Bodybuilding 101 – Vocabulary

For newbies in bodybuilding, these terms may be new to you. What is one repetition? What is one-rep max? Here is a list of vocabulary you hear a lot when it comes to bodybuilding.

– Power

Power refers to your muscle strength. It is measured by how much weight you are able to lift.

– 1RM or one-rep max

One-rep max is the heaviest weight you can lift properly for only one repetition. If you can lift the weight more than one time it is certainly not one-rep max.

– Endurance or stamina

Endurance is the muscle ability to withstand the workload you put to it. You have better endurance than your buddy if, for instance, you can do bicep curls twelve times, and your buddy can only do it six times.

– Specificity

Don’t confuse this with the common myth that you have to do sit-ups to burn belly fat. Specificity only applies to weight training to increase strength and muscle size. To increase your chest strength, you train your chest muscles. You train a specific muscle group to increase its strength, endurance, or volume.

– Overload

To increase muscle strength and endurance, you have to work your muscle beyond its ability. Increasing the intensity of exercise can be done in many ways: adding weight, repetitions, reduce rest time between sets, and many more. If you don’t overload your muscle in any ways, it is not going to grow any stronger.

– Repetition

One repetition means one full range of motion of lifting and lowering the weight. For example, one repetition of barbell curl is lifting your forearms towards your chest and lowering it to initial position. That is called one repetition.

– Failure

Failure is a condition when you can no longer lift the weight in your exercise. You reach failure when you cannot perform even one more repetition. If you target yourself to do 10 repetitions in one set of exercise, you have to lift heavy enough such that you reach failure at the tenth repetition.

– Recovery

There are two types of recovery, the first is the recovery that happens when you rest between sets. For example, after performing 10 repetitions in one set of exercise, you rest for one to two minutes before performing another set of exercise. The other type of recovery is the one that happens when you rest between your training days. After working one group of muscles in a training session, you rest the muscle group for 48 hours before training them again.

– Set

Performing one set of exercise means performing a number of repetitions of exercise movement without any break. For example, performing one set of dumbbell curls means performing 10 repetitions of dumbbell curl before putting the it back to the rack.

– Routine

A routine describes the usual exercises you perform in your training session. It refers to what kinds of exercises you do, how many sets per exercise, how many repetitions per exercise, how much rest time between sets, etc. It’s important to modify the routine once in a while to keep your muscle from adapting to the routine.