Fitness terminology

Fitness Terminology

The following list is common words and terms relating to physical fitness.

Abduction
The term for when a bone moves away from its anatomical position.

Adduction
Returning back to the anatomical position from the abducted position.

Aerobic
(With oxygen) – Where oxygen, supplied by the lungs and pumped by the heart, is carried by the blood to the working muscles. Energy is burnt along with oxygen in great quantities during a workout. To achieve this, large muscle groups have to move in a rhythmical motion over a period of time. Using exercise equipment such as treadmills, bikes, rowers, and ellipticals will all provide an aerobic workout.

Agility
Ability to stop, start, and move the body quickly in different directions.

Agonist
A muscle that is very effective in causing a certain joint movement. Also called the prime mover.

Amino Acid
Compounds containing Nitrogen that form the building blocks of protein

Anaerobic
(Without oxygen) – An activity in which oxygen demands of muscles are so high or so fast that they rely upon an internal metabolic process to take place to supply the energy. Sprinting and weight training with free weights like dumbbells, barbells and weight plates, or on a multi gym are examples of anaerobic training.

Antagonist
A muscle, that causes movement of a joint in the opposite direction of that of the prime mover. (Agonist )

Atrophy
Withering away of a muscle or body part due to lack of use.

Biomechanics
Science concerned with the internal and external forces acting upon a human body and the effects produced by this force.

Blood Pressure
The pressure exerted by the blood on the vessel walls. Two pressures are measured, systolic is the high reading, which is when the heart beats and pumps the blood through the body, and diastolic; the low reading taken when the heart is at rest during beats.

Body Composition
The measure of the various components of the body, especially fat and muscle.

Body Mass Index (BMI)
A calculated measure of the relationship between height and weight. Divide weight in kilograms by height in meters squared.

Bodybuilding
Training to increase the muscular size, definition and symmetry of the body.

Bulking Up
Gaining body weight by adding muscle, body fat, or both.

Capillary
The smallest blood vessel; the link between the end of the arteries and the beginning of the veins.

Cardiac Muscle
A type of involuntary muscle tissue found only in the heart.

Cardiovascular
Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.

Cardiovascular Training
Physical conditioning that strengthens heart and blood vessels

Circuit Training
A sequence of short exercises done one after the other in the same workout. Can be all one type of exercise such as resistance training or a mix of resistance and aerobic.

Concentric Contraction
When muscle contracts and shortens.

Cool Down
A period of light activity, following moderate to heavy exercise.

Cross Training
Where you perform different activities to achieve a total body workout.

Cutting Up
Reducing body fat and water retention to increase muscle definition.

Cardio Training
Exercise designed to improve the health and fitness of the heart and lungs.

Eccentric
The muscle action that occurs when the muscle lengthens.

Endorphins
A group of hormones released during exercise that are similar to morphine. Normally produced by the pituitary gland to help reduce pain, anxiety and stress.

Endurance
The ability of a muscle to produce force continually over a period of time.

Extension
Body part going from a bent to straight position, as in leg extension.

Fast Twitch Fibre
A muscle fibre characterised by fast contraction time, making the fibre suited for high power, explosive activities.

Fixators
Muscles that stabilize a bone during motion. Also known as stabilizers.

Flexion
Bending a body part in contrast to extending, resulting in a decrease in the angle of a joint, as in leg curl.

Flexibility
To move joints through a full range of motion without pain.

Glycogen
The form in which carbohydrates, (glucose), are stored in the muscles and liver.

Hypertrophy
Increase in the size of a tissue or organ due to increased cell size.

Hormone
Chemicals that are secreted by an endocrine gland, that effect cells, organs and tissues in specific ways.

Isokinetic Exercise
An exercise where you have accommodating resistance and controlled speed, resulting in maximum resistance throughout the full range of motion. Some multi gyms and weight machines can offer this.

Isometric Exercise
A muscle contraction where the muscle maintains a constant length and the joints do not move. Pushing against an immovable object such as a wall is an isometric exercise.

Isotonic Exercise
A muscle contraction in which the force of the muscle is greater than the resistance, resulting in the movement of joints and the shortening of the muscle. Lifting free weights is a classic isotonic exercise.

Ligament
Strong tissue that connects the articulating surfaces of bones together.

Muscular Strength
The ability of a muscle to generate the maximum amount of force.

Myosin
A protein involved in muscle contraction.

Overload Principal
Applying a greater load than normal on a muscle to increase its size.

Oxygen Consumption (VO2)
The rate at which oxygen is used during a specific level of an activity; oxygen uptake.

Protein
Substance composed of amino acid chains. It is used for repair and growth of tissue as opposed to fuel for the body.

Pumped
Slang meaning the muscles have been made larger by increasing blood supply to them through exercise.

Repetition (Rep)
One complete movement of an exercise.

Rotation
The movement of a bone along its longitudinal axis.

Set
The performance of a specific number of Reps.

Slow Twitch Fibre
A muscle fibre characterized by slow contraction time making it suited for low-power output activities.

Spotter
A training partner who is there to assist and help prevent injury when performing a specific exercise.

Tachycardia
Heart rate greater than 100 beats per minute at rest. May be seen in people who are out of condition or under stress.

Tendon
Strong tissue, that connects muscle to bone.

Testosterone
A hormone responsible for male sex characteristics.

Warm Up
Physical activity of light to moderate intensity prior to a workout.

Weight Training
Lifting weights, or other forms of resistance training, to develop strength, muscular endurance, and/or muscle size.

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