Gym vocabulary

by | Last updated Nov 30, 2023 | English Learning

Ready to embrace the gym life? Learn key English gym vocabulary for a successful and effective workout experience.Certainly! Entering the gym world can be intimidating, especially when faced with fitness jargon. This blog post provides a comprehensive glossary of gym terminology, empowering you to navigate the gym confidently and communicate effectively with trainers and fellow fitness enthusiasts. Ready to unravel the language of the gym? Let’s dive in!

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Gym equipment terminology

You’ll typically have an orientation session with a trainer upon joining a gym. During this session, they’ll guide you through the facility and demonstrate how to use each machine. To help you better grasp this information, here’s a set of equipment-related vocabulary to familiarize yourself with before you begin.

Types of cardio machines

Cardio machines are those which raise your heart rate, allowing for cardiovascular exercise. Popular cardio machines include:

  • Treadmill 
  • Stationary bike 
  • Elliptical trainer
  • Stair climber 
  • Rowing machine 

If you’re a beginner in strength training, weight machines are an ideal choice. These machines provide guidance through each exercise, promoting safe and correct form. They are also user-friendly and straightforward.

Here are some prevalent types of weight machines:

  • Leg press machine 
  • Chest press machine 
  • Lat pulldown machine 
  • Shoulder press machine 
  • Leg extension machine 

Types of free weights

Once you become familiar with weight machines, you might want to explore the free weights zone at the gym. The fitness vocabulary for this area encompasses various types of weights along with the names of other exercise equipment.

  • Dumbbells/barbells/kettlebells 
  • Plates 
  • Battle ropes 
  • Weight bench 

Fitness program and training terminology

If you’re considering joining a gym class or working with a personal trainer, you’ll encounter a variety of new training terms to learn. Below, we’ve explained some common phrases to help you feel more comfortable.

Types of workouts

Various workouts focus on different aspects and may be described in different ways by your trainer or fitness app. Here’s some fundamental workout vocabulary you should be familiar with:

  • Aerobic 
  • HIIT (High-intensity interval training) 
  • Weight/strength training 
  • Circuit training 

Fitness program terminology

When you start a fitness program, your trainer will use gym vocabulary to guide you. These terms include:

  • Warm up 
  • Reps 
  • Sets 
  • Cool down

Now that you’re familiar with the types of machines and movements in the gym, let’s explore more general gym terms. You might have encountered some of these before, as many are used beyond the gym as well.

Common exercise terms for classes

When checking your gym’s schedule, you won’t see activities listed as “stretching” or “cycling.” Instead, gym classes go by different names. Some popular classes include:

  • Pilates 
  • Yoga 
  • Spin class
  • Zumba 
  • CrossFit 

Terms for muscle groups and body parts

We frequently mention muscle groups and body parts when discussing the advantages of various exercises and workouts. For example, upper body workouts focus on the muscles in the upper part of your body, such as the chest, back, shoulders, and arms. Muscles in this area include:

  • Lats 
  • Traps 
  • Pecs 
  • Biceps
  • Triceps 

In contrast, lower-body workouts use these muscles:

  • Quads
  • Glutes 
  • Calves 

Gym and fitness center lingo

In addition to fitness terms and weightlifting jargon, there’s also some gym vocabulary you may not have encountered before. Similar to business abbreviations in the office, gym-goers and staff use special lingo and slang. To feel like part of the crowd, consider learning the following phrases.

Terms for gym and fitness center policies and procedures

When you first sign up at the gym, you may encounter some of the following professional phrases. It’s important to know what these mean to understand what you’re signing up for.

  • Code of conduct 
  • Joining/enrolment fee 
  • Liability waiver 

Gym culture and slang

Looking to make friends at the gym? Here are some phrases commonly used by fellow gym enthusiasts, or that you can use to feel part of the community.

  • Gains/gainz 
  • Shredded 
  • PR/PB 

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Mastering gym vocabulary is a crucial aspect of your fitness journey. Familiarity with the terminology can enhance your training routine, facilitate social interactions, and optimize your workouts. Save this page for future reference and start applying your newfound fitness vocabulary today.


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