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Workout Lingo – How to Speak Gym Talk – FITNESS GLOSSARY

How to Speak Gym Talk – FITNESS GLOSSARY 🤷‍♀️

Ya bro, I was just finishing up my reverse pyramid and I’m about to drop set till failure using TUT. Tomorrow I’ll be doing some German Volume Training at 60% 1RM, but Thursday let’s do some HITT plyos.

SAY WHAT???!!🤷‍♀️

If you’re new to the fitness game  – you may feel as though you’re learning an entirely new language.

Here is the lingo you need to know so that you can ♫”walk it like I talk it!”♫ and know what the dilly-o is when trying to follow online programs.


Straight Set

In a Straight Set, you would perform each exercise consecutively, while resting in-between each set for approximately 60-90 seconds. Straight set programs are a very effective way to grow your muscles and become stronger. EVERYONE who wants to see “tone” and “definition” should spend some time using straight-set programs.

Circuit Set

Circuit training is done by performing one exercise after another (in a circuit). For example, your program calls for Squats, Rows, Lunges, and Push-ups as your first 4 exercises in your circuit, you would complete your first set of reps for Squats and then immediately move on to performing your 1st set of Rows (you may take time to catch your breath in-between exercises as needed). You would complete this pattern until you reached your last exercise and then take a 60-90 second break, or as needed, to catch your breath. You would then repeat this circuit for multiple sets.

Circuit training is popular as you can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time and since it keeps your heart rate up you are getting in some cardiovascular benefits at the same time. It keeps things interesting and is a fantastic way to help you get lean.


Supersets are when you do two exercises back to back with little to no rest in between them. For example, your program calls for Seated Rows and Push-Ups as the two exercises in your superset. You would perform all the reps for your first set of rows and then immediately (or with enough rest to catch your breath), move on to your first set of push-ups. You would then take a 60 second rest period, or as needed, and repeat the superset for multiple sets. Supersets are another effective way to save time at the gym.

Split Training

Split training divides training sessions by body regions or movement patterns. One example of split training would be solely devoting one full workout day to your upper body, and then the next day you would have an entire workout in which you only train the lower body and abs. You would then repeat each of these workouts a second time during the week, totaling your strength workout sessions for 4 that week. A split routine will let you target one or two muscle groups intensively each day with more sets and heavier weights. This intensity of training may lead to better results for muscle building but does require more days at the gym in order to work the entire body.


A rep is the number of times you perform a specific exercise in a row. Some programs we go for reps and others you’ll see that we just go for however many reps we can within a specified period of time.


A set is the number of cycles of reps that you complete. You’ll notice on some workouts it will say 3-4 sets. We say this because everyone moves at different speeds. Some people will need more rest, and others will need less. We don’t think it’s necessary to keep you in the gym for more than hour, however, if you’re breezing through 3 sets within 35-40 minutes, challenge yourself to a 4th set. If 3 sets are taking you a full 60 minutes, then just stop at 3 sets.

Rest Periods

Since many exercise programs on the market today are circuit training based or HITT training, etc., many people have now grown accustomed to not taking any rest periods between sets or exercises. While for some programs this may be beneficial, with others, you indeed need to take specified rest periods in order to be able to complete the given number of reps in each set. This is just how it works. So enjoy your rest periods – but don’t dillydally. Time your rest periods to minimize the time you spend at the gym and to maximize the stimulus put forth on your muscles. We will specify how much time to take between sets on specific workouts but remember listen to your body. If you need to take a bit more, take it and the same goes for if you need a bit less.

Drop Sets

Drop sets are a way to get in more reps of an exercise at the end of a set in order to help elicit further muscle growth. For example, if you were doing biceps curls with a pair of 15-pound weights and the program called for a “drop set” of your 3rd set, this would mean when you are finished your reps of that 3rd set you would then reduce your weight and keep going until you reach failure. In this example, you would grab onto a pair of 12.5 weights and then you would keep doing biceps curls until you could do no more. If you wanted to drop set again, you would then grab onto a pair of 10-pound dumbbells and keep going at that weight until you could do no more. After that, your arms would feel like jelly. This is would mean you have reached failure. You have to remember that there are a lot of techniques on how to grow muscle. This is just one of the many tools you will have in your toolkit that you’ll be able to utilize.


In life, we see failure as a negative, but in the gym – failure is a positive. Failure just means that you have exercised to a point of muscular failure. Basically, you can no longer produce an adequate force anymore to perform another rep of a given exercise. It’s not necessary to go to “failure” with every single exercise, every single time. Sometimes you will get there, and you can see that as a positive. So if you can’t seem to hit your last rep on a biceps curl on your last set. You’ve hit “failure” – congrats!

% 1RM (rep max)

1 rep max would mean how much weight you could push for just one rep. While some people will train to perform 1 rep max lifts – powerlifters, for example, we won’t be delving into that with you on this program. We will mostly train you at 60-85% of your 1RM which is within the realm of 6-20 reps. % of 1RM can be useful in terms of figuring out how much weight to use on any given exercise by using a 1RM calculator. That being said, simple trial and error will also suffice. As you get more experienced within the gym, figuring out how much weight to use will get easier and easier.

Tempo Training / Time Under Tension (TUT)

Often you will see numbers like this on an exercise program “3-0-3-0”. These numbers are a reference to seconds of speed within the different components of a movement pattern. Let’s say these numbers are referring to a Squat. The first number is referencing the lowing component to the lift or “eccentric” phase of the movement. For this example, this number reflects how many seconds it will take you to lower yourself into the squat.  The second number refers to the bottom or end range of a movement and for how long you should pause for. So, in terms of our example here, we’re not pausing at all. The 3rd number reflects how many seconds it should take you to get back up. This is the lifting phase of the movement or “concentric” phase of the movement pattern – so in our example, it should take you 3 seconds to push yourself back up. The 4th and last number indicates how long you should pause for at the top end of the movement. For our example, you’re not pausing so you’d be going straight back into your squat again. There are lots of different tempos that you can play with, and we’ll give you some specifics within certain programs where we want you to focus on this.

Pyramid & Reverse Pyramid Training

Another training tool that we will touch upon within our program is pyramid training. With pyramid training, you’ll use a weight that you can perform an exercise for about 12-15 reps for. Then on your second set, you’ll increase your load by moving up to the next weight and go for about 10-12 reps. At your next set, you’d move up in weight again and go for about 8-10 reps. You’d continue this pattern for about 4-5 sets, essentially moving towards heavier weights and less reps. This is one way of doing a pyramid. You could also do a reverse pyramid where you would start at your heaviest weight and go for about 6-8 reps, your second set at 12-15 reps and your third set at 20-30 reps. With reverse pyramids, you start with heavy weight and less reps and move towards lighters weight and higher reps.

HITT Training

HITT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training and it’s become extremely popular and trendy. HITT workouts alternate between high intensity and low-intensity exercise. For example, if you sprinted for 30 seconds as hard as you can and then jogged for 60 seconds, this would be an example of HITT training. HITT typically refers to a cardio type of training but since it became a more popularized workout term, it now has a broader meaning and is also used to describe circuit training type of workouts as well.


When you think plyometrics, think jumping. Plyometrics are used to increase power. Power = strength + speed. Squat Jumps, Box Jumps, Lunge Jumps, and Clap Push-Ups are all examples of plyometrics.


Simply put Calisthenics is usually referring to body weight exercises. Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, and Dips are all examples of basic Calisthenics exercises. That being said there is a whole niche of training that specifically focuses on Calisthenics type of training. Have you ever seen dudes in the park doing crazy tricks on the monkey bars? Sometimes when you hear people talking about Calisthenics and this is likely what they’re talking about.

German Volume Training (GVT)

For some reason the name makes it sound scary and hard right? Every time I have ever mentioned it to a client their eyes seem to go very wide. How do 10 sets of 10 reps of squats sound to you with a 4-0-4-0 tempo? Okay, so it does sound a bit scary, but it’s a very effective way to gain strength for big lifts such as squats, deadlifts or bench press. We utilize GVT in Month 1 of LYB WORK. Trust us, you’ll be able to do it and you might even like it!

AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible)

Whether you know it or not you probably have a bit more of a competitive edge than you think. Our time-based goal circuits will bring out the competitive athlete within you. Tie your hair into a bun, put on some gangsta rap and set the timer for 20 minutes. Complete as many sets of your circuit as you can within those 20 minutes before moving on to the next circuit. Some people may finish 3 rounds and for some, maybe up to 6 rounds! We’re all so different so don’t compare yourself to others, just keep trying to beat your own best time.  Comparison is the thief of joy so don’t do that to yourself. Be proud of what your body can do for you.

Tabata Training

Tabata training was created and researched by a Japanese speed skating coached named Irisawa Koichi and Izumi Tabata, Dean of Ritsumeikan University Graduate School of Sport and Health Science. Essentially, this is a form of HITT training where you work for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds before you perform the exercise again. The exact Tabata protocol published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise utilizes one exercise and repeats through this interval 8 times. Since then you’ll hear the term coined mostly just using the interval of 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest. You can try out a version of Tabata in LYB WORK.

Exercise Substitutions

Can’t do a particular exercise because you have an injury or lack the appropriate equipment for it?

That’s A-OK! This is why our creator Micaela was adamant at wanting to film over 600 individual exercises. Be sure to check out our exercise library if you’re ever needing to substitute one exercise for another. We have lots of options for you and we plan to keep growing our database as we go. Just click on the exercise name during the workout which will take you to that exercise’s main page. You’ll see the substitutions on the right hand of the screen. Check out our blog post on exercise substitutions for more information.


Don’t hold your breath when you work out. While that seems like an obvious statement, many people do it by accident. Maintain a normal breathing pattern while exercising and try to exhale upon exertion. For example, inhale as you lower yourself into a squat and exhale as you push to come-up.

Range of Motion (ROM)

Be sure to take your time on each exercise and perform them as closely as possible using the specified techniques and always perform each rep through a full range of motion. We see way too many people at the gym doing half-assed lunges or push-ups because they’re rushing. Slow it down – you don’t have to get through 20 different exercises at every workout in order to have a good workout. There is ALWAYS room to improve your form and technique so don’t stress if you don’t nail things down to perfection the first time. It takes time, practice and patience to get things right. Whenever possible – try to practice your movement patterns in front of a mirror so that you can see if you’re doing them correctly. Don’t crank your neck looking sideways throughout an entire exercise to do so, but glance over when you can and try to self-correct. If you’ve practiced your heart out and certain exercises still aren’t happening with good form, you may just need to spend more time foam rolling, stretching, or working on muscle activation. Tight or inactive muscles play a big role in range of motion so don’t skip out on the warm-up.

Rest Between Workouts

Progress is made during the rest periods between workouts. During the workout, we have caused microtears in our muscles – don’t worry, it sounds bad, but this is what is supposed to happen. We then use our proper nutrition and sleep to repair these micro tears. This is the process of making muscles grow. So, be sure you rest and don’t skip out on the nutrition. You need this trifecta for optimal results. If you don’t sleep much and you’re training a lot, this is counterproductive to your results. Make sleep as much of a priority as your exercise regime and practice good sleep hygiene.

Rest at the end of a Circuit

Take 60-90 seconds of rest at the end of a circuit so that you will have some gas left in you to go again!

Rest Between Exercises

If an exercise doesn’t specify how much time to take between exercises, try to just rest for as little time as needed so that you can go again. For most people, this will be from anywhere between no rest at all, and about 60 seconds. Be sure to time your breaks so that you keep your workouts efficient. Certain workouts require you to take a specified amount of rest in-between exercises and you’ll see that written on our programs.

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