Colloquial Gym Terminology

Language is an amazing human creation. It can be descriptive and colorful. It can be controversial and powerful. The way people manipulate language is a subject of intense academic interest. Sociologically, subcultures do develop their own terms. This can be used to describe material and non-material culture. The case for dedicated gym goer or hardcore fitness enthusiast  there is colloquial terminology. Just like any other subculture the diction becomes unique. Understanding some terms are useful when reading printed or digital materials regarding the fitness subculture. The terms used can either refer to particular anatomy of the muscular structure, exercises, or other objects.

Newbie-  A neophyte to a particular sport or gym atmosphere.


“This woman is a newbie ,because it is her first time lifting weights.”

Guns- This refers to the arms. This sometimes can be called “gun show.”


“Cindy developed massive guns by doing bicep curls.”

Jacked- Describes a person who is very muscular.

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“Lenda Murray was immensely jacked as a Ms.Olympia competitor.”

Ripped- Having low body fat which allows muscles to display definition.


Women must be ripped if they are to show each muscle group for competition.

Pecs– A  word that is short for pectorals.


“Alina  has massive pecs she developed on her chest.”

Lats- A term that refers to latissimus dorsi muscle.


“The poses that involves the back is called the lat spread.”

Cardio–  This is short for cardiovascular exercise. This is exercise that focuses on the heart and lungs.


“Using a treadmill is excellent cardio.”

Glutes- Another name for the gluteus maximus


“These women have some well developed glutes.”

Pump- When the muscles are full of water and glycogen that it appears huge and will feel hard.


“Denise is so pumped her muscles are huge.”

Swole– Extremely muscular in body type.


“This woman is so swole she makes Stallone look thin.”

Traps- This is short for trapezius muscles.


“That woman has some powerful looking traps.”

Iron Maiden–  A term used for the strong women who challenge the idea women should not lift .


“This iron maiden has no problem carrying groceries.”

Mirror Muscles–  Muscles that are seen in the mirror which include pecs, deltoids,  and biceps.


“The mirror muscles include the muscles of the upper body.”

Vascular–  When body fat is so low veins are visible.


“Sarah is so vascular her circulatory system looks visible.”

Gym Rat-  A person who is  constantly training at the gym.


“Megan is such a gym rat she basically lives there.”

Gym Kryptonite– A woman so beautiful she distracts men in the gym from their workouts .


“Alicia Harris can be real gym krytonite when she is wearing that.”

Lifting-  A shorter word for weightlifting, resistance training, or strength training.


“More women are becoming involved in lifting to lose weight.”

DOMS- This means delayed onset muscle soreness. This occurs after intense workouts, but is a sign the body is building itself up much stronger.


“I have DOMS because I ache all over.”

Juice-  A slang term for anabolic steroids.


“Juice can improve performance, but without genetics or training it will have little effect .”

Machines-  Equipment that is not barbells or weights. They are designed for training a specific body part.


“This machine is great for the upper body, but will not work the lower body.”

Fbb- An abbreviation for female bodybuilder.


“Monique Jones is one of the best fbbs on the competitive circuit.”

These are just a few examples of gym terminology. There is a vast body of words and terms not listed here, but they will be described later on. When examining a subcultural environment it is best to understand the language and mores of the group. This does in an ethnographic sense reveals behaviors and practices that outsiders would not be familiar with.

Colloquial Gym Terminology

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