometerAn instrument used to measure strength (e. G., hand dynamometer)Eccentric ContractionIsotonic contraction where a muscle extends as it applies force; means the same as negative contraction.EnduranceThe ability to sustain activity; muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle to repeatedly generate submaximal force.Exercise BallA large ball used for exercise that introduces an element of instability to exercise resulting in increased strength in the back and abdominal muscles; also called a Swiss ball or physio ball.Exercise PhysiologyA field of sports medicine that involves the study of the body's response to physical stress.Exercise PrescriptionThe dosage of exercise that effectively promotes fitness.Explosive LiftingWeight training exercises that involve rapidly accelerating movements.ExtensionIncreasing a joint angle; opposite movement of flexion.FailurePerforming repetitions of an exercise until muscles are temporarily unable to complete another repetition.Fast Twitch Muscle FibersA type of muscle cell that uses anaerobic metabolism to create fuel; used in strength and speed activities.Fine Motor SkillsSmall muscle movements, such as those of the fingers.Fitness AssessmentAn initial collection of data to determine a person's level of fitness prior to a performing a training regimen; used as a baseline measure.Fitness EvaluationFollow up measures of fitness after training to determine the effectiveness of a program and make revisions to progress toward goals.Fitness Test ItemA single test that represents a component of fitness. Fitness testing - the process of measuring fitness.FlexibilityThe ability to move through a range of motion at a joint.FlexionIncrease in a joint angle; associated with bending.FlyesWeight training terms for a variety of shoulder joint exercises performed with dumbbells where the arms are partially flexed at the elbow.Force Velocity CurveA graphical representation that implies that velocity of muscle contraction is inversely proportional to the weight load; the heavier the weight, the slower the speed that it is lifted.Free WeightsResistances not guided by mechanical devices (e. G., barbells, dumbbells).FrequencyHow often one trains.Front SquatVariation of the back squat where the bar is supported in the front of the shoulders.Functional AnatomyThe study of body components needed to achieve or perform a human movement or function; provides a basis for analysis of weight training exercises.Functional TrainingTerm used in physical therapy to describe therapeutic activities to prepare patients to perform daily activities. Recently has been applied to training for fitness and sports.GastrocnemiusOne of two calf muscles; causes plantar flexion when the knee is straight.Gender DifferencesDistinctions between males and females that require training adjustments and considerations.General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS)Describes the body's short-term and long-term reactions to stress.Gluteal MusclesThe three muscles that make up the buttocks; the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.GoniometerAn instrument used to measure joint angles.Good MorningsLow back strengthening performed by placing the bar on the shoulders and flexing at the hips with the knees slightly bent.Gross Motor SkillsSkills involving the large muscles of the body.Hack SquatExercise where the bar is lifted from the floor behind the legs to a standing position; or performed on a sled as a leg press on approximately a 45 degree angle.HamstringsThe muscles of the back of the thigh used in knee flexion; they include the biceps femoris (two heads, one on either side of the knee), semitendinosis, and semimembranosis.Hand Eye CoordinationThe ability to coordinate visual cues with motor skills involving the hands.Hang CleanVariation of the clean that involves pulling the bar from above the knees to racking it at the shoulders.Hang SnatchVariation of the snatch that involves pulling the bar from above the knees to catching it overhead.Horizontal AbductionMoving the upper arms away from the chest in the transverse plane (e. G., bent rowing).Horizontal AdductionMoving the upper arms toward the chest in the transverse plane (e. G., bench press).HyperextensionExtending it beyond its neutral anatomic position (e. G., back hyperextensions).HypertrophyAn increase in the mass or girth of a muscle due to training.Incline Bench PressVariation of the bench press performed with the body inclined upward at approximately 45 degrees.Individual DifferencesUnique qualities of people based on many factors (e. G., gender, race, intelligence, fiber types) for which training programs can be personalized.IntensityHow hard training is for an individual; for weight training, how heavy the weight load is.Intensive TrainingA phase of training that is intended to produce greater strength gains using heavier weight loads follow a conditioning period.Interval TrainingRepetitions of high-speed or intensity work followed by periods of rest or low activity (also called HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training).IsokineticMaintaining constant torque or tension as muscles shorten or lengthen; usually produced by exercising on a specially designed machine.Isolation ExerciseAn exercise that targets a single muscle or muscle group using one joint action (e. G., curl).IsometricType of contraction where tension is applied by the length of the muscle remains unchanged.IsotonicType of contraction where tension is applied and the length of the muscle changes; concentric and eccentric contractions are isotonic.JerkThe Olympic lifting phases of the clean and jerk where the bar is rapidly driven and caught overhead.JointThe place at which two bones interact; an articulation.Joint ActionMovement of a joint through a specific range of motion.Joint LaxityLack of stability in a joint; for women, can be induced by pregnancy.KettlebellsFree weights similar to cannonballs with handles used to improve fitness.KilocalorieCommonly known as a calorie. The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of a kilogram of water 1 degree C.KinematicsMovement analysis technique that examines motion without consideration of force; describes movement.KinesiologyThe study of human movement.KineticsMovement analysis technique that examines forces acting on a system (the human body or an object); defines forces causing a movement.KnurledThe roughened sections of a weight lifting bar.KyphosisAn exaggerated thoracic (upper back) curvature.Lat PullsExercise performed on a machine where the bar is pulled down from overhead. Works the latissimus dorsi muscle; hence, the term lat pull. Also called pulldowns or lat pulldowns.Lateral FlexionSide bending at the trunk.Lateral RaisesDumbbell exercises where the arms are raised at the sides of the body in shoulder joint abduction.Lean Body MassTotal body mass minus fat mass; includes muscle, bone, organs, and water.Leg CurlsIsolation exercise performed on a machine to strengthen the hamstrings.Leg ExtensionsIsolation exercise performed on a machine to strengthen the quadriceps.Leg PressCompound exercise performed on a machine to strengthen the lower body; approximately simulates the squat, but varies according to the seat and foot platform angles.LigamentA dense band of connective tissue fibers that connect one bone to another.LordosisAn exaggeration of the lumbar curvature.LumbarPertaining to the lower back.LungesMulti-joint lower body free weight exercise that simulates a stride.MacrocycleUsed in periodization training to describe an annual training cycle.MaxingAttempting a maximum lift for an exercise; 1 repetition maximum, or 1 RM.MedialToward the midline of the body.MesocycleUsed in periodization training that approximates a monthly training phase.MetabolismThe sum of all biochemical processes underway within the human body at a given moment; includes anabolism and catabolism.MicrocycleUsed in periodization training to describe a weekly training cycle.Military PressAn exercise where the weights are lifted from the vicinity of the shoulders to overhead; also called an overhead press.Motor BehaviorAn area of study that stresses the principles of human skilled movements generated at a behavioral level of analysis.Motor ControlAn area of study dealing with the understanding of neural, physical, and behavioral aspects of movement.Motor LearningA set of internal processes associated with practice or experience leading to relatively permanent changes in the capability for motor skill.Motor MemoryThe memory for movement or motor information.Motor ProgramAn abstract representation that results in a coordinated movement sequence.Motor SkillsSkills involving movement.Motor UnitAll of the muscle cells controlled by a single motor neuron.Movement Time (MT)The interval between the beginning and end of a movement.Multi Joint MovementA skill or action involving more than one joint; requires coordination among muscle groups.MuscleA contractile organ composed of muscle tissue, blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues; skeletal muscle is associated with weight training.Muscle FibersMuscle cells. Two primary types are slow twitch (Type I) and fast twitch (Type II).Muscular StrengthThe ability of a muscle to generate force.NegativesLifting using eccentric contractions.Neutralizer MuscleA muscle that cancels out the action of another muscle to permit an action to occur.Olympic LiftingA competitive sport; lifts include the clean and jerk, and snatch.Open SkillsTasks performed in an environment that is generally unpredictable or changing, requiring the athlete to adjust movements according to the demands.OverlearningPracticing a skill beyond what is necessary to learn the skill; used to overcome existing undesirable movement patterns or for rehabilitation.OverloadTo train with heavier weights than one is accustomed to lifting.OvertrainingFailure to get enough rest between training sessions resulting in chronic fatigue or injuries.Passive ExerciseMovement performed without muscular activity, such as vibrating machines, rollers, or human assistance; does not improve fitness or weight loss.Pectoral MusclesChest muscles; includes the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor.PelvisThe bony complex comprised of the coxae, sacrum, and coccyx at the hips.Periodizationtraining in phases, or cycles; sport training strategy characterized by variation in planned phases, or cycles, each with a specific purpose.Phases Of TrainingPeriods of training intended to accomplish a specific purpose toward improving sport performance.PhysiologyThe study of function; considers ways living organisms perform vital functions.PlantarflexionJoint action where the foot moves away from the shin, raising the body onto the balls of the feet.PlyometricsBounding exercises intended to produce powerful, explosive movement for sports.PosteriorThe back of the bodyPowerA combination of strength and speed.Power CleanVariation of the clean phase of the clean and jerk in competitive Olympic lifting where the weight is caught (or racked) in a partial squat position rather than in a full squat.PowerliftingA weightlifting sport. Lifts include the squat, dead lift, and bench press.Preacher BenchInclined support used for bicep curls. Prime mover - main muscle responsible for a movement.Progressive OverloadA gradual, planned increase in training intensity.PronationMovement of the radio-ulnar joint (forearm); the hands are in pronation during push ups.Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)Combines stretching with alternating contracting and relaxing muscles to improve flexibility.PyramidingProgressively increasing the amount of weight lifted for each set while concurrently decreasing the number of repetitions, then doing the reverse. Often performed during an intensive training period.Q AngleThe angle at which the femur (upper leg bone) meets the tibia (lower leg bone). The Q-angle in women (caused by a wider pelvis than in men) is linked to a greater incidence of sports injuries.QuadricepsFour muscles at the front of the upper thigh; include the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius.Rack(a) a structure that supports the weight bar. (b) to catch the bar at the front of the shoulders in the clean.Range Of Motion (ROM)Flexibility at a joint; measured in degrees by a goniometer.Recovery PeriodThe time taken between sets or workouts to allow the body to prepare for the next set or session.Relative StrengthThe amount of weight you can lift compared to your body weight.RepetitionA single complete performance of a movement resistance training - repeatedly performing exercises with weights, machines, or other devices to increase strength.ReversibilityThe loss of training effect as a result of not training or taking too much time between training sessions.R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)An acronym representing a treatment protocol for exercise-related injuries.Roman Chair Sit UpAbdominal exercise where the trunk hyperextends and flexes not usually through a range of more than 90 degrees.RotationTwisting movement around a central axis (e. G., trunk rotations)Rotator CuffTerm for the group of muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint; include the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis.Sagittal PlanePlane that divides the body into left and right portions.Schema TheorySummarizes what is known about varying practice conditions and predicts improvements in skill learning using variations in training, usually within classes of skills.Serial SkillsA group of discrete skill performed in a specific sequence.SetThe number of consecutive repetitions of an exercise performed without resting.Set Point TheoryA theory of weight regulation; asserts that body weight is controlled at a set point by a weight-regulating control center within the brain.ShrugsAn exercise where the shoulder girdle is elevated and depressed to strengthen the upper trapezius muscle.Sit And Reach TestA test of low back and hamstring flexibility.Sit UpsFlexion exercise of the trunk; strengthens the abdominals and hip flexors.Skinfold TestMethod of estimating the percentage of body composition by measuring the thickness of skinfolds at specific sites on the body.SnatchA competitive Olympic lifting exercise where the weight is raised from the floor to overhead in one fluid movement.Snatch PullThe phase of the snatch where the bar is raised from the floor to full body extension.SoleusOne of the two calf muscles that is strengthened and stretched when the knee is in flexion.SpeedThe ability to move quickly; velocity.Speed Accuracy TradeoffThe tendency to substitute accuracy for speed in sport skills.Speed SquatsSquats performed with submaximal weight loads and executed explosively on the ascent.Sport PsychologyA broad field of study that examines factors affecting participation and performance in sports, and applying psychological principles to enhancing athletic performance.SpottingA safety technique whereby a lifter is monitored by another through vigilance, guidance, or assistance to complete an exercise using a heavy weight load.SprainA joint injury caused by ligaments being overstretched beyond their normal capacity.SquatA primary, free weight training exercise for strengthening the lower body.StabilizersMuscles that act in one segment so that a specific movement in an adjacent joint can occur.Starter ProgramA beginning strength fitness program that prepares one for a more intensive strength program.Static StretchingStretching that slowly lengthens a muscle to its end point.Straight Leg Dead LiftExercise where the bar is lifted from the floor the a standing position with the back and legs straight; strengthens to low back, gluteals, and hamstrings.StrainDamage to a muscle that can range from a minor separation of fibers to a complete tear.Strength TrainingThe systematic use of resistances to overload muscles in order to gain strength.Stretch ReflexInvoluntary contraction of a muscle that occurs after rapid stretching.SupinationPosition of the forearm or foot; when the palms face to the front.SupineA body position lying down facing up.Tactical SkillsSkills that give athletes an advantage (e. G., making decisions about technical skills, capitalizing on weaknesses of opponents).Technical SkillsFundamental movements in sports, including speed of contraction of movements.Ten Percent RuleStates that the training intensity or duration should not be increased by more than 10% per week.TendonConnective tissue that connects a muscle to a bone tendonitis: inflammation of a tendon; a common exercise-related injury.Tetanic ContractionSustained contraction of a muscle due to repeated stimulation at a frequency that prevents relaxation.TonnageThe total amount of weight lifting during a workout.Transfer Of LearningThe influence of previously learned skills on the learning and performance of other skills with common elements.TrapeziusA large muscles that spans the back, neck, and shoulders. The upper "traps" are strengthened by shoulder shrugs.TricepsTriceps brachii muscle at the back of the upper arm; strengthened by tricep extensions and the narrow-grip bench press.Upright RowExercise where the bar is lifted vertically from an extended position to the shoulders.UprightsA pair of vertical columns attached to benches with hooks at the top to support barbells.Use And DisuseBiological principle that relates to the reversibility principle in weight training.VariationThe practice of changing exercises, workouts, or training programs within certain ranges to improve performance.Vertical JumpA task used as a test representative of power or explosiveness.VisualizationMental imagery used to reduce stress or improve sport performance.VitaminsSmall molecules that play a key role in growth and metabolism.VolumeNumber of repetitions done in a training regimenWarm UpA brief period of exercise that precedes a workout; intended to elevate muscle temperature, and increase blood flow and range of motion.Weight LiftingThe act of lifting weights; competitive sports involving the lifting of weights.Weight MachineExercise equipment that guides or restricts the direction and extent of a movement.Weight TrainingEmploying resistances to improve fitness or sport performance.
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