Workout acronyms and commonly used terms

Workout acronyms and commonly used terms

The human has a way of finding ways to improve the efficiency of different daily tasks. The language and written word are no different. If you have been hanging around different forums on the Internet or been overhearing someone at the gym, or why not taken advice from a personal trainer, you are likely to have heard some acronyms or terms that you might or might not be familiar with. This post will explain and help you out with some workout acronyms and commonly used terms that are used in the workout industry. This is list is far from exhausted (these are the ones that I most frequently stumbled upon) so feel free to add more workout acronyms and terms in the comments. The items in the list are sorted alphabetically.

Excercise related workout acronyms and commonly used terms

AMRAP (As Many Reps as Possible)

You are most likely to see this term when reading a workout program or similar. What it means is to take an exercise and perform it to failure.

AMQRAP (As Many Quality Reps as Possible)

Similar to AMRAP, but with the slight twist that in this case, you will not necessarily go to (muscle) failure but instead until you cannot perform a rep with proper form and concentration.

BMI (Body Mass Index)

BMI is a (debated) way of measuring if an individual is within a healthy weight range. It is based on your height, weight, and gender. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take your body composition into consideration and is therefore sometimes misleading.

CNS (Central Nervous System)

The CNS is a part of your nervous system that is responsible for receiving, coordinating and sending signals to all parts of your body. It consists of your brain and your spinal cord.

EPOC (Excess Post-Excercise Oxygen Consumption)

When you perform an intense workout, such as Tabata, your body will, due to the increased need for oxygen, elevate your metabolic rate and use your caloric intake in what is also referred to as the “After Burn Effect”.

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval training)

As research studies have shown that this type of cardio training is superior compared to other cardio training (when it comes to body composition), HIIT has become more and more popular. The basics if HIIT is that you train very intense for a short time, making your heart rate rise quickly, and recover for a short time, and then repeat the pattern.

MHR (Maximum Heart Rate)

This one doesn’t need an in-depth explanation but is the highest possible heart rate of the person who is training. You can (as a rule of thumb) take the number 220 and then extract your age in years to calculate your MHR.

MMC (Mind Muscle Connection)

This one might seem a little whimsy and hazy but I advise you to try it out the next time you are at the gym. The thought is that the better connection you have between your brain and your muscle the better you can stimulate your muscle during exercise. To achieve this try to do the exercises slowly and very controlled and focus on using the correct muscle or muscles for the exercise that you are doing.

PR (Personal Record)

The best result a trainee has achieved in one exercise. It could be the maximum weight the trainee has managed to bench press or the fastest recorded time in 100 meters dash.

RBE (Repeated-Bout Effect)

This is a phenomenon that occurs when a muscle (or muscles) gets used to an exercise that the person training has been doing a lot. What happens is that the damage to the muscle (that you want when you train) is reduced making the training less “efficient”.  If you felt that you have reached RBE try to switch grips or change the order of the exercises you are doing.

ROM (Range of Motion)

If you are into computers your first thought might be Read Only Memory, but in this case, it stands for Range of Motion and it refers to the movement length between the eccentric and concentric contractions of a given exercise.

TUT (Time Under Tension)

The Time Under Tension is the amount of time that a force (weight) is applied to the muscle (or muscles) that are at work. If you do the exercise slowly with a lot of control you will have a greater TUT than if you were to do the same exercise faster at a higher pace.

Nutrition related workout acronyms and commonly used terms

BCAA (Branch Chained Amino Acids)

Branch Chained Amino Acids consists of leucine, valine, and isoleucine. This subset of amino acids is popular because of the effect they have on muscle growth and recovery time.

EFA (Essential Fatty Acid)

All nutrients that are considered essential are vital for your survival and must be consumed through food or supplements. Essential fatty acids (such as Omega-3 and Omega-6) are needed for various processes in the body. Brain health, immune function, and cell integrity are just a few examples of what the body needs essential fatty acids for.

EAA (Essential Amino Acid)

Histidine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, isoleucine, leucine, and lysine are the names of the nine essential amino acids your body needs. As in the case with EFA, EAAs can only be obtained through food or supplements. Amino acids are necessary for protein synthesis as well as many other functions in your body.

IF (Intermittent Fasting)

Intermittent fasting is a method where you eat during an “eating window” (usually < 8 hours) and then stay away from any caloric intake for the remainder of the day.

PWO (Pre/Post Workout)

PWO is commonly used to explain when to take different supplements.


There is the list. I hope this will help you sort out some of the workout acronyms and commonly used terms, and help you be able to follow along in the workout lingo. If you know any more terms or think that I have forgotten any don’t hesitate to write about it in the comments.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *