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A beginner’s guide to gym slang: Understanding the lingo

Going to the gym for the first time can feel intimidating, especially when you’re surrounded by people who seem to be speaking a different language. Let’s change that! Our beginner’s guide to gym slang will help you understand the most common words and phrases used in fitness culture, so you can feel comfortable and confident in your workout environment.

Common gym terms

New to the fitness world? Let’s talk jargon! Here are some of the most commonly used gym words and their definitions, so you can get familiar with the lingo:

Bench press: A weight training exercise that targets the upper body muscles. It involves pressing a weight (either a barbell or a pair of dumbbells) upwards while lying flat on a weight training bench.

Cardio: Also known as aerobic exercise, cardio refers to any exercise that raises your heart rate and improves your cardiovascular health. Examples of cardio exercises include running, cycling, swimming and skipping. 

Deadlift: A strength training exercise that involves lifting a weighted barbell off the ground toward your hips, and then lowering it back down. As with any exercise, proper form is key to a safe and effective deadlift. 

DOMS: An acronym for “delayed-onset muscle soreness”, DOMS refers to the sore, aching feeling you experience in your muscles a day or two after a workout. DOMS can strike after you perform an intense workout or start a new exercise routine that your body’s not used to.

Drop set: A weight training technique in which you perform an exercise with a heavier weight until failure (meaning, until you’re unable to complete a rep with proper form). Then, you immediately drop to a lighter weight and complete another set until failure, with little to no rest in between sets. 

Free weights: Weights that aren’t connected to any type of gym equipment and that you can freely move around, such as dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells. 

PB: Stands for “personal best”, which refers to an individual’s best performance in a particular exercise. For example, the fastest time you’ve run a 5K or the heaviest weight you can squat. 

Plate: The circular weights (plate-shaped discs) that are used to add resistance to barbells and dumbbells. Plates come in a variety of weights, typically ranging from 2.75 pounds (1.25kg) to 55 pounds (25kg).  

PT: Short for “personal trainer”, a certified fitness professional who can work one-on-one with you to create a specific exercise programme to suit your body, fitness level, training goals and experience.

Pump: A term used to describe the experience of having a strong rush of blood in your muscles after an intense workout, which can temporarily make the muscles look bigger. 

Rep: A short form of “repetition”, which refers to a single performance of an exercise, such as one bicep curl or one push-up. 

Set: A group of reps that are performed consecutively without rest. For example, one set of squats equals 12 reps. 

Spot: To spot someone means to assist them during a weightlifting exercise, typically by being ready to help prevent the weight from falling in case they can’t complete the lift.

David Lloyd Clubs terms

Just joined or thinking about joining David Lloyd Clubs? Welcome! We’ve got activities for all ages and fitness levels. Here’s a quick guide to some of the terms you might hear at your local club:  

Signature classes: We have a huge variety of classic fitness classes to choose from, including HIIT, cycling, yoga, Pilates and more. We also have our Signature classes, designed exclusively for David Lloyd Clubs.

Battlebox: One of our Signature classes. Battlebox is an outdoor circuit training session that combines full-body fitness training, high-energy challenges, teamwork and all-important fresh air. 

BLAZE: Another Signature class. BLAZE is a unique high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that brings together cardio, strength training, boxing and mixed martial arts for the ultimate full-body burn. 

BLAZE and Bubbles: Some of our Clubs offer special BLAZE sessions. After your workout, get to know other members over a free glass of bubbly!

Clubroom: A relaxing dining environment where you can refuel pre- or post-workout. Whether you want to grab a quick shake or sit down for a hearty meal, our food menus have something for everyone to enjoy.

DL Kids: We have lots of activities for our younger members. Our fun and engaging kids’ clubs include everything from sports to crafts and even LEGO sessions.

Swim Stars & Tennis Stars: Our swimming and tennis programmes for children help them learn new skills and make friends along the way!

EGYM: This state-of-the-art technology is making its way into our gyms. EGYM Smart Strength gym equipment is powered by tech that allows you to personalize your workout based on goals and ability.

Spa Retreat: The majority of our clubs have spa facilities, such as saunas and steam rooms. At some clubs, we also have a Spa Retreat, with extra-luxurious facilities to promote total relaxation.

Clubs within the Club: A David Lloyd Club membership isn’t just about fitness — it’s about all aspects of well-being. That’s why our clubs offer a range of social activities, such as book clubs, quizzes and coffee mornings, so you can take care of your emotional well-being by spending time with other people.

Start your fitness journey today

Now that you’re familiar with some of the most common gym slang, you can feel better prepared for your first workout or class. Remember, the most important thing is to focus on your own goals and progress, not what others are doing around you. Every gym buff was once a beginner! 
Ready to get started? Learn more about our David Lloyd Clubs membership options or find your nearest David Lloyd Club now.

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