The Strength Sports Dictionary

Aug 29, 2022
Man doing sled pushes

Strength sports has its own language, one with a ton of acronyms. 
 
It’s not quite as complex as learning French (and definitely easier to spell). But whether you’re new to lifting or an experienced athlete who prefers to lift rather than talk about the lifts, sometimes you’ll run across a term you’ve never heard before. 
 
Enter: The Strength Sports Dictionary. 
 
Here are some words you might not know but will commonly find in the gym, in gym circles, or in lifting content. 
 
There will be a quiz about these terms on Friday. 

1000 Series: REP's most basic power rack collection, which is perfect for beginner strength training. The 1000 Series includes the PR-1050 Short Power Rack, PR-1000 Power Rack, and PR-1100 Power Rack. 

4 post: This refers to the number of uprights (four) on a rack. This is a rack without on-rack weight storage. 

4000 Series: An elevated collection of racks that features 1" hole spacing within the bench zone on uprights and includes the PR-4000 Power Rack, PR-4100 Folding Squat Rack, and SR-4000 Squat Rack.  

5000 Series: The highest-end power rack collection, featuring the PR-5000 Power Rack, Omni Rack, Apollo™ Half Rack, and Oxylus™ Yoke.  

6 post: This is a rack with six uprights. This includes the typical four uprights necessary for a basic rack build plus an extra pair of uprights and set of (4) crossmembers for weight storage on the back of the rack. It has a bigger footprint than a four-post rack.  

1RM: Short for “one-rep max,” referring to the maximum amount of weight you can move in a lift for one single rep. 
 
AMRAP: This stands for “as many reps as possible” -- with good form.  

ATG: 
Used to describe a deep squat, typically below parallel. 
 
Barbell shaft: The main part of the barbell that you grip onto. Shafts can be different diameters and have varying knurling and markings. 
 
Barbell sleeve: The ends of a barbell where you load the weights. Sleeves may rotate or not. 
 
Bearing sleeves: Ball or needle bearings allow for a faster, smoother, quieter barbell spin and have a more reliable turnover for maximum loads, which is a better fit for Olympic-style lifts.  Bearings essentially roll around the sleeve. There are different types of bearings. Read about them here. 
 
Box: Slang for a CrossFit gym. 
 
Bumper plates: Weight plates made from high-density rubber designed to protect the floor, bar, plates, and lifter if they are dropped. 
 
Bushing sleeves: Bushing sleeves are efficient for powerlifting movements, which are slower and more strength focused.  A bushing is a metal sleeve with no moving parts inside. Think of it as one solid piece. Whereas bearing sleeves have inner workings to them, the bushing is typically pressed into the sleeve, and it’s the bushing surface itself that rotates around the shaft. There is friction between the surface of the bushing and the surface of the shaft, so it doesn’t rotate as freely as a bearing. There are different kinds of bushings. Read about them here. 
 
Camber:  The curve or bend in the bar that offsets the weight, creating an unstable, pendulum effect. A cambered bar drops the plates so they sit lower than a straight barbell. 
 
Center knurl: A patch of knurling in the center of a barbell used to help the barbell stick on your back during back squats.  

Cerakote: A special coating (over metals) that is resistant to rust and abrasion. It can come in different colors. 
 
Coating: The finish that covers a barbell that can enhance its durability, reduce rust and scratches, improve feel, and add style/aesthetics. There are a variety of different barbell finishes. Read about them here 

Collars: A clamp/spring clip you put on the sleeve to hold the weight plates in place. 
 
Concentric/eccentric: The two parts of a lift. The concentric refers to the lifting (when you push against the weight to move it) and the eccentric refers to the lowering portion of the move. 
 
Crossmembers: Horizontal, heavy-duty beams bolted onto a power rack that add stability and versatility. 
 
Crumb rubber: Recycled rubber used to make durable bumper plates with softer bounce. Here’s an example of crumb rubber bumper plates. 
 
Deficit: Where the range of motion of a lift is lengthened. For example, a deficit deadlift would be performed standing on an elevated surface, like a weight plate. 
 
DOMS: This stands for “delayed onset muscle soreness,” referring to the soreness you feel one to three days after a tough workout. 

Dual-sided rack: This enables two working stations and the opportunity for lifters to work out simultaneously, maximizing efficiency and productivity. It also enhances the versatility by offering a wide range of configurations and exercise options. 
 
Drop set: When you do an exercise to muscle failure, and then drop the weight and immediately perform it again with less weight. 
 
EMOM: Stands for “every minute on the minute.” Typically, you’ll choose a set number of reps of an exercise to complete within a minute and rest for the rest of the time. When the clock hits the next minute, repeat. 
 
Erg: Erg is short for “ergometer,” which measures the word done on an exercise machine, such as a rower or skier. 
 
FID: FID stands for flat/incline/decline on an adjustable bench. 

Flat Foot Base: A flat foot base adds stability to your rack and allows you to use heavy-duty attachments on the front of your rack without needing to bolt it down to the floor or add front foot extensions.  
 
Half rack: A smaller, more compact version of a power rack. It's still compatible with attachments. You typically work outside of the rack instead of inside of the cage, like with a power rack.  

HIIT: This stands for “high-intensity interval training,” a type of training where you do short periods of intense exercise alternating with short periods of rest. 
 
J-cups: The hooks that attach to a power rack or rig that hold the barbell in place at a certain height when you’re not using it. 
 
Knurling: The crosshatch pattern on the shaft that increases the grip of your hands on the bar. 
 
Knurl markings: Small, smooth marks in the knurling on a barbell to help lifters set up properly for the lift and provide a visual for even hand placement on the barbell. 
 
Knurl style: There are three types of knurl styles: hill, volcano, and mountain. Hill-style knurling is the most passive and won’t dig into your hands. It is good for training bars. Mountain is the most aggressive knurl style. You’ll see this style with powerlifting barbells to provide the best grip for your one-rep maxes. The most common knurl style you’ll see on a lot of REP’s weightlifting and mixed-use bars is volcano. Volcano knurling has a good amount of grip without tearing up your hands. 

Logo Plate Crossmember: A horizontal, steel beam attached to the top rear portion of a power rack, featuring the brand logo. These are both aesthetic and functional, in that they add stability to the rack, but you can also use them for attachments and some exercises.  

Plate loaded: On plate-loaded equipment, you change the weight by adding plates to the weight horns, rather than by moving a pin in the weight stack.  
 
Plyo: Short for “plyometrics,” a type of training that uses force and speed explosively to build power. For example, box jumps. 
 
Powder coating: A coating sprayed onto gym equipment that creates a hard, more durable finish than standard paint. 

Power rack: A metal, cage-like piece of weight-training equipment. Not only can it be used for a wide range of barbell lifts (squats, bench press, rack pulls, etc.), but it also is compatible with tons of accessories for other exercises and safety. A power rack typically consists of a set of (4) uprights, set of (4) crossmembers (pair for a rack with a "flat foot base"), a top crossmember, and a pull-up bar. It's a stable, heavy-duty option.  

Pulley: The wheel component of a functional trainer that the cable runs through.  
 
Pulley ratio: How the weight on a cable machine feels. A 1:1 pulley ratio means 20lbs feels like 20lbs. A 2:1 pulley ratio means 10lbs feels like 10lbs. The 2:1 ratio is ideal for explosive, quicker pulley movements.  

Pull-up barA piece of metal equipment designed to support your weight while you do pull-ups. On a rack, a pull-up bar is typically the top front portion of a power or half rack. Some racks have multiple options so you can decide which grip and challenge is best for you.  

PR or PB: Stands for “personal record” or “personal best.” 
 
RDL: Short for “Romanian deadlift,” a type of deadlift with a straighter leg position, focusing on the hip hinge, without letting the bar touch the floor. Start in the standing position, holding the bar on front of the hips, rather than pulling from the floor, like a regular deadlift. 
 
RIR: A weightlifting term that means “reps in reserve” to help describe how hard a set was. In other words, when you finished the set, how many reps do you think you could have still done? 
 
ROM: Stands for “range of motion.” This refers to completing the exercise to the farthest point of motion that is still beneficial. 
 
RPE: Rate of perceived exertion, a 1-10 scale used to describe how difficult a set felt. 
 
SafetiesPins or straps on a power rack that can catch the bar if you miss a lift. 

Selectorized: On selectorized equipment, you can change the weight using a pin and weight stack, rather than adding plates. 

Shaft: The main part of the barbell that you grip onto. Shafts can be different diameters and have varying knurling and markings.  

Sleeve: The ends of a barbell where you load the weights. Sleeves may rotate or not. 

Sleeve style: The type of sleeve on a barbell.  

Specialty barbell: A barbell with specific features for different functions or fitness goals. This is a tool typically only used to select exercises, whereas a straight barbell is extremely versatile.  

Spin: The rotation of the sleeves on a barbell that can reduce the centrifugal force of the plates rotating on the bar during a lift. Some lifts, like Olympic weightlifting lifts, benefit from a smoother, quicker spin. 

Squat rack/stand: A steel piece of equipment that can support the bar before and after squats, but with fewer "uprights" so it does not create a cage-like space.  

Static rating: The maximum amount of weight a piece of equipment can safely withstand.  

Straight barbell: A long, metal bar that is straight. It’s typically 20kg/45lbs, 4-7' long, has some kind of knurling on the shaft to help with grip, knurl marks to help with hand placement, and slightly thicker sleeves, where you load the weight plates.  

Super set: When you alternate two different exercises one after the other with no break in between, followed by rest. 
 
Tabata: A type of training where you do 20 seconds of an exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, and repeat for eight total rounds (four minutes total). 
 
Tensile strength: In lifting, the tensile strength is the breaking point of a barbell. It’s rated in pounds per square inch (PSI). A higher PSI is stronger. 
 
Tolerance: The measurement of accuracy of a weight. The lower the tolerance, the more accurate the actual weight is to the stated weight. 
 
Trolley: The part of a functional trainer that you can move up and down on the upright. The pulley (wheel) is attached to the trolley.   

 TUT: Short for “time under tension,” referring to how long you put your muscles under resistance. 
 
Uprights: The vertical posts on a power rack. 

Wall-Mounted Rack: A wall-mounted rack or unit is connected to the wall, typically by a stringer (see definition below) for added stability 

Weight storage: A place to organize your weight plates. You can build weight storage space onto your power rack either using an extra pair of uprights; a set of crossmembers and weight storage horns (PR-4000 Power Rack, PR-5000 Power Rack, Omni); or choose a weight storage unit (PR-1000 Power Rack, PR-1100 Power Rack).  

Whip: The bend or oscillation in a barbell that occurs when the bar changes direction quickly, more noticeable when the load is heavy. Whip can create momentum in a lift.  

WOD: An acronym for “workout of the day,” commonly used with CrossFit.