Fitness Glossary


Did your trainer use some weird word that you’ve never heard? Are you reading a fitness related article and need some help with a word? Find it here.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: A

Abdomen The region between the diphragm and the pelvis.

Abduction Movement away from the midline of the body.

Absolute Strength The maximum force that an individual’s muscle can produce is a single voluntary effort, regardless of the rate of force production.

Acceleration Increasing the speed of an entity. This rate of change of velocity is with respect to time.

Achilles The tendon which attaches the gastrocnemius and soleus to the calcaneus. Or the mythological half man/half god partially responsible for the destruction of Troy, who met his death from an arrow that pierced this tendon, hence the name.

Acupuncture A practice, mainly in Chinese medicine, of attempting to cure illness or relieve pain by puncturing specific areas of the skin with needles.

Acute Sharp, brief or severe; the initial stage of an injury

Adaptation To adjust to new conditions.

Adduction Movement toward the midline of the body

Adhesion The abnormal union of body tissues that are normally separate (similar to scar tissue).

Adipose Fatty substance

Aerobic Exercise Exercise occurring in the presence of molecular oxygen in the muscle.

Afferent Neuron
Sensory neuron carrying information toward the central nervous system.

Agility Ability to start, stop, and move the body quickly in different directions.

Agonist A muscle responsible for producing a specific movement through concentric muscle action.

Amino Acids A class of organic compounds that are building blocks from which protein is constructed.

Anaerobic Exercise Exercise occurring in the absence of molecular oxygen in the muscle.

Anatomical Position Standing erect, with feet and palms facing forward.

Anconeus A small muscle situated behind and below the elbow joint that extends the forearm.

Androgen A steroid hormone, such as testosterone or androsterone, that controls the development and maintenance of male characteristics.

Anorexia Athletica The use of excessive exercise to lose weight, normally associated with anorexia nervosa.

Anorexia Nervosa An eating disorder characterized by a distorted body image in which a person does not take in a sufficient amount of calories, eventually causing harm to the body, and sometimes death.

Antagonist A muscle responsible for opposing the concentric muscle action of the agonist.

Anterior Anatomical term referring to the front of the body; toward the front.

Anterior Tilt Pelvic tilt in which the vertical plane through the anterior-superior spines is anterior to the vertical plane through the symphysis pubis.

Appendage A structure attached to the body such as the upper and lower extremities.

Arthritis Inflammation of a joint usually accompanied by pain, swelling and stiffness.

Articulation A joint or connection of bones.

ASIS Anterior Superior Iliac Spine.

Assessments In relation to exercise, a series of tests or screens to identify specific weaknesses or sub-par areas in a given individual’s ability to perform in life and also in a sport environment. These screenings may involve nutritional factors, lifestyle patters and biomechanical screens (flexibility, posture, static/dynamic movements, etc.).

Asymmetrical Imbalance of the arrangement of parts. Not moving together.

Atrophy Wasting away of any part, organ, tissue or cell.

Autogenic Inhibition Inhibition of the muscle spindle resulting from the Golgi tendon organ stimulation.

Autonomous Not controlled by others or by outside forces; existing and functioning independently.

Avascular Without blood supply.

Avulsion Forceful tearing away of any part of a structure

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: B

Balance A state of equilibrium; a state in which the body has the ability to move in space in a controlled movement.

Ballistic Fast, dynamic movement.

Basal Energy Expenditure (BEE) The amount of energy required to maintain the body’s normal metabolic activity (i.e., respiration, maintenance of body temperature etc).

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) The rate at which the body expends energy while at rest.

Beta Blockers Medications used to treat hypertension by blocking the affects of adrenaline in the heart. For more on this, type in “Beta Blockers” in the search field of the Content Library.

Bilateral With reference to two sides.

Biomechanical Efficiency How effectively the body operates with absolute minimal stress on specific joints.

Biomechanics The study of motion and the effects of forces relative to the body.

Blood Pressure The pressure of the circulating blood against the walls of the blood vessels.

Body Composition Refers to the ratio of an individual’s percentage of fatty mass to fat free tissue mass (I.E. muscle, organs, etc.).

Body Mass Index (BMI) A measurement of the relative percentages of fat and muscle mass in the human body, in which weight in kilograms is divided by height in meters and the result used as an index of obesity.

Body Part Exercises Exercises that isolate a particular muscle group.

Body Slings Four groups – or “slings” – of muscles otherwise known as “the outer unit” (Deep Longitudinal Sling, Anterior Oblique Sling, Posterior Oblique Sling, Lateral Sling). The groups of muscles are generally referred to as the body’s global muscular system and are made up of primarily phasic or movement-based muscles/fibers which are prone to early fatigue as compared to the tonic or stability based muscles/fibers of the inner unit.

BOSU An acronym that stands for BOth Sides Up, the BOSU is flat on one side, domed on the other and is used in balance training.

Bursa A synovial-lined sac existing between tendons and bone, muscle and muscles and any other site in which movement of structure occurs.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: C

Cadence The measure or beat of a movement.

Calcium Deposit Abnormal hardening of soft tissue, usually from repeated injury.

Calisthenics Gymnastic exercises designed to develop physical health and vigor, usually performed with little or no equipment.

Calorie A measurement of energy; The amount of energy required to raise 1 kg of water 1° C.

Calorimeter An apparatus for measuring the heat generated by a chemical reaction, change of state or formation of a solution.

Cardiovascular Relating to the heart and blood vessels.

Carpal Tunnel The space or “tunnel” between the wrist’s flexor retinaculum and carpal bones. Through this tunnel pass the median nerve and the flexor tendons of the fingers.

Catabolism The phase of metabolism in which energy is produced by the breakdown of complex molecules, such as starches, proteins and fats, into simpler ones.

Catecholamines A group of amines derived from catechol (include epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine). They play important physiological roles as neurotransmitters and hormones.

Center of Gravity The center of a body’s mass. In the human body it is the point, which all parts are in balance with one another. It is dependant on current position in space, anatomical structure, gender, habitual standing posture and if external weights are being held.

Cervical Of or relating to a neck or a cervix.

Chest The trunk of the body from the neck to the abdomen.

Circadian Relating to or exhibiting approximately 24-hour periodicity.

Circuit Training Selected exercises or activities performed in sequence.

Circumduction The circular movement of a limb such that the distal end of the limb delineates an arc.

Closed Chain Exercise Exercise that occurs when the distal segment of an extremity is fixed, such as performing a squat, in which the foot is in contact with the ground

Closed Skill One for which the environment is stable and predictable.

Collagen The protein of connective tissue fibers.

Combined Movement Any combination of exercises or trunk movements.

Concentric Action (shortening) The force produced by the muscle is greater than the external resistance; therefore the muscle is able to shorten while overcoming the external load.

Connective Tissue The body’s supporting framework of tissue consisting of strands of collagen, elastic fibers between muscles and around muscle groups and blood vessels, and simple cells.

Contraindication A factor (as a symptom or condition) that makes a particular treatment or procedure inadvisable.

Contralateral “the opposite side”. For example, “the right latissimus dorsi works in conjunction with the “contralateral” – or left – gluteus maximus.

Coordination Harmonious interaction; synchronizing movement.

Core Training Refers to the progressive training of the musculature of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex.

Cramp A spasmodic contraction of one or many muscles.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: D

Davis’ Law Davis’s Law states: that soft tissue models along the line of stress. Which when applied means we must train in optimal alignment and never allow gross compensations or the tissues will adapt to the potential detrimental forces placed upon the human movement system (kinetic chain)

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) The gradually increasing discomfort that occurs between 24 and 48 hours after activity; a common result of physical activity that stresses the muscle tissue beyond what it is accustomed to.

Diastasis 1) The abnormal separation of parts (adjacent bones/joints, abdominal muscles during pregnancy); 2) Cardiac diastole’s “resting phase,” which occurres between the filling of the ventricle and the beginning of atrial cantraction.

Diastolic Blood Pressure Pressure exerted by the blood on the vessel walls when the heart is in its filling stage (bottom number).

Disc Bulge A slight outpouching of a spinal disc (soft cushions that rest between the bones of the spine or vertebrae), sometimes causing the disc to push against the spinal cord and spinal nerves.

Discectomy A partial or complete excision/removal of an intervertebral disk. Also called discotomy.

Distal Further away from the center or median line.

Diuretics A class of drugs used to force the kidney to excrete more sodium than usual. Increased sodium excretion causes increased water excretion, so urine volume increases. The increased sodium excretion is desirable and therapeutic in disorders causing abnormal fluid retention due to heart failure, liver failure or kidney failure.

Dorsal Pertaining to the back.

Dorsiflexion The act of bending backward (of the body or a body part). Commonly referring to the turning upward of the foot or toes or of the hand or fingers.

Dynamic Exercise Joint movement resulting from muscular exertion (concentric or eccentric).

Dynamic Posture The maintenance of the instantaneous axis or rotation of any/all working joints.

Dynamic Resting Heart Rate Term used to describe your resting heart rate as it changes daily (it is not fixed).

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: E

Eccentric (lengthening) Action The force produced by the muscle is less than the external resistance, but it is causing the joint movement to occur more slowly than the external resistance would tend to make the limb move.

Edema Accumulation of abnormal quantities of fluid in spaces between the cells of the body. Edema can accumulate in almost any location in the body.

Efferent Neuron Conducts impulses from the CNS to the effector organ (E.G., motor neuron).

Efficacy The power to produce and effect.

Electrolyte A charged ion capable of conducting electrical current when in solutions.

Electromyography (EMG) The recording of the electrical activity in the muscle; recording the action potentials in a muscle or in muscle groups.

Endocrine Of or relating to endocrine glands and/or the hormones produced/secreted by them.

Endomysium The thin connective tissue surrounding each muscle cell.

Endorphins Any of a group of peptide hormones that bind to opiate receptors and are found mainly in the brain. Endorphins reduce the sensation of pain and affect emotions.

Endurance The act, quality or power of withstanding hardship or stress.

Energy The potential or capacity to do work.

Epimysium The sheath of fibrous connective tissue surrounding a muscle.

EPOC Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption

Ergogenic Increasing the body’s ability for physical and/or mental work via eliminating the element of fatigue.

Extension Dorsal exercises or trunk movements performed in the sagittal plane around a transverse axis.

External Rotation Rotation occurring away from midline; outward rotation.

Extrinsic Originating from the exterior or outside of an entity (i.e., an organ, muscle or the body itself). Example: A dumbbell is an extrinsic load.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: F

Fartlek A training technique, used especially among runners, consisting of bursts of intense effort loosely alternating with less strenuous activity.

Fascia A general term for a layer or layers of loose or dense fibrous connective tissue.

Fatigue The failure of one or more neuromuscular energy system (phosphagen, glycolysis and oxidative systems) caused by repetitive movements (exercising) of given intensities (intrinsic/extrinsic resistance loads, etc.) over specific durations.

Feldenkrais Method A method of working with the body devised by Mosh Feldenkrais. Its main goal is to deprogram poor postural and muscular habits and reprogram new patterns by gentle awareness through movement exercises.

Fibromyalgia A syndrome characterized by chronic pain in the muscles and soft tissues surrounding joints, fatigue, and tenderness at specific sites in the body.

Fibrosis The formation of fibrous tissue. Fibrosis is caused by many factors including injury, inflammation and infection.

Fitness The state or condition of being physically sound and healthy, especially as the result of exercise and proper nutrition.

Fixed Pattern Many machines are designed with a predictable pattern of movement. Equipment manufacturers have designed machines to aid in the fixation of a joint(s), allowing for precise placement of limbs. This ensures that a target area is maximally recruited while other muscles remain largely dormant.

Flexibility The ability to readily adapt to changes in position or alignment; may be expressed as normal limited, or excessive.

Flexion Anterior exercises or trunk movements performed in the sagittal plane around a transverse axis.

Force An interaction between two objects in the form of a push or pull that may or may not produce motion.

Force Couple Two forces that are equal in magnitude and, acting in opposite directions, produce rotation about an axis.

Free Weights Free weights are often used without the constraint that machines offer. For example, in the standing position, the entire body supports the free weight, taxing a larger portion of the body’s musculature than would a traditional machine. The movement of a free weight is constrained by the lifter rather than a machine, requiring muscles to work in stabilization as well as in motion. The lifting of free weights involves a more natural coordination of several muscle groups.

Frequency Rate of reoccurrence.

Frontal Plane A plane parallel to the long axis of the body and perpendicular to the sagittal plane that separates the body into front and back portions.

Function (n) The acts or operations expected of a person or thing. The ability of a living being to perform in a given way or capacity for a particular kind of performance. (v) To perform the duties or function of. To serve, operate, and perform.

Functional Carry-over The skill obtained through training that can be carried over to every day function.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: G

Gait A particular way or manner of moving on foot; locomotion (i.e., walk, jog, run).

Gait Cycle Sometimes called the walking cycle, gait cycle begins when one foot contacts the ground and ends when that foot contacts the ground again. To put it another way, the gait cycle extends from heel strike to heel strike of one leg and includes the stance and swing phases of both legs.

Generalized Motor Programs Consists of a stored pattern, which can be modulated slightly when the program is executed. This allows the movement to be adjusted to meet the altered environmental demands.

Genu Valgum Knock-knees, defined as a medial displacement of the distal end of the distal bone in the joint.

Glucophage An antidiabetic drug (trade name Glucophage) prescribed to treat Type II diabetes.

Glycemia The presence of glucose in the blood.

Golgi Tendon Organ A sensory organ. Located within the tendon, that has a high threshold and responds to (great amounts of tension on the tendon), regardless if produced by stretch or contraction. When stimulated, will cause an inhibition of the agonist and facilitation of the antagonist.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: H

Heavy Weight Training Usually defined (changes based on author) as a load used to enhance strength adaptation or neural adaptation. The repetition for strength are usually set @ 6-8 using 3-4 sets @ 75-85% intensity. Neural adaptations utilize 1-5 repetitions for 4-8 sets @ 85-100% intensity.

Hernia The protrusion or rupture of an organ or other bodily structure through the wall of the cavity that normally contains it.

High Blood Pressure A common disorder in which blood pressure remains abnormally high (a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or greater). Also known as hypertension.

Homeostasis Maintenance of the body’s internal environment.

Humerus The long bone of the arm or forelimb, extending from the shoulder to the elbow.

Hyper A prefix meaning above, beyond or excessive. For example, hypertonic means tone beyond normal.

Hyperkyphosis Excessive curvature of the thoracic (middle) spine.

Hyperlordosis Excessive curvature of the lumbar (lower) spine and/or cervical spine.

Hypertrophy Excessive growth of an organ and/or tissues.

Hypo A prefix meaning below or deficient. For example, hypotonic means tone below normal.

Hypokinetic Lack of physical activity.

Hyponatremia Lower than normal level of sodium in the blood, which can be associated with dehydration.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: I

Ileostomy The construction of an artificial opening from the ileum (lowest division of the small intestine) through the abdominal wall, permitting drainage of the contents of the small intestine.

Iliotibial Band (IT Band) The thick band of fascia that runs down the lateral length of the upper leg from the iliac crest to the lateral condyle of the tibia.

Imbalance The state or condition of lacking balance. (Muscular imbalances) Lack of balance and normal symmetry within the muscular system.

Impingement An encroachment on the space occupied by soft tissue, such as nerve or muscle. In this text, impingement refers to nerve irritation (i.e., from pressure or friction) associated with muscles.

In Vitro Functioning outside of, or detached from the body.

In Vivo Functioning within the body.

Innervation Nerve stimulation of a muscle.

Innominate Having no name; nameless; anonymous.

Internal Rotation Rotation occurring toward midline; movement inward.

Interstitial The space within an organ.

Interval Training Athletic training that alternates between two different activities, such as walking and jogging, or between two different rates of speed.

Inversion A dislocation of a bodily structure in which it is turned partially or wholly inside out OR the condition (as of the foot) of being turned or rotated inward.

Ipsilateral The same side of the body.

Ischaemic Localized tissue anemia due to obstruction of the inflow of arterial blood (as by the narrowing of arteries by spasm or disease).

Isokinetic Exercise Contractions performed at constant angular velocity.

Isolate-Integrate When a weak link is identified, it may be important to emphasize the target area by isolating the joint movement. Isolated strength can then be integrated with the rest of the body.

Isolation Normally defined as a single joint motion. It is important to remember that one cannot isolate a muscle while resistance training. For example, immediately following a load application, the stabilizer muscles become partially involved, due to the machine’s assistance. The outside assistance (machine) helps the body or specific joint(s) to remain stable while the prime movers cope with the load. Although we cannot isolate muscles, we can use certain machines to isolate a joint(s), which will emphasize a target area.

Isometric Iso means same; metric means length – The force produced by the muscle is equal and opposite to the external resistance, therefore, there is no net change in muscle length; no limb movement. (Also referred to as Static exercise)

Isotonic Of or involving muscular contraction in which the muscle remains under relatively constant tension while its length changes.

Isotonic Exercise Exercise involving constant muscle contraction.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: J

Joint A point of articulation between two or more bones, especially such a connection that allows motion.

Joint Capsule The thin, cartilaginous, fatty, fibrous, membranous structure that envelopes a joint. Fluid inside the joint capsule lubricates the area, allowing bones to glide smoothly against each other.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: K

Kegal Exercises Exercises designed to gain control of and tone the pelvic floor muscles by controlled isometric contractions and relaxation of the muscles surrounding the vagina.

Ketone Body A ketone-containing substance, such as acetoacetic acid, that is an intermediate product of fatty acid metabolism. Ketone bodies tend to accumulate in the blood and urine of individuals affected by starvation or uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. Also called acetone body.

Ketosis A pathological increase in the production of ketone bodies, as in uncontrolled diabetes mellitus.

Kinematics Area of study that examines the spatial and temporal components of motion (position, velocity, acceleration).

Kinesiology The scientific study of human movement.

Kinetic Chain The connection of all the parts of your body to one another, directly or indirectly. Moving one part of your body can affect another body part. Your trunk is where the kinetic chains come together.

Kinetic System Any system where each part of it is in some way influenced when changes occur in other parts of the system.

Kyphosis A condition characterized by an abnormally increased convexity in the curvature of the thoracic spine as viewed from the side.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: L

Lactate A salt of lactic acid, produced during cellular respiration as glucose is broken down.

Lactate Threshold (i.e., anaerobic threshold) – The point at which there is no longer adequate oxygen for the mitochondria of the working cell(s) to produce ATP energy (i.e., aerobic energy production has failed), and thus, the cell(s) goes into anaerobic energy production (i.e., fast/slow glycolysis and phosphagen systems) for that needed energy. This is also the point at which lactic acid begins to accumulate within the muscle, eventually inhibiting normal contractile ability.

Lactic Acid A syrupy, water-soluble liquid present in muscle tissue and blood as a result of anaerobic glucose metabolism.

Laminectomy A surgical procedure which removes the posterior arch of a vertebra. Also called rachiotomy.

Length-Tension Ratios The relationship between the length of the muscle and the tension produced by the muscle.

Ligament A fibrous connective tissue that connects bone to bone or cartilage to bone, supporting and strengthening a joint.

Litmus Test A crucial and revealing test in which there is one decisive factor.

Loin Pain Haematuria (LPH) Syndrome A combination of loin or kidney pain and haematuria, a medical term for blood in the urine.

Lordosis An abnormal anterior curve, usually found in the lumbar region and as such is an exaggeration of the normal anterior curve (avoid use of the term “normal lordosis”); often called “hollow” or “sway back.” It is accompanied by anterior pelvic tilt and hip joint flexion. If used without any modifying word, it refers to lumbar lordosis. In the thoracic region, occasionally there is a slight lordosis, which is a reversal of the normal posterior curve. In a typical forward head position, the neck is in a position of extension that is greater than the normal anterior curve and as such resembles a lordosis.

Lower Cross Syndrome This condition is characterized with having tight hamstrings, tight psoas (deep abdominal flexor), weak abdominals and weak gluteal muscles. This is a very common presentation for chronic low back pain/buttocks and hip pain.

Luxation Bones in a joint that are no longer in the correct functional position to each other. Means the same as dislocation.

Lymph Node A small oval structure located along lymphatic vessels.

Lymphatic Often pertains to the system of vessels involved with drainage of bodily fluids.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: M

Machine Assistance Outside support which equates to less overall muscular effort.

Maintenance of Center of Gravity Most activities involve the influence of gravity in a three-dimensional, unstable environment.

Meniscus A disk of cartilage between the articulating ends of the bones in a joint.

Menopause The period of natural and permanent cessation of the female menstrual cycle that usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.

Metabolic Equivalent (MET) 1 MET is equal to the amount of energy expended during 1 minute at rest, which is roughly 3.5 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of bodyweight per minute (3.5 ml/kg/min) or 1.2 kcals per minute for a 70 kg (150 lb.) person.

Micronutrients The vitamins and minerals that help structure the body, as well as regulate all reactions and processes that take place within the body.

Micro-Progression Very slow changes in progression.

Mobility Capable of moving or being moved readily. (Joint mobility) Movement around an entire joint.

Motor Neuron Neurons that carry impulses from the brain and spinal cord to the muscle receptors.

Motor Unit A motor neuron and all the muscle fibers it stimulates, innervates, or activates. The size of the motor unit is usually related to the degree of control required by the whole muscle.

Movement A result of the harmonious functioning of the sensory and motor systems in concert with the central and peripheral nervous system.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) A chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system in which gradual destruction of myelin occurs in patches throughout the brain or spinal cord or both, interfering with the nerve pathways and causing muscular weakness, loss of coordination, and speech and visual disturbances.

Muscle Soreness Muscles that are painful to the touch or tender.

Muscle Spindle A stretch receptor found in vertebrate muscle.

Musculoskeletal System The skeleton and its associated bones, the ligaments, tendons and the muscles.

Myofascial Skeletal muscles ensheathed by fibrous connective tissue.

Myofascial Unit A muscle and the fascia, which directly surrounds it.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: N

Nervous System The brain, spinal cord and all the nerves in the body.

Neural Drive A measure of the number and amplitude of nervous system impulses to a muscle.

Neuron A conducting cell in the nervous system that specialized in generating and transmitting nerve impulses.

Neutral Posture A halfway zone between a person’s ability to flex and extend. Neutral posture involves a minimal amount of stress and strain, and is conducive to maximal efficiency of the body. (Also called Ideal posture)

Neutralizer Muscle A muscle responsible for eliminating or canceling out an undesired movement.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: O

Obesity An excessive accumulation of body fat, generally speaking over 25% for men and over 30% for women, with a wide range of causative variables including and not limited to: stress, nutrition, dehydration, toxicity, poor sleep/wake cycles and genetics.

Oblique A diagonally arranged abdominal muscle on either side of the torso [syn: external oblique muscle]

One Repetition Max The greatest amount of weight a person can lift one time in good form.

Open Chain Exercise Exercise that occurs when the distal segment of an extremity is free, such as performing a knee extension exercise.

Open Skill One for which the environment is stable and unpredictable.

Osteoporosis A decrease in bone density.

Overload Stressing the body or parts of the body to levels above what is normally experienced.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: P

Par Defect A fracture or separation of the Pars Interarticularis. This is the small bridge of bone known as the neural arch that connects the facet joints at the back of the spine. A pars defect can be referred to as spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis. A spondylolysis is presence of the defect only. Individuals with a bilateral pars defect can progress to spondylolisthesis – a forward slipping of the vertebral body of the vertebra with the defect on the adjacent vertebrae.

Patella The flat, movable bone at the front of the knee, also known as the kneecap.

Pattern Overload Many repetitions performed in the same pattern can lead to overloading soft tissues beyond necessary stimulus.

Pelvic Girdle The two hip bones.

Pelvis Composed of the two hip bones, sacrum and coccyx.

Perceived Volitional Fatigue Similar to Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). The exerciser is choosing/deciding on a specific level of exertion/fatigue based on how they feel

Perimysium The connective tissue enveloping bundles of muscle fibers.

Periosteum The fibrous connective tissue, which surrounds the surface of bones.

Peroneal Of or relating to the fibula or to the outer portion of the leg.

Pilates A method of physical and mental exercise involving stretches and breathing that focus on strengthening the abdominal core.

Piriformis Syndrome A condition in which the piriformis muscle irritates the sciatic nerve, causing pain in the buttocks and referring pain along the course of the sciatic nerve. This referred pain, called “sciatica,” often goes down the back of the thigh and/or into the lower back.

Planes The three basic planes of reference are derived from the dimensions in space and are at right angles to each other. Types of planes: Sagittal: Is vertical and extends front to back. It may also be called anterior-posterior plane. Coronal: Is vertical and extends from side to side. It is also called the frontal or lateral plane, and divides the body into anterior and posterior sections. Transverse: Is horizontal and divides the body into upper and lower portions. It is also termed the horizontal plane.

Plantar Fasciitis Inflammation of the plantar fascia (arch of the foot) causing pain during gait.

Plantar Flexion Movement of the foot that flexes the foot or toes downward toward the sole.

Plyometrics A type of exercise using explosive movements to develop muscular power, esp. bounding, hopping and jumping.

Popliteal Space The space behind the knee joint. The space is bounded by ligaments and contains soft tissue including nerves, fat, membranes and blood vessels.

Posterior Behind, to the rear. Opposite of anterior.

Postural Response A change of body position that leads to a change in the projection of the center of mass.

Power Ability to exert muscular strength quickly.

Prehabilitation Refers to the prevention of injury by training the joints and muscles that are most susceptible to injury in an activity. Unlike rehabilitation, prehabilitation deals with injuries before they occur.

Prenatal Existing or occurring before birth.

Prognosis Prediction of the course of an injury or disease, including its end result.

Prolapse The falling down or slipping of a body part from its usual position or relations.

Prone Lying face downward.

Proprioception The neurological sense that allows one to know not only where one is in space, but also the position and location of each individual part and joint.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) A method of promoting a response of neuromuscular mechanisms through the stimulation of proprioceptors in an attempt to facilitate increased range of motion, increased strength and movement pattern control.

Protraction The act of moving an anatomical part forward.

Proximal Nearer to the center or median line, or to the thorax.

Psoas Either of two muscles of the abdomen and pelvis that flex the trunk and rotate the thigh.

Pyramidalis A small muscle, triangular in shape, placed at the lower part of the abdomen, in front of the rectus and contained in the same sheath with that muscle. The pyramidales are tensors of the linea alba.

Pyramiding Done in two ways: 1. Beginning with sets that use a lighter load and higher rep count, progressing to heavier load and lower rep count. 2. Beginning with sets that use a heavier load and lower rep count, progressing to lighter load and higher rep count.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: Q

Q-Angle The angle formed by the longitudinal axis of the femur and the line of pull of the patellar ligament.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: R

Range of Motion The range, measured in degrees of a circle, through which a joint can be flexed and extended. Active range of motion: Voluntarily moving a joint through a controlled range of motion; active movement of a joint. Passive range of motion: Having an external force move a joint through its range of motion.

Reciprocal Inhibition The concept of muscle inhibition caused by a tight agonist, which inhibits its functional antagonist.

Rectus Abdominis A long flat muscle on either side of the linea alba extending along the whole length of the front of the abdomen, arising from the pubic crest and symphysis, inserted into the cartilages of the fifth, sixth and seventh ribs and acting to flex the spinal column, tense the anterior wall of the abdomen and assist in compressing the contents of the abdomen.

Repetition The act of repeating an action/movement.

Resting Heart Rate A measure of heat beats per minute when the body is completely at rest, such as in the morning right out of bed.

Retraction The act of drawing back or in; shrinking.

Rhabdomyolysis An acute, fulminant, potentially fatal disease that destroys skeletal muscle and is often accompanied by the excretion of myoglobin in the urine.

Rotation Exercises or trunk movements performed in the transverse plane, around a longitudinal axis, to the left or right.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: S

Sacroiliac Joint (SI Joint) The joint or articulation between the sacrum and ilium that forms the junctions between the spine and each side of the pelvis. Like the vertebrae in the lower back, the SI Joints bear the weight and stress of the torso, which makes them susceptible to injury.

Sagittal The Sagittal plane (otherwise known as the anterior/posterior plane), is an imaginary line that divides the body into right and left halves. Sagittal plane exercises lie on the frontal axis.

Scaption Is a shoulder movement that is in-between a shoulder lateral raise and a front raise. You raise your arm at a 45-degree angle from your body, so it’s not straight in front (front raise) of you or straight out to the side (lateral raise) AND the thumb is pointing upward. This allows the greater tubercle of the humerus to avoid impingement with the acromion process.

Scapulohumeral Rhythm The movement relationship between the humerus and the scapula during arm raising movements.

Self Myofascial Release (SMR) A “self-massage” technique generally performed by moving the desired muscle(s) over a foam roller with the goals of increasing flexibility via the general decrease of muscular adhesions.

Set A series of consecutive repetitions, of a given exercise, performed as a group.

Soft Tissue Usually referring to myofascial tissues, or any tissues that do not contain minerals (such as bone).

Soy Protein A high-protein product made from soybeans, used as a supplement and as a meat substitute or extender.

Spasm A sudden, involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles.

Speed The ability to move the whole body quickly.

Spina Bifida A congenital defect in which the spinal column does not fully grow closed and remains exposed so that a portion of the spinal cord cover (meniges) or the spinal cord itself may protrude, often resulting in neurological disorders.

Spondylolisthesis A condition in which one bone in your back slides forward over the bone below it. It most often occurs in the lower spine. In some cases, this may lead to your spinal cord or nerve roots being squeezed, causing back pain and numbness or weakness in your legs.

Spondylolysis Spondylolysis is essentially a stress fracture of part of the spine. It occurs in the posterior part of the spine known as the pars intrarticularis. It can be unilateral (involving one side) or bilateral (involving both sides). Although the defect can be found at any level, the commonest vertebra involved is the 5th Lumbar vertebra (or L5). Spondylolysis is the most common cause of spondylolisthesis.

Sprain A stretch and/or tear of a ligament, the fibrous band of tissue that connects the end of one bone with another.

Squat To sit in a crouching position with knees bent and the buttocks on or near the heels.

Stability Remaining consistent and steady. Joint stability: Integrity of the entire joint.

Stabilization The ability to control the body both statically and dynamically.

Stabilizing Muscles Muscles that support or stabilize the body, while the prime movers and synergists perform movement patterns.

Static Posture The position of the body at rest, sitting, standing or lying.

Static Stability An ability of the neuromuscular system to coordinate low amplitude perturbations in order to resist significant displacements through the skeletal system.

Sticking Point The point in a movement or exercise through which movement is most difficult. This is especially pertinent in free motion exercises like the squat where posture and body position are so demanding – it is often very tempting to break form in order to pass through the sticking point, and that is where the body becomes most susceptible to precarious positions and potential injury. Another example: The point in the range of motion where the person performing is at a biomechanical DIS-advantage. Example: The 90-degree position in an isolated arm curl.

Stomach The enlarged, saclike portion of the alimentary canal, one of the principal organs of digestion, located in vertebrates between the esophagus and the small intestine.

Strain A twist, pull and/or tear of a muscle and/or tendon, the fibrous cord of tissue that attaches muscles to bone.

Stress A physiological or psychological response to a stressor beyond what is needed to accomplish a task.

Stressor Any stimulus or condition that causes physiological arousal beyond what is necessary to accomplish the activity.

Stretch Reflex A reflex contraction of a muscle in response to stretching of an attached tendon or of the muscle itself. Important in maintaining erect posture.

Striation Any of the alternating light and dark crossbands that are visible in certain muscle fibers, especially of voluntary muscles.

Structural Exercises Exercises that require neural communication between muscles, and promote coordinated use of multi-joint movements.

Subcutaneous Below the skin.

Subluxation Incomplete or partial dislocation of a bone in a joint.

Submaximal Being less than the maximum of which an individual is capable.

Super Set 1. Two exercises involving ANTAGONISTIC muscles performed back-to-back. (i.e., overhead press/pull-ups) OR 2. Two exercises involving the SAME muscle group performed back-to-back. (i.e., overhead press/lateral raise)
Supine Lying with the face upward.

Synchronization of Motor Units A neural factor that could increase force production. The greater the synchronization, the greater the number of motor units firing at any one time.

Syndrome A set of symptoms occurring together, the sum of signs of a morbid (sad, melancholic) state.

Synovium A thin layer of connective tissue with a free smooth surface that lines the capsule of a joint. Synovial fluid lubricates and facilitates movements of the joint.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: T

Tactile Pertaining to touch.

Tempo The rate of speed of a repetition.

Tendons A cord of dense, tough tissue connecting a muscle with a bone or part.

Testosterone Primary male hormone responsible for skeletal muscle development.

TFL (Tensor Fasciae Latae) A muscle of the hip and leg. Origin – Iliac crest just posterior to the ASIS. Insertion – Tibia by way of the Iliotibial tract (IT band). Function(s) – Concentric – Hip flexion, hip Abduction, hip internal rotation. Isometric – Dynamic stabilization of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex. Eccentric – Deceleration of hip extension, hip Adduction, and external rotation.

Thermogenetic Generation or production of heat, especially by physiological processes.

Thoracic The chest or rib region of the trunk consisting of twelve vertebrae.

Thorax The region between the neck and abdomen.

Thyroid Gland A two-lobed endocrine gland found in front of and on either side of the trachea in humans. It produces various hormones such as triiodothyronine and calcitonin.

Tibialis A skeletal muscle arising from the tibia; provides plantar flexion and inversion of the foot.

Tightness Shortness; denotes a slight to moderate decrease in muscle length; movement in the direction of lengthening the muscle is limited.

Transverse Abdominus Muscle inserting on the last six ribs, iliac crest, inguinal ligament, lumbodorsal fascia, linea alba and pubic crest; increases intra-abdominal pressure.

Transverse Plane A plane across the body at right angles to the coronal and sagittal plane and perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of a body or object OR a plane dividing the body into an upper and lower section. Also called horizontal plane.

Triathlon An athletic contest comprising three consecutive events, usually swimming, biking and distance running.Trunk The part of the body to which the upper and lower extremities attach.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: U

Unilateral Pertaining to one side.

Upper Cross Syndrome Exhibited by an individual with a forward head, rounded shoulder posture.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: V

Valsalva Maneuver A common technique used in lifting weights, where the breath is held during a forced exhalation to increase thoracic pressure.

Venous Return The flow of blood from the venous system into the right atrium of the heart.

Vertebrae Individual bones that comprise the spinal column.

Vertically Load To place force upon a structure in a vertical plane, parallel to the line of gravity.

Viscosity The degree to which a fluid resists flow under an applied force.

VO2 Max The highest volume of oxygen an individual’s body can use/consume during exercise, otherwise known as maximum aerobic capacity.Volume Refers to total work load done within the context of a training session and/or particular time frame (i.e. total sets, reps, load, etc.)

Voluntary Movement A movement performed under the volition of an individual.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: W

Watt A unit of power equal to one joule (unit of electrical energy) per second.

Whiplash A non-medical term meaning an injury to the neck caused by hyperextension and/or hyperflexion.

Work The product of force and distance.

Personal training and fitness related terms beginning with: Y

Yoga Freedom of the self from its temporary state through methods such as exercise and relaxation.

Yogi A person who practices yoga.