MH Explains 17 Common Gym Slang Terms

As if keeping up with your workout schedule wasn’t hard enough already!
Gym Terms

The gym can be an intimidating place, especially for newcomers. Being surrounded by people who look supremely fit, lifting more weights than you could ever imagine lifting yourself and using complicated machines to work out doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. In such a situation, it really doesn’t help when your trainer (or your companions in the gym) start throwing around ‘gym jargon’ that pretty much flies over your head.

Why not start doing your homework right here, as MH India provides this helpful guide to gym slang?


This term sounds technical, but is really just an acronym for ‘As Many Reps As Possible’. It’s usually reserved for when you reach the last set of any exercise and wish to give your muscles the hardest workout you can.

2. Bulking

The process of adding muscle mass to one’s body by increasing one’s calorie intake and strength training.

3. Circuit

One complete ‘round’, i.e.performing a group of exercises with minimal rest in between each exercise is referred to as a circuit.

4. Cutting

The opposite of bulking, cutting refers to the process of reducing body fat content while retaining maximum muscle mass. Don’t worry, there are no sharp objects involved—just a lot of honest hard work.




It stands for ‘Delayed Onset of Muscular Soreness’, referring to the ache you feel days after you’ve finished your workout.

6. Dropsets

The term ‘dropsets’ refers to extended sets that you add on to the end of an exercise, reducing or ‘dropping’ the weight you’re using until you can’t lift that reduced weight any more.

7. Failure

A word with negative connotations associated with it everywhere but the gym—failure simply means performing the exercise until you can’t go on.

8. Form

You might have heard the term used in sports, but in this case form is the act of performing an exercise the appropriate way.


Don’t worry, there’s no hitting involved. It stands for High Intensity Interval Training, exercises that alternate between high intensity periods (where you give everything you’ve got) and low intensity recovery periods (where you can reduce your speed and catch your breath).

10. Isolation

This doesn’t mean when you’re alone at the gym—isolation refers to a technique that focuses work on an individual muscle without secondary or assisting muscle groups being involved, maximising muscle definition in the process.

11. PB

Peanut Butter? Not quite. It stands for Personal Best, i.e. the most weight you’ve ever lifted or the most reps you’ve done for a particular exercise.

12. Progressive Overload

This means the act of gradually adding more resistance during training exercises as your strength increases.

13. Reps

Short for repetitions, reps refers to the number of times you perform an exercise within a particular set.



14. Rest

Think less nap, more strategic break—rest periods are the time you allow your muscles to recover between each rep or each set.



15. Sets

A certain number of reps of an exercise comprise one set, and you perform a certain number of sets for each exercise.

16. Supersets

The act of performing two or more exercises with no rest periods between them.

17. Spot

When someone asks you for a spot, they’re asking you to assist them in their workout as they attempt an exercise with a weight they’re not sure they can handle on their own. It’s your job as a ‘spotter’ to make sure they maintain correct form and lend a helping hand when needed.



So there you have it guys, all you need to know to speak fluent ‘gym’!

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