To be effective at navigating your way through your training it helps to have a little background knowledge of some of the basic terminology. This is important not only so that that you know what each of the terms means but more importantly it can help you to understand when they best apply to you and your training.


Too often I hear people use terms interchangeably and see using specific training systems and methods of training when they do not really apply to the individual goals of the person or group, and in some cases can be counterproductive or even dangerous to individuals who lack technique, training experience or who have underlying medical conditions.


Too often we can be drawn into a method of training because it is fashionable, but I would have you ask yourself whether it is in line with you achieving your goals?  Ask yourself is this right for me now, is it appropriate for where I am in my training and is it appropriate based on my level of ability and experience? 


REPS/TIME Short for repetition is defined, as the number of times, an exercise is performed for a single set. An example of this would be if you performed 10 squats then stopping, that would be referred to as 10 reps.


In some cases, however, when you are looking to create more of what's called a catabolic effect i.e. to burn calories you might choose to perform an exercise for time rather than a set number of repetitions, this may also be applied when performing circuits or bodyweight based exercise where there is no external resistance used.


SET Refers to the number of cycles/times you repeat a set number of repetitions. An example of this would be if you performed that 10 squats then recovered, and then performed it again, recovered and then again you would have completed 3 sets of 10 reps. 


RECOVERY TIME Refers to the duration of time between a set or exercise. The recovery time is normally predetermined based on the desired training effect, training intensity and the fitness level of the individual or group.


Another benefit of using a predetermined time is that it allows you to effectively measure and assess when your fitness is improving. Also When referring to the FITT principle the time you give between sets also allows you to easily increase or decrease the intensity of the exercise by allowing more or less time between a set or exercise (refer to the FITT Principle).


The FITT Principle is a set of variables that can be used as a way of either putting together, progressing or tracking the effectiveness of a training program based on the predetermined goal you have set. The FITT principle stands for frequency, intensity, time and type.

FREQUENCY Is a key component of the FITT principle when looking to produce the desired training effect. It refers to the number of times a muscle, exercise, session or activity is performed in a given training week, program or training cycle. The reason frequency plays such an important roll in any training goal is that for a training effect or progression to occur there needs to be a certain amount of overload (stress) applied.  There are a number of factors which will predetermine how much frequency you will require. These are your training goal, your training availability (i.e. how much time can you give to achieving your goal), your training experience and most importantly ability to recover. As you progress through your training your capacity to train should increase along with performance and the speed of which you recover.  When applying this to your training it is important to understand that your training frequency will be directly connected to your ability to recover and your ability to perform at the desired training intensity which leads onto the next letter of the FITT principle.

INTENSITY refers to how hard you are going to be training or performing in a given session, activity or training cycle. When establishing what intensity you should be performing at first look back to your original goals and then refer to the next section on Training.


This will give you a good starting point in regards to the number of reps/time/distance and sets you should be performing in a given session.  It will then be a matter of assessing your ongoing progress through the use of a training log and determining whether more or less intensity is required. Like frequency, the intensity you will require will be based on a number of factors including your training goals, experience and your ability to recover from the given work. It is important To ensure adequate recovery by varying the intensity of your training as training beyond your ability to recover will result in an increased risk of injury, a drop off in performance and compromising of overall results.

TIME can refer to a number of variables which can affect the overall training intensity and results. These include; the duration of your training session, how long you spend on a given exercise or muscle group, time under tension, how long you recover between sets and even how much time you have available to train in a given week. In today's world and with the busy lives we lead it is important to maximise our time focusing on the quality of work done over quantity which leads onto the final letter of the FITT principle.


TYPE simply Refers to the exercise performed or the activity undertaken. This is important as the right exercise selection will be essential when looking to maximise your results wiles also reducing the risk of injury. Factors that should be taken into account when selecting the right exercise and activity for you may include accessibility, experience levels and whether the exercise performed or the activity undertaken is in lines with your overall goal.

MUSCULAR HYPERTROPHY Simply refers to an increase in the size of muscle tissue (Anabolic).  


MUSCULAR ATROPHY Is the opposite of muscular hypertrophy and refers to a decreased size of muscle tissue (Catabolic).


DOMS (DELAYED ONSET OF MUSCLE SORENESS) Is a term often used by fitness professionals to describing the pain/discomfort/tightness felt after strenuous exercise. DOMS is very common for beginners and individuals who are new to an exercise program. This discomfort gradually increases and is commonly felt 24hr to 48hr after a hard training session where the muscles are stressed beyond what they are commonly used to. 


MUSCULAR HYPERTROPHY Simply refers to an increase in the size of muscle tissue (Anabolic).  


MUSCULAR ATROPHY Is the opposite of muscular hypertrophy and refers to a decreased size of muscle tissue (Catabolic).


DOMS (DELAYED ONSET OF MUSCLE SORENESS) Is a term often used by fitness professionals to describing the pain/discomfort/tightness felt after strenuous exercise. DOMS is very common for beginners and individuals who are new to an exercise program. This discomfort gradually increases and is commonly felt 24hr to 48hr after a hard training session where the muscles are stressed beyond what they are commonly used to. 


STRENGTH Can be defined as the ability of a muscle or muscle group to produce tension and force to overcoming or manipulate a resistance placed upon it. When looking to train pure strength or maximal strength in training this often means training within a rep range between 1 and 6, 1 being your 1 rep max the absolute maximum amount of resistance you can lift or overcome.


POWER Refers to the ability to maximum contract a muscle in an explosive manner as fast a possible over a given distance. To perform exercises focused on developing power you should be looking to perform between 1-6 reps, 1 being your 1 rep max or the ability for you to maximally contract a muscle in an explosive manner.   


MUSCULAR HYPERTROPHY Refers to the building of lean muscle tissue and bulk.


MUSCULAR ENDURANCE Is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to produce tension and force contracting repeatedly against a resistance over an extended period whiles resisting fatigue. To train Endurance you will want to be looking to perform around 15 to 20+ reps or for an extended period of time. 


AGILITY A combination of balance, speed, strength and coordination refers to the ability to explosively start, decelerate accelerate and change direction at speed whilst maintaining body position and control with little or no change in speed.


BALANCE Is the ability to control the position of the body either in a static position or when in motion (dynamic balance).


MULTIPLE SET A multiple-set is simply defined as performing a given exercise for anything more than one set followed by a structured recovery period in between. An example of this would be 3 sets of 12 squats with a 1min recovery period between each set.


STRAIGHT SET Refers to training where you perform one exercise for a consecutive number of a set before moving onto the next exercise. Straight sets are commonly used when training strength in any of the three major lifts squats, bench or deadlift as more time is normally required to be able to match the exercise demands. An example of this would be a 5 X 5 Deadlift where you would perform 5 reps of a deadlift recover and repeat for a total of 5 sets before moving onto the rest of your session.


CIRCUIT TRAINING Is commonly performed where one exercise is completed one after the other in a circuit fashion. Training can include a mixture of bodyweight and resistance based exercises focused on developing one or more of the following components of fitness including strength, power, agility endurance and balance. Sessions often are fast paced with little to no recovery between each exercise. 


INTERVAL TRAINING Commonly a sports specific form of training involves performing a combination of high and low-intensity exercise followed by set recovery periods. Unlike Circuit training it normally involves working on a single aspect of performance such as running, cycling or rowing.  There are a number of variations of interval training used which include Fartlek, Sprint and High-Intensity Interval Training.


HITT (HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING) Refers to a form of Interval training where an exercise or a set of exercises are performed with maximal effort followed by a bout of an exercise of low to moderate intensity. One form of HITT training is known as Tabata where you perform a total of 8 rounds at maximal effort with each round being 20 seconds work/10 seconds of recovery. 


PYRAMID TRAINING There are 3 variations of pyramid training. A full or complete pyramid is when several sets (odd number-3, 5 or 7 sets) of an exercise are performed with structured rest between sets, but the load is adjusted between each set. The upward phase increases the load (lowering repetitions) with each set and the downward phase decreases load (increasing repetitions) with each set­the middle set being the peak of the pyramid. A planned rest time is given between every set to allow suitable recovery. 


ASCENDING PYRAMID: As above but only the increasing load phases are performed with the final set being the peak of the pyramid with the greatest load (fewest repetitions). 


DESCENDING PYRAMID: As above but only the decreasing load phases are performed with the first set being the greatest load {lowest repetitions). 


Can be performed with one or two exercises for 4 or more sets working in an ascending and descending fashion. So when ascending the weight increases as the reps should decrease and when descending the weight should go down and the reps should go up.


LADDER Are often mistaken for Pyramid training. The main difference between the two involves the manipulation of resistance used in each set. When performing a ladder unlike a Pyramid the resistance should stay the same with the number of reps either increasing with each set in an ascending ladder or reversed in a descending ladder.


MATRIX SET where the total repetitions are multiples of three (6, 9, 12, 15, 18 & 21) and the set is broken down into 3 phases based on a range of movement -inner range, outer range and full range. All the repetitions in each range of movement must be performed without stopping. The common example is biceps curls for 21 repetitions with 7 reps performed in each range. 21's is common but is not the only way to carry out matrix as other repetitions ranges are acceptable providing the same number of reps is carried out in each range e.g. 5 + 5 + 5 or 4 + 4 + 4.

SUPER SETTING There are 2 types of superset these are referred to an Agonist and Antagonist Superset. A superset is basically two exercises performed back to back with no rest period until the full number of repetitions has been carried out on both exercises. 


AGONIST SUPERSET: The two exercises target the same primary muscles e.g. Bench press and standing cable press.


ANTAGONIST SUPERSET: The two exercises target opposing muscle groups e.g. Bench press and wide cable row. 


Fitness Equipments
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Below are a few commonly used abbreviations you will see in our training programs and what there meaning. 


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