Training Terms You Need to Know

Compound Exercises

A lift that stresses two or more body parts, for example, bench presses are a compound movement because they stress the chest {pectorals}, shoulders {front deltoids} and upper arms {triceps}.

Drop Sets

Progressively lighter sets of the same exercises, for example you may do barbell curls with 40kg, followed immediately by 30kg barbell curls and then 20kg barbell curls. In this manner, you boost intensity and pump out many more reps than you could have done with only 40kg.

Forced Reps

To perform additional repetitions with assistance after reaching unassisted failure, spotter should only assist to help keep the weight moving

Sticking Point

Part of a lift that is difficult to get past in order to complete the movement, if you stall just before locking out a bench press, that is your sticking point.


A workout degree of difficulty influenced primarily by effort, pace and weight resistance. Typically, the more sets are pushed to failure and beyond.

Negative Reps

Predominantly the lowering of a weight during a repetition. When performed negatively {a.k.a eccentric} reps, you receive assistance in raising the weight and then resist gravity when slowly lowering it, thus stressing muscles only during the negative portion.

Positive Reps

Predominantly the raising of a weight during a repetition {a.k.a concentric}

Isolation Exercise

A lift that stresses only one body part, for example dumbbell flyes are an isolation exercise because they only work the chest, and leg extensions only work the quads.


Performing a greater volume and or intensity of work than you are capable of recovering from, overtraining leads to stagnation, lethargy, and eventually muscle loss.


A training impasse. You reach a plateau when you cannot increase the weight or reps for an exercise after a certain period of time, for example if you can get 6 reps with 100kg for bent barbell rows, but over the course of 4 weeks or more you can not get 7 reps with that same poundage you have hit a plateau for that exercise. The term can also apply to your entire programme, if you have stopped making noticeable progress for weeks or months your efforts have platued and need to be analysed and altered.


To perform an isolation exercise before a compound exercise for the same body part, utilising this technique, you stress the targeted muscle first and thus make compound lift, also this technique focuses more on the targeted muscle. For example by doing flyes {an isolation lift} before bench presses {compound lift}, your Pec strength is diminished before beginning bench presses, thus during that exercise the Pectorial muscles reach failure, a lot earlier making that muscle work harder.


To place greater training emphasis on a specific body part or exercise, someone with lagging calves may prioritise them by training them first during every workout or increasing the training frequency for that particular body part.

Rest-Pause Training

To rest briefly after reaching failure {in between the set} in order to perform additional repetitions.

Static Contraction

To hold your flexed muscle {s} still against resistance, for example after reaching failure during a set of barbell curls, you could further tax your biceps by holding the weight up and steady for as long as possible.

Super Sets

Two different exercises performed back to back without resting between them.


Three different exercises performed back to back without resting between them.


The quantity of sets and reps performed in a workout.


To utilise greater weights for lower reps for each subsequent set of an exercise, for example, a pyramid may consist of 12 reps 60kg, 10 reps 80kg, 8 reps 100kg, and 6 reps with 120kg. Pyramids could also be used for descending sets.

Working Set

A maximum set, as opposed to a warm-up set or the initial sets of an ascending pyramid. Some trainers count only the final one to two sets of an exercise where they use maximum poundage as working sets, as the preceding sets were performed in anticipation of maximum intensity in the final one{s}

Leave a Reply