If you’re new to working out, you might be confused by all the unfamiliar fitness terms. What’s a circuit, set, or rep? What do acronyms like HIIT or AMRAP mean? Part of gaining confidence in movement is learning the workout terminology that instructors use. If you ever feel at sea among all the exercise jargon, this fitness glossary can help you find your bearings.
Active Recovery: It might be tempting to collapse on your mat after a workout, or spend a Rest Day chilling on the couch, studies show that low-intensity movement can help you beat muscle soreness and fatigue. Active recovery includes cool-down movements after workouts, as well as low-impact movement on rest days like walking, yoga, or stretching.
Agility: Agility training incorporates directional changes and reaction into movement. Working on your agility can improve your balance and coordination, as well as reaction and response time, helping prevent possible injuries.
AMRAP: Or “as many reps as possible,” these high-intensity timed workouts are meant to challenge you! During AMRAP exercises, you aim to complete as many reps as possible, and unlike HIIT exercises, you take minimal rest periods. Make sure that you’re not sacrificing form to get extra reps in, though!
Balance: Balance exercises work muscles in your core and lower body to increase your stability. This is especially important for older adults, in order to prevent falls and injuries.
Bodyweight: Bodyweight exercises involve no weights, bands, or any equipment at all.
Cardio: Cardio-focused workouts use movement in order to increase your heart and respiratory rate. Regular cardio is essential to keeping your heart healthy and can also help prevent disease and strokes, improve cognition, and maintain joint mobility.
Circuit Training: Circuit training uses multiple exercises in a short sequence, with short rests in between each move.
Cool Down: After training, be sure to do some gentle movement and let your heart rate come down. Stretching out your tired muscles will help ease you out of your workout and back into normal life.
Core: Your core includes muscles in your back, abdominals, pelvis, hips, and glutes. It’s way more than just a six-pack! Your core muscles help with balance and stability – it’s essential for functional strength.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS): Have you ever worked out, thought “that wasn’t so bad!” and then woke up the next morning incredibly sore? That’s delayed onset muscle soreness. 12-24 hours after working out, you might feel sore, stiff, weak, and fatigued – usually a sign that you went too hard. Make sure to get in some active recovery and rest your body! Check out our tips for more info on preventing soreness!
Endurance: Endurance (or aerobic) exercise increases your heart and respiratory rate over a longer period of time instead of in short bursts like in HIIT. Running, dancing, soccer, and cycling are all about endurance.
EMOM: “Every Minute On the Minute” workouts give you 60 seconds to complete a certain number of reps — any remaining time is your rest and recovery period. At the start of the next minute, you start moving again!
Fitness Goals: At Just Move, we advocate for goals that focus on achieving concrete actions instead of aesthetics. Instead of moving to lose weight, focus on outcomes that are measurable and in your control. This could be a routine-based goal, such as committing to 5 minutes of stretching a day, or going to the gym 3 days a week for an entire month. Or they can be performance-based, like running a 5k or being able to do a perfect no-hands push-up. Either way, you should be able to break your goal down into achievable milestones so you can see how you’re progressing.
Functional Strength Training: Unlike exercises that tone individual muscles, functional strength training utilizes complex moves with multiple muscle groups, with a goal of making normal, everyday activities easier. It increases core strength and balance so you can struggle less while carrying groceries or cleaning your house.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT workouts consist of short, explosive bouts of intense exercise, interspersed with timed rest periods. When you’re moving, you’re going all-out. This is different than sustained endurance cardio, where you’re trying to maintain a regular pace.
Impact: In workout terminology, high-impact or low-impact exercises reflect the weight and pressure placed on joints. High-impact = more pressure by including jumps or weight-bearing movements, and low-impact = less or no pressure.
Isometric: Isometric movements work your muscles by making you hold a position, such as a plank or squat. They’re a great low-impact exercise for building stability and endurance.
Mobility: Mobility is the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion. Mobility training helps to increase your range of motion, reduce pain and stiffness, and hopefully prevent injury. Just Move has tons of mobility workouts for every level!
Plyometrics: Plyometric exercise employs high-impact, explosive movements like box jumps, jump squats, or split squats for an intense lower-body workout. Because of the higher risk of injury, make sure that your form is perfect before going all-in on a plyo workout!
Reps: Short for “repetition,” reps refers to the number of times you repeat a movement before taking a break or moving on.
Resistance Training: This fitness term is sometimes used interchangeably with strength training, but it refers to exercising your muscles by making them work against an external weight or force. This kind of training can have huge benefits, both physically and mentally, and is easy to incorporate into your movement routine.
Rest Day: Rest days are breaks from your regular routines of cardio/strength/core, so your body can recuperate from the stress that exercise brings. Incorporate some mobility to maximize your rest days and feel good!
Sets: In fitness terms, a set is a previously decided number of reps, or repeated movements. So in one circuit, you might have three sets of movements, each with ten different reps.
Stretch: Movements that elongate a muscle and surrounding tissues. We often incorporate stretches into mobility and active recovery because it can help relax muscles, prevent pain and injuries, and improve range of motion.
Superset: If you’ve been wondering what superset workouts are about (like Rachel’s or Phil’s in our library), supersets chain together two movements without any break in between. Typically supersets target opposing muscle groups, so that one group rests while the other is being worked, cutting down on your total workout time.
Tabata: Tabata is essentially an amped-up HIIT exercise, where you’re moving in shorter intervals, but also taking shorter rest periods – typically 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. It’s designed to push you to your absolute max.
Warm up: An essential part of any workout! Warm-ups are a period of light activity to ease you into working out. They often involve getting your heart rate up to dilate blood vessels and increase oxygen flow to the muscles you’ll be exercising. This can help decrease your chances of injuries.