A single repetition or complete instance of an exercise movement. For
example, a single rep or repetition of a bench press would encompass the
full movement starting with the bar low close to the chest, then pressing
upward to elbow lockout, then returning the bar downward towards the chest.
- forced rep
(1) A single repetition where additional resistance is added to the movement
by a spotter. For example, to add additional resistance to the bench press
movement, the spotter can lean downward on the bar as the lifter is pressing
the bar upward. (2) Another meaning for this term is a rep that is performed
after the point of failure is reached, with spotter assistance.
- skull crusher
A bodybuilding slang term for a flat bench tricep press movement, usually
performed with a straight or E-Z curl bar. The movement gets its name from
the fact that the bar, at the starting point of the movement, is right above
the forehead. Any lower and it would literally rest against the skull. It is
always wise to have a competent spotter handy during this exercise for
- the burn
A slang term for the intense and sometimes mildly painful sensation felt in
a fatigued muscle as a result of lactic acid buildup in the tissue. Lactic
acid is a normal byproduct of energy expenditure by muscle tissue. In
general, a burn is felt when a muscle or muscle group has been thoroughly
used to exhaustion. Most bodybuilders consider this a sign that the given
exercise movement they have been performing is being effective.
- up the rack
When a sequence of sets for a given execise using dumbbells is performed
with higher and higher weight each set, the lifter is said to be working up
the rack, or progressively increasing the weight used.
- down the rack
Similar to up the rack, but the weight is decreased each set rather than
A pyramid combines both up and down the rack schemes in a given exercise.
each set of reps is performed with increasing and then decreasing weight. If
you were to graph the weight, it would have a triangular or pyramid curve.
A group of some number of reps. Reps are packaged into groups called sets.
- giant set
A combined number of reps of several different but related exercise
movements that are grouped together. This is an advanced and very intense
method of training that can maximize muscle involvement. For example, a
lifter could perform 10 reps of squats, and then immediately perform 10 reps
of leg presses. This group of 20 total reps would be called a giant set.
A pump is the tight and bulked-up sensation felt in a muscle group
immediately after training. It is the result of the increased blood and
oxygen flow to the working muscle tissue. It tends to fade within an hour
- golden hour
Many bodybuilders and researchers alike believe that the body can maximally
absorb and utilize additional protein intake most efficiently within an hour
after training. Some research supports this view, other research is
In most American gyms, a plate is regarded to be a 45 pound wide-bore
Olympic plate. In competition, a plate is usually 50 kilograms.
- Olympic vs. Standard
Plates can come in a variety of styles and finishes. Most commercial gyms
use so-called Olympic plates that have a large-diameter center hole or bore.
Most home equipment uses a smaller hole, and is called standard. You cannot
mix and match Olympic and standard sized plates and bars.
- E-Z curl bar
A standard or Olympic sized bar that has dual v-shaped bends in the center,
to permit a variety of hand and wrist rotation positions. It can be used for
bicep curls of all kinds, forearm and wrist training, and tricep presses.
- tricep bar
An Olympic bar that has a square tubular shape and welded-on ears for
supporting Olympic plates. This bar is used exclusively for tricep presses
and allows a much more ergonomic grip of the bar by allowing the hand and
wrist to be aligned properly without stress. This is the recommended bar to
use for maintaining strict form while performing tricep presses.
Complete fatigue. When you perform a given exercise to failure, you have
done as many complete reps in strict form as you can, and can no longer
complete the movement. Failure is the point where the muscle group you are
training is completely fatigued. This is the most critical part of
bodybuilding, for it is this condition of fatigue that initiates the growth
process that ultimately makes the muscle stronger, and bigger.
- strict form (good form)
Strict form means you are performing a given exercise properly, with your
body in the safest and most efficient positions throughout the complete
range of movement for the exercise. Strict form is an important requirement
for getting the best benefits from bodybuilding workouts without excessive
risk of injury. It is important to learn proper form for each bodybuilding
exercise from the very beginning, and to keep learning how to maintain that
form as you increase the weight you are lifting. Sloppy or bad form is
dangerous and can lead to serious injury at worst, and at best merely robs
your workouts of effectiveness.
Cheating is the condition where strict form is ignored in order to get a few
additional reps out of a set. Examples of cheating would be forcibly
swinging the upper body to help complete a standing bicep curl movement.
Cheating is not generally recommended, but in the absence of a spotter and
with a smaller body part like the biceps, it can sometimes let you push
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