9 Of The Most Important Fitness Terms, Explained

Have you ever been working out and realised half way through that you have no idea what it means when the instructor tells you to brace your core or keep your spine neutral? Ever been standing at the water cooler, totally clueless to what your gym-junkie colleagues are discussing? You’re not alone. Fitness jargon truly is endless, but here is a list of common fitness terms and my simple guide to understanding what they really mean.


Plyometric training, also known as ‘plyo’, is a type of training that works on your explosive power and certainly gets your heart rate up through dynamic movements like jumping. Lunge jumps are an example of a plyometric movement.

Compound Exercise

Compound exercises are movements that move more than one joint and work multiple muscle groups at once, making them really effective. The more muscles required to work, the more energy you are expending. Compound exercises are great bang for your buck moves. Deadlifts are a great compound exercise.


DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. Yep, DOMS refers to that pain and stiffness in our muscles 24-72 hours after our workout.

Isometric Exercise

Isometric exercises don’t involve moving a muscle. No seriously. Isometric exercises involve you holding a position under tension, remaining in the position for a set amount of time. Planks and wall sits are both isometric exercises.

Engage your core

Engaging your core involves contracting your abdominal (tummy) muscles to help support your lower back during movements. You engage your core by drawing your belly button in towards your spine.

Keep a neutral spine

Our neutral spine is the natural position of our spine when all 3 curves of the spine- cervical (neck), thoracic (middle) and lumbar (lower) are in alignment. But remember, it is your neutral spine (everyone has a different ‘neutral spine’) so don’t try and look like anyone else.

Hold your form

Hold your form refers to ensuring that your technique is maintained rep after rep even as you fatigue.


Reps is short for repetitions. Repetitions refers to the number of times you perform a particular exercise. If you do 10 bicep curls and then stop, that’s 10 reps of bicep curls.


Sets refers to the amount of times you are going to repeat those reps. So if you do 3 sets of 10 reps you are going to do 10 repetitions of one exercise, three times.
eg. 10 squats
10 squats
10 Squats

Sam Wood is the founder of online training and nutrition program 28 by Sam Wood and Australia’s largest personal training gym ‘The Woodshed’. 

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