Lifting Lingo Made Easy: Learn The Words, Lift The Life

Memorize these important bodybuilding terms, because there is a test at the gym tonight. It's pass/fail, but you have to fail to succeed.

When you enter the wide world of weightlifting, you're bound to hear some whacky words. This list of common bodybuilding terms is by no means exhaustive, but it should help you navigate our site, the gym, and conversations with dudes bigger than you. By the time you're done, other gym-goers will be 'mirin your lifting lingo.

1 / Bodybuilding

This is our primary term. Yes, "bodybuilding" includes competition between behemoths of muscle who compete for lofty titles, but it's also a term for anyone who exercises with an emphasis on aesthetics in addition to strength or functional activity. Bodybuilders come in all shapes and sizes. Some have been at it for decades and others are just getting started.

2 / BodySpace

BodySpace is our social fitness network. Sure, there are dozens of networks out there, but this is the largest online community for fitness. New tools include our workout tracker, FitBoard, BodyBanners and more. We are constantly bulking up BodySpace, so keep coming back! The new features will help you reach your goals.

3 / Bro-Science

Ignorance cloaked as "science" is bro-science, mostly because it's tossed around by guys at the gym who failed chemistry and biology in high school, but picked up a few science-y sounding words in the last issue of Muscular Development. Bro-science is more anecdotal than scientific. It's born in the gym, not in the lab. Even so, bro-science can occasionally be useful. Our advice: Take any sentence that begins, "Hey, bro," with a grain of salt.

4 / Diet

This is the food you eat. It doesn't mean you have to starve yourself. In fact, most bodybuilders eat way more than trendy dieters. There are thousands of nutritional regimens on our site. Each has a goal: fat loss, muscle gain, etc. We prefer to plan meals, rather than lean on a diet. Food is fuel. Start to think of your diet as an asset to your goals, rather than a set of rules designed to torture you.

5 / Dropset

An extended set technique. In a dropset, you start with a weight (say, 25 pounds) and lift to failure, then you grab a lower weight (say, 20 pounds) and lift to failure again, effectively extending the set. You can drop the weight multiple times in a dropset.

6 / Failure

This term does not involve quitting; it refers to "momentary muscular failure," or the point at which you can't lift another rep with proper form. It's important to use a spotter when lifting to failure. By pushing your body to failure, you force it to react, adapt, and grow. Be careful and emphasize strict form.

7 / Forums

The world-renowned discussion boards on The conversation and threads can get pretty gnarly sometimes. Everyone can join the Forums. Have some fun, share tips and tricks, and discuss trends from bodybuilding to politics. Speech, like all our information, is free.

8 / Max

This is the most weight you can lift on an exercise while maintaining perfect form. People often measure one-rep max (1RM), but it's also worthwhile to measure your two-rep max, five-rep max, and so on. Word of advice: Talk about your deadlift 1RM; don't brag about your heaviest dumbbell curl.

9 / 'Mirin

As in, "admiring." Since bodybuilding is guided by aesthetics, bodybuilders constantly ask themselves, and everyone else, if they are admiring their physique. It's also the title of our popular photo motivation feature, We 'Mirin. Indeed we are.

10 / Newb

A newbie, or newb, is simply someone who is new to exercise. This person is typified by a general lack of knowledge in the gym. They are prone to wearing the wrong clothes, lifting with improper form, and being convicted of myriad crimes and fails. Don't fret: Even though they may not remember, at some point, everyone in the industry started as newbs.

11 / Plateau

This geographical term for a landform that rises, then levels off, is applied to fitness goals to define the moment when progress halts. Bodybuilders constantly seek improvement; hell, everyone does. Your body responds to exercise, but it adapts at some point. You can rise above plateaus by increasing your intensity, changing regimens, or a number of other means.

12 / Spot

A spotter helps you during heavy lifts or other movements that require assisted balance. If you can't finish a rep, a spotter helps you rack it safely. If you don't know how to spot someone properly, don't offer your help. If you can't spot him, you could both get hurt.

13 / Superset

This is simply two exercises performed back-to-back with little to no rest. Usually those exercises work opposing (antagonistic) body parts, like biceps and triceps. For example, you'd do a set of dumbbell curls, then immediately perform a set of dips. A compound set is two exercises for the same body part. A giant set is three or more lifts performed back-to-back with minimal rest.

14 / Training Regimen

The program you use to achieve your goals. There are an infinite number of regimens; they are what you make them. Variables include specific lifts, body part split, volume, intensity, frequency, and more. houses thousands of training regimens. Start with our Find a Plan feature to find a full plan specifically for your goals.

15 / Transformation

Initially, transformations occur in physical terms. As you continue to exercise and monitor your dietary intake, your body will transform. You may not lose weight right away, but your body will change shape. Your girth will shrink. Your strength will increase. Eventually, you will notice changes in your psyche, too. This is the final step in a transformation. Your mentality shifts. You start to think positively about your body and your future. Many transformations are so subtle you may not notice them immediately. It's important to continue. People who quit seldom transform. People who find success, no matter how small, tend to continue to even greater transformations.

16 / Work In

As in, "Hey, brah, can I work in?" The guy just wants to use the machine you're on. If your rest periods are long enough, let him in. If not, ask him to wait. If he stomps around like a crybaby, look him in the eye and ask, "You 'mirin, bro?"