February 3, 2016

Craft of Strength, Fitness, Health & Sports

The Ultimate Glossary of Strength and Conditioning Terms

glossary of strength training terms man deadlifting

Like any domain, strength training has its own jargon and “secret language” that participants use. For the novice who’s just beginning his journey towards the Sacred Mountain of Gains, the terms that get thrown around in the gym and on strength websites can be confusing and overwhelming. Heck, I’ve been lifting weights for nearly twenty years and I still come across terms in books or online that make me scratch my head.

To help beginner and intermediate lifters alike navigate this world and its accompanying language, I thought it would be helpful to create a one-stop-shop glossary of strength and conditioning terms. I tapped my buddy and online strength coach Matt Reynolds for some guidance on which terms to include and their respective definitions (I also referenced Practical Programming by Mark Rippetoe). The list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s comprehensive enough for the average guy to have a clue of what’s being talked about amongst even the most advanced lifters. I hope you find reading it as useful as I did putting it together.

Programming Terms

These are words and phrases you’ll come across when folks are discussing how to program workouts for their training.

Rep: Abbreviation for “repetition.” The number of times you lift and lower a weight in one set of an exercise. So if you lift the barbell 5 times before you rack it, that’s “5 reps.”

Set: A group of reps. If a workout calls for 3 sets of 10 reps (3×10), you’ll perform 10 reps of the lift. That’s one set. Rest. Perform the second set of 10 reps. Rest. Perform the third set of 10.

Intensity: “How heavy.” How heavy a weight is in comparison to your one-rep max (the maximum amount of weight that you can lift for a given exercise). The heavier the weight, the more intense the lift. Intensity is NOT mental perception of exertion.

Volume: “How much.” There are a few ways to determine volume. The most common way is to look at how many total reps and sets are completed in a given workout. So 5 sets of 10 reps would be high volume compared to 3 sets of 3.

Another way to measure volume is to multiply the number of total reps performed for an exercise by the weight lifted to get your total “tonnage.” So if you squatted 250lbs for 3 sets of 5, your tonnage volume using this method would be 3,750lbs (15 total reps x 250lbs).

Frequency: “How often.” Frequency could refer to how often a movement is trained a week, how often a muscle group is trained a week, or how often a workout is performed a week. E.g., some programs call for you to work out just three times a week, while others call for you to work out every day.

Duration: How long a workout lasts. The time from the beginning of the workout to the end.

Density: “How much work in a set time.” Density is a combination of volume and duration. A one-hour workout with 3 different lifts consisting of 3 sets of 5, plus aerobic conditioning at the end is more dense than an hour-long workout with 2 different lifts consisting of 3 sets of 3, plenty of rest between sets, and no conditioning at the end.

PR: Personal Record — the most weight you’ve ever lifted on a particular lift.

1RM: Abbreviation for “one rep max.” The maximum amount of weight that you can lift for a given exercise. The easiest way to determine your 1RM is to put weight on the bar until you can’t lift it more than once. If you don’t want to do that, you can use different calculators out there that try to predict what your 1RM would be based on the weight you can lift for reps.

Doubles: Sets of two reps.

Triples: Sets of three reps.

Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE): Also known as the Borg Scale. RPE is a subjective (determined by you the lifter) measurement of how hard an exercise feels. The Scale goes from 0-10. For most barbell training, your sets of an exercise should be somewhere between RPE 6 and 10.

Failure: The point in an exercise when your muscles are so fatigued that you can’t perform any more reps with strict form. Sometimes you’ll see workouts telling you “perform a set until failure.” This means you just crank out as many reps as you can (with strict form) on that set. Usually it’s the last set in a workout that you go until failure on.

Sometimes failure occurs even without you wanting it to. If a workout calls for a set of 5, but you can only perform 4, you’ve gone to failure.

AMRAP: Abbreviation for “As many reps as possible.” Similar to saying “go to failure.” In CrossFit, this term can also refer to “As many rounds as possible.”

Forced Reps: Reps that are performed past failure with the assistance of a spotter. For example, let’s say you have a set of 5 to perform on the bench press and you experience failure at rep 3. When your spotter sees that you’re struggling, he’ll grab the bar and lift up on it just enough so you can complete the next two reps before you rack. Those last two reps are forced reps. Some research shows that forced reps may help with short-term progress, but most research says you’re better off avoiding forced reps for long-term gains. In fact, most high-level Olympic and powerlifters avoid forced reps all together.

Stress-Recovery-Adaptation Cycle: The stress-recovery-adaptation cycle is based on the principle outlined in Hans Selye’s “General Adaption Syndrome,” which was originally published in 1936. This principle states that when the body is exposed to stress (or “alarm” as Selye called it) it will begin a biological process to deal with that stress, recover from it, and then adapt and compensate so that it is better prepared to handle it if exposed to the same stressors again.

All programming, progressions, and periodizations are based on this highly valuable principle. Lifters must utilize the principle of “progressive overload,” where we stress the body a bit more each time in order to properly utilize the stress-recovery-adaptation cycle. In short, our training session is the stressor that causes a disruption in homeostasis and an increase in fatigue. We then spend the days following the stressful training session trying to recover through rest, proper nutrition, etc., and then our body adapts (bigger and stronger) and is ready to handle that stressor again, only to be given a heavier stressor the next time, starting the stress-recovery-adaptation cycle all over again.

Novice Lifter: This doesn’t refer to how long you’ve been lifting, but rather how long it takes for you to fully recover and adapt from workout to workout. A novice lifter, according to Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength, is a lifter who can fully recover and adapt from workout to workout within 24-72 hours. What does it mean to fully recover and adapt? It means you can add more weight to your next workout without missing the number of prescribed reps. Basically, every workout is a PR day if you’re a novice lifter.

Being a novice lifter is therefore not about your number of years lifting; if you’re a guy who’s been haphazardly lifting weights for 10 years, but then decided to lift more deliberately and started progressively adding weight to your workouts each week, you’d still be considered a novice, despite your decade of lifting experience. It takes about six to nine months before a novice lifter stops seeing gains at each workout. When that happens he becomes an…

Intermediate Lifter: Instead of recovering and adapting from every workout, this lifter recovers and adapts weekly. In other words, new PRs are set once a week or maybe even once every three weeks. When you’re an intermediate lifter, your programming will change to factor for slower adaptation.

Here’s an interesting catch: Someone who may just be starting out with weight training could be considered an intermediate lifter rather than a novice lifter. These folks are considered “situational intermediate lifters.” They’re intermediate lifters because of their specific situation. Elderly beginning lifters likely won’t be able to fully recover and adapt from every single workout because as you get older, the body’s ability to adapt to physical stress gets slower. Individuals with high-stress jobs or jobs that don’t allow them to sleep enough (like police officers, firefighters, active duty military) will also be considered situational intermediate lifters. These folks, even though they may just be starting out with lifting, will see gains week to week instead of workout to workout.

Advanced Lifter: This lifter recovers and adapts monthly+ (new PRs are accomplished every 1-3 months usually).

Linear Progression: Only one variable (usually intensity or weight) is incrementally increased per workout to invoke the stress-recovery-adaptation response. Usually this is done by adding a little more weight to each lift in each workout. Linear progression is best suited for novice lifters. Starting Strength is a linear progression program for novice lifters.

Periodization: When you can no longer improve from workout to workout (you become an intermediate), you must begin planned programming, which is called periodization. Periodization includes a variation in volume, intensity, and/or frequency, and often involves “loading” and “deloading.”

Loading: A planned period of training time (usually 1-3 weeks) during a periodization program of increased intensity, volume, or frequency, where the body is not allowed to fully recover and fatigue slowly accumulates in the system. This is done so that the body can be stressed enough to elicit an adaptation response, and thus get stronger.

Deloading (or Unloading): A planned period of training time (usually 1-2 weeks) during a periodization program where intensity, volume, or frequency is reduced to allow for the dissipation of accumulated fatigue. This is done so that proper recovery can be accomplished to allow the stress-recovery-adaption cycle to occur.

Over-Reaching: Over-reaching occurs when the stressor is such that it cannot be fully recovered from before the next session, and thus some fatigue accumulates. For example, maybe you go for 225lbs for 3 sets of 5, when you should have done 215lbs. This, in itself, is not a bad thing if the body is given a period of deloading to allow the body to fully recovery and adapt.

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Over-Training: Overtraining occurs when over-reaching stressors occur with too much frequency or with such intensity that the body cannot recover and adapt to better prepare itself for the same stressor. It causes a break in the stress-recovery-adaptation cycle.

Over-training can occur with marathon runners who don’t give themselves enough time to recover between training sessions and races. You also see it crop up with CrossFitters who exercise with such extreme exertion that they live in a constant state of soreness and injuries, or at worst get rhabdomyolysis, where muscle fibers actually die and their contents are released into the bloodstream and filtered by the kidneys. With time and rest, eventually the body can and will recover from these traumatic events, but it will not adapt to a better version of itself, as it should in the normal stress-recovery-adaptation cycle.

Western Periodization: Western periodization is the most popular form of programming for intermediate and early-advanced strength athletes, where the programming moves from higher volume and lower intensity (12-16 weeks out from a competition), to high intensity and lower volume as the competition approaches.

Concurrent Periodization: Multiple physical skills are trained and improved, or at least maintained at the same time. This is most appropriate for intermediate lifters, since strength training alone causes an increase in all physical abilities for a novice lifter.

CrossFit programming is done this way (jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none). Westside Powerlifting has traditionally used a version of this periodization to try and make their competitive powerlifters bigger, stronger, more explosive, and even more conditioned all at the same time. Louie Simmons (the father of modern powerlifting) mistakenly called this “conjugate” programming, but it is far closer to concurrent periodization, since his lifters tried to improve all aspects of lifting in a single training cycle.

Conjugate/Block Periodization: (Advanced Programming/Periodization) Specific blocks of training (usually 2-6 weeks long) are organized to focus on one specific physical skill or attribute while trying to maintain the others. This is most appropriate for advanced lifters and athletes (powerlifters, Olympic weightlifters, collegiate throwers, etc.) Conjugate programming will also almost always use many variations of the lifts or athletic movements while far out from a competition so that general adaptations take place, and then as the competition nears, the exercise selection is dramatically reduced to only the competitive movements to allow specific adaptations to take place. This was the primary style of training for the Soviets in the 1960s-1980s (when they were killing the rest of the world in international sport).

Bulgarian Method/Specificity Training: (Extremely Advanced Programming/Periodization) Only the competition movements and one or two other exercises are used to adapt and get stronger. This style of periodization is named after the Bulgarians because it is the primary method of training that they have used for nearly fifty years to dominate the sport of Olympic weightlifting. The Bulgarians train extremely heavy (high intensity) all the time, with very high frequency (usually 2-4 training sessions per day), relatively low volume per session, and only train the snatch, the clean-and-jerk, the front squat, and the back squat in their training.

Circuit Training: Performing back-to-back-to-back exercises (usually 2-4 different exercises) without rest in between.

Full Body Training: Training the entire body in one session because you view the body as a system rather than a combination of individual parts. For example, in the Starting Strength program, a lifter will perform 3 workouts a week where they will squat, press (or bench press), and pull (deadlift or power clean and usually chin-ups) every single session. You hit both the upper and lower body every single workout. CrossFit also utilizes full body training.

Split Training: With split training, instead of doing lifts that train the entire body in a single workout, you’ll only focus on one major section or movement. The most common split for strength/performance athletes is two lower days per week concentrating on squats and deadlifts (and cleans), and two upper body days concentrating on presses (press, bench press, dips) and upper body pulling (pull-ups, chin-ups, curls, etc.)

Body Part Training: Bodybuilders, whose are focused on aesthetics over performance, will view the body as individual parts and will train one or two of those parts in isolation apart from the rest of the body in a body part split program. With these routines, you may be working out five days a week: Monday: Leg Day; Tuesday: Back Day; Wednesday: Shoulder Day; Thursday: Chest Day; Friday: Tricep and Bicep Day.

Physical Skills Terms

When you train, you can train for a wide variety of physical skills.

Fitness: Originally, fitness was defined as the ability to be fully prepared for the specific tasks you had to perform. Therefore the fitness needed for a baseball player would be different than the fitness needed for a distance runner. However, in today’s culture, CrossFit has really redefined fitness as a measure of one’s ability to perform the “10 general physical skills,” which they define as “cardiorespiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.” Of course, not everyone agrees that these are the primary 10 physical skills, nor that all physical skills are created equal.

Strength: Force produced against an external resistance. When you’re lifting a barbell, the barbell acts as the external resistance. The more force you can produce, the stronger you are. Strength also makes all other physical attributes better.

Power: Power is strength displayed quickly. It’s the ability to contract a large amount of muscle units in a short amount of time. Examples of power in action: standing vertical jump, power clean, sprinting, punching.

Speed: The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement. This could mean running speed or how fast you can perform a repeated movement such as a barbell movement, jump rope, etc.

Agility: Ability to quickly change body position or direction of the body.

Muscular Endurance: Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to sustain repeated contractions against a resistance for an extended period of time. Long-distance and high-rep calisthenics (push-ups, pull-ups) are displays of muscular endurance.

Cardiovascular Endurance (better called Respiratory/Oxidative Efficiency): The ability for your body to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.

Glycolytic Efficiency: The ability of the body to convert glucose into the energy needed for muscle contraction during high intensity exercise, and the ability of your body to efficiently rid itself of lactate/hydrogen (the primary waste product of glycolosis).

Flexibility: Traditionally defined as having complete range of motion around a joint. A more useful definition according to Rippetoe is the “ability of the muscles that limit motion around a joint to extend beyond their resting length.”

Performance vs aesthetics: Two possible goals for training. Performance-based training is focused on improving a specific domain of fitness, be it strength, power, speed, or agility. Little or no attention is paid to how “shredded,” “ripped,” or “jacked” you look. Aesthetic-based training is focused on sculpting the body so that you look good, rather than on whether you’re stronger, faster, or more powerful.

Biomechanics and Kinesiology

When you read descriptions of exercises, writers will often use biomechanical and kinesiological terms to explain how the exercise is done. In this section you’ll find the most common words and phrases you’ll come across in the fitness literature.

Concentric Contraction: The contraction of a muscle, resulting in its shortening. When you curl a dumbbell up towards your body, that’s a concentric contraction. Concentric contractions generally cause less soreness and inflammation than eccentric contractions.

Eccentric (Negative) Contraction: The lengthening of a muscle under load. It’s the contraction that occurs in the “negative” or lowering part of a movement. For example, when you’re lowering the bar to your chest on the bench press, you experience an eccentric contraction in your chest muscles. Eccentric contractions generally cause more soreness and inflammation than concentric contraction, because more muscle damage occurs during this portion of the movement (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

Isometric Contraction: The contraction of a muscle without significant movement. For example, this is what your back, spinal erector muscles, and abdominals do during a squat or deadlift. They are in isometric contraction, but they aren’t the muscles doing the prime moving of the barbell. Really your entire “core” works this way. Its job is to stabilize, via isometric contraction, the entire trunk, so that no energy is lost between the base of support (the floor) and the load (the barbell). Another example, is when bodybuilders “flex” their muscles to force blood into the muscles without actually moving the joints that the muscles cross.

Compound Movement: Exercises or movements that involve more than one joint and muscle group. Squats, deadlift, bench press, shoulder press, power cleans, and pull-ups are examples of compound movements. The benefits of compound movements are many; they give the biggest bang for your buck for the time spent on them, they work the body as a complete system instead of piece-by-piece, they create a major hormonal response that causes your body to produce more testosterone and growth hormone (naturally), and they get you bigger and stronger faster than anything else.

Isolation Movement: Exercises or movements that involve only one joint and a limited number of muscle groups. Examples: bicep curls, leg curls, hamstring curls, tricep extensions. The benefits of isolation movements are almost entirely aesthetic — they cause more sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (muscle storage growth) than heavy compound movements, which can lead to larger-looking muscles, but not necessarily stronger muscles.

Supplemental Exercise: A supplemental exercise is usually a compound exercise performed immediately after the main exercise for the purpose of bolstering, supporting, and improving the main exercise. For example, if bench press is your main exercise for the day, you may then switch to heavy dumbbell bench presses as the supplemental exercise for the day.

Accessory/Auxiliary Exercise: Accessory exercises are performed after the main and supplemental exercises for the purposes of increased work capacity, antagonist muscle training (the opposite of the main muscle groups you just trained), hypertrophy, prehab, rehab, and support of the main lifts. Pull-ups, bicep curls, and ab work are good examples of auxiliary exercises to a barbell strength training program.

Plyometrics: A type of exercise that involves a rapid eccentric contraction followed quickly by explosive concentric contraction. Used to increase power and speed. The most common plyometric exercises involve jumping movements. Usually you jump down from a box and then immediately jump back on top of it over and over again. Care must be taken with plyometrics as they put a lot of stress on the joints and tendons. Other plyometric options are explosive push-ups, and various medicine ball throws.

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Midline: A kinesiology term describing an imaginary line running down the middle of the body, and separating its right and left sides.

Flexion/Extension: Movements that affect the angle between two parts of the body. Flexion movements decrease the angle between a segment and its proximal segment. Bending the elbow towards you in a bicep curl is a flexion movement because the angle between your forearm and bicep decreases. Squatting down is a flexion movement because the angle between your thigh and calf decreases

Extension movements increase the angle between a segment and its proximal segment. Straightening your elbow in a tricep pushdown is extension. Rising up from a squat uses hip and knee extension. Straightening up in a deadlift also uses hip and knee extension. 

Supination/Pronation: Rotation of the foot or forearm so that the sole or palm face anteriorly (supination) or posteriorly (pronation). When your palms face out from your body, they’re in a supine position; when they face in, they’re pronated. “Overhanded” grip on deadlifts or pull-ups is pronation. “Underhanded” grip is supination.

Adduction/Abduction: Abduction and adduction refer to motions that move a structure away from or towards the center of the body.

Abduction occurs when a body part moves away from the midline of the body. When you lift your arms so your hands are level with your shoulders (like you would in lateral raises), that’s abduction of the shoulder. When you shove your knees out in a squat, that’s abduction (the outside muscles of your butt are the primary abductors).

Adduction is when body parts move towards the midline of the body. When you lower your arms down to your side that’s adduction of the shoulder. When your knees come back in as you stand up in a squat, your adductors (the inside of your thigh) are at work.

Internal/External Rotation (Medial/ Lateral): Internal rotation is rotation of an appendage towards the midline of the body. External rotation is rotation away from the midline of the body.

Stretch Reflex: When a muscle is quickly lengthened under load (eccentric phase) a rebound effect takes place much like a quick stretching of a rubber band. This is why it is harder to pull a deadlift from the floor and reset each rep than to touch-and-go each rep after the first rep. It would also be much more difficult to start a bench press or squat from the bottom as opposed to the top.

Physiology

If you want to understand what’s happening in your body when you get stronger, you need a basic understanding of physiology when it comes to how muscles increase in size and strength.

Motor Neuron: Nerve cell that sends signals to muscle fibers to contract. Motor neurons come in different sizes depending on the number and type of muscle fibers they are attached to. One motor neuron could signal just a few muscle fibers or up to thousands to contract.

Muscle Fiber: Long, cylindrical cells that muscles are made up of. Muscle fibers are what give skeletal muscle their striped or striated appearance.

Slow Twitch Fibers: Also known as Type I fibers. Type of muscle fiber that relies on oxygen and fatty acids to produce the energy/ATP (more on that in a bit) necessary to fuel muscle contraction. Slow twitch fibers get their name because the oxygen-dependent process they use to produce ATP takes much longer than the process fast twitch fibers use. Slow twitch fibers are smaller, generate less force, and have less potential for enlargement than fast twitch fibers. Slow twitch fibers, however, are very resistant to fatigue. They are what you use to stand, sit up straight, and walk. Exercise that requires muscular endurance — such as long-distance running — use more slow twitch fibers.  

Fast Twitch Fibers: Also known as Type IIA or Type IIB; when it comes to strength training, the focus is on Type IIB. Type of muscle fiber that relies on glycolysis — or the breakdown of glycogen — to create the ATP necessary to fuel muscle contraction. Fast twitch fibers get their name because glycolysis produces ATP much more quickly than the oxygen-dependent process utilized by slow twitch fibers. Fast twitch fibers are much larger, can generate much more force, and have more potential for enlargement than slow twitch fibers. Fast twitch fibers, however, fatigue much more quickly than slow twitch fibers.

You use fast twitch fibers when you lift heavy weight or when you sprint. Strength training increases the size of fast twitch fibers as well as increases the number of fast twitch fibers in your body, which results in you becoming stronger.

All or None Muscle Principle: A muscle fiber contracts at 100% or it doesn’t contract at all. Therefore, if you lift a weight that is 50% of your max, then 50% of the potential muscle fibers that could be used to lift that weight contract at 100% and the rest of them don’t contract at all. It is not possible for 100% of your muscle fibers to contract at 50% of their power. Therefore, in order to utilize ALL the potential muscle fibers used in lifting a weight, then either 100% of your max must be lifted OR more repetitions must be performed, so that as muscle fibers fatigue, new fresh muscle fibers are called upon to “pick up the slack.”

ATP: Short for adenosine triphospate (3 phosphates). Essentially it’s the scientific word for the body’s energy. It’s an enzyme responsible for transporting energy in all cellular processes in the body. ATP is required for muscle contraction, thus it is an extremely important molecule when it comes to strength. More ATP and better ATP processing = more strength.

ATP can be produced in three ways:

  1. The recycling of previously stored ATP by creatine phosphate (nerd alert: ATP breaks off one of its phosphates in the energy use process, and becomes adenosine diphosphate. Creatine phosphate then comes along and says, “Hey, ADP, you can have my phosphate,” turning it back into ATP to be utilized as energy again, which is another reason why creatine phosphate is awesome)
  2. Through non-oxygen dependent glucose metabolism (glycolysis)
  3. Through oxygen-dependent metabolism that utilizes fatty acids (oxidization).

Muscle cells are always using oxidation of fatty acids to produce ATP during aerobic respiration (we never stop breathing). However, when large amounts of energy are needed, such as in a heavy set of squats, your muscle cells deplete whatever stored ATP you have. To replenish stores, the body uses creatine phosphate to recycle used ATP. If the exercise lasts for more than 10-12 seconds (like when lifting for reps or sprinting), muscle cells begin to use glycolysis (or the burning of glycogen/carbs) to replenish ATP stores. Glycolysis produces large amounts of ATP, but the buildup of hydrogen ions and lactate make it unsustainable over long periods of time. This is why high intensity exercise can only last for a few minutes before the intensity must reduce and ATP must go back to being primarily produced by the oxidative (aerobic) system.

Strength training both increases the ability of muscle cells to store more ATP as well as increases the number of enzymes necessary for ATP production.

Creatine Phosphate: Molecule that helps in recycling used ATP. When your body has more creatine in the bloodstream, muscle cells can produce ATP faster. You can get creatine naturally from your diet, but supplementing with a creatine powder is much more efficient, and is dirt cheap.

Anaerobic Energy System: The chemical and metabolic pathways within cells that don’t rely on oxygen to create ATP. The recycling of stored ATP by creatine and glycolysis are both anaerobic energy systems. Fast twitch muscle fibers rely primarily on anaerobic energy systems.

Aerobic Energy System: The chemical and metabolic pathways within cells that rely on oxygen to create ATP. The aerobic energy system depends upon the presence of oxygen and uses fatty acids as well as the products of glycolysis to create ATP. Aerobic energy systems provide ATP at a much slower rate than anaerobic energy systems. Slow twitch muscle fibers rely primarily on aerobic energy systems.

Lactate: Product of glycolysis. Can be used by aerobic energy systems to produce more ATP through a process called the Krebs cycle.

Oxidation: The production of energy from the respiratory process in which you breathe in oxygen and that oxygen then “oxidizes” (or reacts with) fatty acids. This is the same process you see when you cut an avocado in half (avocados are primarily fat) and leave it on the counter. It turns brown through the process of oxidization. The exact same thing happens in our body through the cardio-respiratory process.

Fatty Acids: Lipids used to create ATP when muscle cells are using aerobic energy systems. Oxygen must be present in order for muscle cells to convert fatty acids into ATP.

Glycolosis: The metabolic pathway that converts glucose into ATP/energy.

Glycogen: Glucose stored in your muscles. Used during glycolosis to create ATP/energy.

Hypertrophy: An increase in muscle size.

Atrophy: A decrease in muscle size.

Anabolism: The metabolic process that leads to molecular growth. In the case of strength training, when your body is in an anabolic state, muscle mass increases. Hormones such as testosterone, insulin, and human growth hormone all contribute to anabolism. Strength training, proper diet, and rest help create the positive hormonal adaptation necessary for your body to be in an anabolic state.

Catabolism: The metabolic process that leads to molecular breakdown. In the case of strength training, when your body is chronically in a catabolic state, muscle mass decreases. Hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline contribute to catabolism. Catabolism isn’t entirely bad. In fact, anabolism requires catabolism. Catabolism only becomes a problem when it’s chronic due to over-stress. 

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS): Muscular soreness due to inflammation that often occurs 1-2 days after unaccustomed exercise. Also called “myositis.”

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