Monday, October 18, 2010

What Did You Say? Some Exercise Terms - Part 2

Sorry I didn't post over the weekend.  I worked 13 hours on Saturday and just rested and did laundry yesterday (never happens), so I didn't get a chance to blog.  That said, here is part two of our glossary of terms heard around the gym.

Fiber - From Dictionary.comthe structural part of plants and plant products that consists of carbohydrates, as cellulose and pectinthat are wholly or partially indigestible and when eaten stimulate peristalsis (moving along the waste) in the intestine.  Basically it helps fill you up AND helps keep you regular.  It can also help control blood sugar. 

Free weights - Any weight not attached to a machine.  Dumbells are the most used, but barbells and heavier weights are available as well.  Do not use the latter without someone to 'spot' you.  Spotting means standing there to catch the weight if you lose your grip or footing, so the weight doesn't crush you.

Glutes - The shortened name for the muscles in your buttocks.  Real name - gluteus maximus.  

Lats - latissimus dorsi muscles.  Working this muscle helps whittle down your sides and back.  

Ligament/Tendon - I have combined these because they have similar purposes.  Both are bands of tissue that holds things in place - ligaments connect bone to bone, tendons connect muscle to bone.  Years ago I had a guy run over me playing softball and he tore up those and every other part of my knee - proving the two thick fibrous strands are good neighbors.  Famous tendon - Achilles (up the back of your leg).  Famous ligament - anterior cruciate (in your knee).

Brad Pitt as Achilles - okay, couldn't help it.
Lunges - A move to strengthen lower body muscles, especially helpful with quads (see below for meaning) and glutes.  You start in a standing position and then lunge forward with one leg to end up in this position.
Lunge position
Machines - You hear "I'm going to hit the machines".  That's any machine that involves a weight bearing exercise.  On a rare occasion someone will say that when they are going to a cardio machine like a treadmill or stair-stepper, but most of the time they mean weights.  And remember, even if the weight is controlled by a machine, you can still injure yourself, so have someone walk you through them the first time.

Protein - Again, from - They consist of long chains of amino acids connected by peptide bonds and have distinct and varied three-dimensional structures, usually containing alpha helices and beta sheets as well as looping and folded chains.  In layman's terms - this is the building block of muscle.  It's can be found in meat, beans, seeds, nuts, grain, fish, dairy and a number of other sources.  DO NOT lifts weights without eating protein, your body will revolt.

Quads - Quadriceps femoris.  A large group of muscles in the legs.  Most commonly referring to the muscles on the upper front of your legs - aka- your thighs.  

Rep - Any complete motion in a set of exercises.  Each complete motion is one rep, these are often done in sets of 12 to 20 depending on what you are trying to accomplish.  This is not just s reference to weights, it can be non-weight exercises like sit-ups too.

Shin splints - Pain at the front of your lower leg or just to the inside front of your lower leg.  This can be caused by a number of strains, the most noted are overuse and sudden change in workout.  Examples - Overuse happens when you run everyday and a sudden change would be going from walking to running out of nowhere.  I have had bad shin splints before.  Only three things fix them - rest, anti-inflammatories and ice.

Squats - Imagine sitting, without a chair.  That's the basic idea behind a squat and encourages the idea of not bending your knees more than 90-degrees, which is better for your knees.  In fact, I was kind of scared scrolling the Internet looking for a picture of a proper example for you.  There are a lot of people that are doing them wrong!  You can do them with or without weights, against a wall, with a ball and one legged, but you should consider not going lower than 90-degrees, unless you have really awesome knees.

Beginner squat - the chair is a great safety net.
So there you go.  Between this entry and this one, you have the basics of 'gym speak'.  If there are other things you overhear and wonder about, let me know.

Yours in Health,

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