|Bodybuilding Dictionary of Terms: A-D
BodybuildingPro.com Bodybuilding Dictionary of Terms A-D Terms
Go to: E-L Terms
Abdominal Muscles: The muscles of the midsection: rectus
abdominis, obliques (external, internal, and transverse), and
intercostals. The abdominals help flex the torso forward and from
side to side, twist the torso in relation to the hips, depress the
rib cage, and stabilize the midsection during squats, deadlifts,
and overhead lifts.
Abdominal Type: See Endomorph
Abduction: Movement of the straight legs, accomplished by
contraction of the leg abductor muscles (the sarorius, primarily),
from a fully abducted position back to one in which the legs are
again pressed together.
Actin: A protein found in muscle fibers that acts with
myosin to bring about contraction and relaxation.
Adenosine: A compound derived from nucleic acid, composed
of adenine and a sugar, D - ribose. Adenosine is the major
molecular component of the nucleotides adnosine monophosphate,
adenosine diphosphate, and adenosine triphosphate and of the
nucleic acids deoxyribonucleic acid and ribonucleic acid.
Adenosine Diphosphate: A product of the hydrolysis of
Adenosine monophosphate (AMP): An ester, composed of
adenine, D - ribose, and phosphoric acid, that affects energy
release in work done by a mucle.
Adenosine Phosphate: A compound consisting of the
nucleotide adenosine attached through its ribose group to one, two,
or three phosphoric acid molecules. Kinds of adenosine phosphate,
all of which are inter convertible, are adenosine diphosphate,
adenosine monophosphate, and adenosine triphosphate.
Adenosine Triphosphatase (ATPase): An enzyme in skeletal
muscle that catalyzes the hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate to
adenosine diphosphate and inorganic phosphate. Among various
enzymes in this group associated with cell membranes and
intracellular structures, mitochondrial ATPase is involved in
obtaining energy for cellular metabolism, and myosin ATPase is
involved in muscle contraction.
Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP): A compound consisting of the
nucleotide adenosine attached through its ribose group to three
phosphoric acid molecules. It serves to store energy in muscles,
which is released when it is hydrolyzed to adenosine
Adrenal: Pertains to the adrenal or suparenal glands
located atop the kidneys.
Adrenal Cortex: The outer and larger section of the adrenal
gland, which produces mineralocorticoids, androgens, and
glucocorticoids - hormones essential to homeostasis.
Adrenal Gland: Either of two secretory organs located on
top of the kidneys and surrounded by the protective fat capsule of
the kidneys. Each consists of two parts having independent
functions: the cortex and the medulla. The adrenal cortex, in
response to adrenocorticotropic hormone secreted by the anterior
pituitary, secretes cortisol and androgens. Adrenal androgens serve
as precursors that are converted by the liver to testosterone and
estrogens. Renin from the kidney controls adrenal corticol
production of aldosterone. The adrenal medulla manufactures the
catecholamines, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Adrenal Medulla: The inner portion of the adrenal gland.
Adrenal medulla cells secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Advanced Trainee: An individual with at least one year of
steady, systematic resistance training experience.
Aerobic Exercise: Prolonged, moderate - intensity work that
uses up oxygen at or below the level at which your
cardiorespiratory system can replenish oxygen in the working
muscles. Aerobic literally means “with oxygen”, and the
only type of exercise that burns body fat to meet its energy needs.
Bodybuilders engage in aerobic workouts to develop additional heart
/ lung fitness, as well as to burn off excess body fat to achieve
peak contest muscularity. Common aerobic activities include
running, cycling, stair climbing, swimming, dancing, and walking.
Depending on how vigorously you play them, most racket sports can
also be aerobic exercise.
Amino Acids: Often called the
“building blocks of life,” amino acids are subunits
that join together in sequences to form protein. Amino acids are
named as such because they contain both an acid and an amine
chemical side unit.
Anabolic: Chemical reaction in the body where smaller
subunits are combined to form larger units. As an example, amino
acids are joined together to form long polypeptide chains which in
turn join to form strands of protein.
Anabolic Steroids: Prescription drugs that mimic male
hormones, but without most of the androgenic side effects of actual
testosterone. Many bodybuilders use these dangerous drugs to help
increase muscle mass and strength, even though possession of them
is now a felony in most states.
Anabolism: Constructive metabolism characterized by the
conversion of simpler compounds into more complex ones.
Anaerobic Exercise: Exercise of much higher intensity than
aerobic work, which uses up oxygen more quickly than the body can
replenish it in the working muscles. Anaerobic exercise eventually
builds up a significant oxygen debt that forces an athlete to
terminate the exercise session rather quickly. Anaerobic exercise
(the kind of exercise to which bodybuilding training belongs) burns
up glycogen (muscle sugar) to supply its energy needs. Fast
sprinting is a typical anaerobic form of exercise.
Androgenic: Term used to describe one of the two primary
categories of effects produced by such agents as anabolic steroids
and testosterone. Androgenic effects include acne, increased facial
hair, and the development of secondary sexual characteristics.
Ankle Collar: The ankle collar is a wide, leather ankle
bracelet which you clip to pulleys to perform exercises such as
left lifts, and leg curls. It is largely used for leg
Anorexia: Anorexia is a lack or loss of appetite, resulting
in the inability to eat. Anorexia may result from poorly prepared
or unattractive food or surroundings, unfavorable company, or
various physical and psychological cause.
Anorexia Nervosa: A disorder characterized by a prolonged
refusal to eat, resulting in emaciation, amenorrhea, emotional
disturbance concerning body image, and an abnormal fear of becoming
obese. The condition is seen primarily in adolescents,
predominantly in girls, and is usually associated with emotional
stress or conflict, such as anxiety, irritation, anger and fear,
which may accompany a major change in the person’s life.
Treatment consists of measures to improve nourishment, followed by
therapy to overcome the underlying emotional conflicts.
Anorexiant: A drug or other agent that suppresses the
appetite, such as amphetamine, phentermine, diethylpropion,
fenfluramine, or dexfluramine.
Antagonistic: Pharmacological term used to describe a drug
that blocks or shuts down a receptor, thus reducing or terminating
a given biochemical response.
Antagonistic Muscle: One with the polar - opposite function
of a primary muscle. As examples, the leg biceps are antagonistic
to the quadriceps, the triceps antagonistic to the biceps, and
forearm flexors antagonistic to the forearm extensors. Antagonistic
muscle groups are frequently supersetted in a high - intensity
Anterior: Used to describe the position of a structure when
it is in front of another comparable structure, such as the
anterior (or front) deltoid head.
Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH): Hormone produced by the
posterior pituitary responsible for fluid and mineral conservation
in the mammalian body. Bodybuilders often take ADH blockers to
promote water loss in the days leading up to a bodybuilding
Antioxidants: Group of substances reputed to neutralize
harmful free radicals produced during cellular respiration.
Arm Blaster: Using an arm blaster is a very strict way to
perform barbell (or E - Z bar) curls. Using an arm blaster promotes
a similar effect as using a preacher bench. No elbow movement at
all, and strict isolation of the biceps.
ATP: See Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)
Atrophy: Shrinking of the muscles caused by catabolism. The
reverse of Hypertrophy
Balance: A term referring to an even relationship of body
proportions in an individual’s physique. Perfectly balanced
physical proportions are a much sought after trait among
Ballistic Stretch: This involves dynamic muscle action
where the muscles are stretched suddenly in a bouncing movement.
For example, a ballistic stretch for the hamstrings might involve
touching your toes repeatedly in rapid succession. The problem with
this stretching technique is that rapid stretches invoke a powerful
stretch receptor response that can result in injury. Further, after
you do these exercises, the stretch receptors are overactive. This
may lead to injury during an activity such as running or playing
Bar: The steel shaft that forms the basic part of a barbell
or dumbbell. These bars are normally about one inch thick, and they
are often encased in a revolving metal sleeve.
Barbell: Normally measuring between four and six feet in
length, a barbell is the most basic piece of equipment used in
weight training and bodybuilding. You can train every major muscle
group using only a barbell. There are two major types of exercise
where barbells are used: adjustable sets (in which you add or
subtract plates to achieve the total weight desired), and fixed
barbells (in which the plates are either welded or bolted in place
and the total weight of the barbell is a set number). You may see
fixed weights arranged by poundage in various gyms. The total
weight of that barbell will likely be etched or painted on the
plates. Fixed weights will save you the time of adjusting the
weight in between sets. Adjustable weights are seen more commonly
in home gyms, because it is very cost efficient to buy a bar, with
several plates and clips to lock the weight in place.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): Your
body mass ratio, or the speed at which your resting body burns
calories to provide for its basic survival needs. You can elevate
your BMR and more easily achieve lean body mass through consistent
exercise, and particularly through aerobic workouts.
Beginning Bodybuilder: An individual with less than six
months of bodybuilding experience.
Bench: A wide variety of exercise benches are available for
use in doing barbell and dumbbell exercises either lying or seated.
The most common type of bench, a flat exercise bench, can be used
for chest, shoulder, and arm movements. Incline and decline benches
(which are set at various angles, normally between 30 to 45
degrees) also allow movements for the chest, shoulders, and arms.
Adjustable benches are available for home gym use. They can be
adjusted to flat, incline or decline angles.
Belts: Belts are supposed to aid you in a lift by taking
pressure off the lower back when lifting very heavy weights. They
will certainly help you if your goal is to develop power, and you
attempt to achieve this through power lifting which consists of the
three basic compound movements, squats, bench press, and dead
lifting, all performed in a very low rep range. A weight belt will
stabilize the upper body by increasing pressure in the abdominal
cavity, and will reduce pressure in the lower back. Belts can offer
a feeling of security and the knowledge that the chances of injury
is lessened. However, belts are not necessary in all exercises.
Stabilizing your upper body is simply not crucial for some lifts,
and sporting a belt in those circumstances will not help you to
achieve your goal to any greater degree. I recommend wearing a belt
for big lifts, especially compound movements, done with heavy
Biceps Machines: Biceps machines offer a variety of
advantages to biceps training, and are advantageous to include in
your workouts. With biceps machines, you can do heavy forced
negatives. Your workout partner can press down on the weight as you
resist during the downward part of the movement. You can get a
longer range of motion, giving your more stretch and total
Biological Value (BV):
Scale of measurement used to determine what percentage of a give
nutrient source is utilized by the body. The scale is most
frequently applied to protein sources, particularly whey
Biomechanics: The scientific study of body positions, or
form, in sport. In bodybuilding, kinesiology studies body form when
exercising with weights. When you have good biomechanics in a
bodybuilding exercise, you will be safely placing maximum
beneficial stress on your working muscles.
Blood Pressure: The pressure exerted against the inner
blood - vessel walls during heart contractions (called systolic
blood pressure) and heart relaxation (called diastolic blood
Body Composition: For bodybuilders, the amount they weigh
is not important, but their body composition is. For example, a
person may be 5'10 and 300 lbs, but if they are 40% body fat, these
stats are not as impressive for the judging booth. Bodybuilders
worry less about their weight and more about their body
composition, which is defined as the ration between lean body mass
(muscle, bone, and connective tissue), body fat, and water. Never
be afraid to eat, though. One of the best ways to gain lean muscle
mass is to eat a lot and let your body fat levels rise in order to
do so. This said, don’t let your bulking stage get out of
control. It is essential that you keep your total body fat
percentage close to what you would like it to be after your cutting
stage. It is very difficult, if not impossible to gain muscle mass
while simultaneously cutting body fat. Although they have said this
is possible with the use of human growth hormone (HGH), it is
really not essential. Be patient, muscles come in time.
Bodybuilder’s High: Similarly to a runner’s
high, a pump can, according to some experts, cause a wide variety
of hormonal responses, including the release of endorphins and
enkephalins, which are natural painkillers produced in the body.
Not to get into too much physiology or psychology, the pump can
also elicit a pleasurable response in the pleasure center of the
brain, which occurs overtime through the association of
bodybuilding activity and the satisfying pump felt afterwards. The
difference between being pumped up after a workout while in the
gym, and waking up the next morning may be so significant that some
people are shocked at the way they look when pumped up. Like any
other positive outcome of bodybuilding, the pump will only occur if
a number of other training factors are in place, such as proper
nutrition and rest. One very easy way to determine if you are
overtraining is if you notice you are no longer achieving the pump
after your workouts. This can easily be noticed if you are familiar
with the feeling associate with the pump. See also,
Bodybuilding: A type of weight
training applied in conjunction with sound nutritional practices to
alter the shape or form of one’s body. Bodybuilding is a
competitive sport nationally and internationally in both amateur
and professional categories for men, women, and mixed pairs.
However, a majority of individuals use bodybuilding methods merely
to lose excess body fat or build up a thin body.
Body-Fat Percentage: The total percentage of fat weight in
an individual’s physique.
Bulimia: An eating disorder which
consists of compulsive overeating to the point of vomitting.
Cachexia: General ill health and malnutrition, marked by weakness
and emaciation, usually associated with serious disease.
Calorie: The amount of energy necessary to raise one liter or
water one degree celsius. A bodybuilder’s maintenance level
of calories can be calculated relatively easily, then either a
caloric deficit (to lose body fat), or caloric surplus (to gain
muscle mass) can be initiated. The calorie content of most foods
are listed on the back of packaging.
Cambered Curling Bar: See E - Z Curl Bar
Carbohydrate: A molecule
composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. It serves as the
body’s primary short - term fuel source.
Cardiac Muscle: A special type of striated muscle of the heart.
Cardiac muscle is an exception among involuntary muscles, which are
characteristically smooth. Its contractile fibers resemble those of
skeletal muscles but are not as large in diameter. The connective
tissue of cardiac muscle is sparser than that of skeletal
Cardiorespiratory Fitness: Physical fitness of the heart,
circulatory system, and lungs indicative of good aerobic
Catabolic: Chemical reactions in the body where larger units are
broken down into smaller subunits. As an example, muscle tissue may
be broken down into protein strands which, in turn, may be cleaved
into individual amino acids.
Cheating: A method of pushing a muscle to keep it working far past
the point of temporary muscular failure. In cheating, you will use
a self - administered body swing, jerk, or otherwise poor form once
you have reached temporary muscular failure to take some pressure
off the muscles being used primarily in the movement and allow them
to continue for a few more reps. Word of advice: Save cheating for
the last set of an exercise.
Chinning Bar: A horizontal
bar attached high on the wall or gym ceiling on which you can do
chins, hanging leg raises, and other movements for your upper
Cholesterol: A type of fat manufactured within the body but more
often ingested from fatty animal - source foods like beef, pork,
eggs, and milk products. Over the long term cholesterol can clog
arteries and other blood vessels, leading to stroke or heart
Circuit Training: A special form of bodybuilding through which you
can simultaneously increase aerobic conditioning, muscle mass, and
strength. In circuit training you will plan a series of 10 to 20
exercises in a circuit around the gym. The exercises chosen should
stress all parts of the body. These movements are performed with an
absolute minimum of rest between exercises. At the end of a circuit
a rest interval of two to five minutes is taken before going
through the circuit again. Three to give circuits would constitute
a circuit - training program.
Clip: The clamp used to hold plates securely in place on a barbell
or dumbbell bar. The cylindrical metal clamps are held in place on
the bar by means of a set screw threaded through the collar and
tightened securely against the bar. Inside collars keep the plates
from sliding inward and injuring your hands, while outside collars
keep plates from sliding off the barbell in the middle of an
Cocktailing: Slang term used by athletes to refer to the practice
of taking as many different performance - enhancing drugs as
Collar: See Clip
Cool Down: If you’ve done a fast - paced workout, complete
the workout with five minutes of slow aerobic activity. This cool
down will give your pulse, blood pressure and breathing a chance to
slow down. You can also end a weight training session with an easy
set using a light weight, or some light stretching.
Compound movements are any of a series of bodybuilding exercises
which are very basic and nature, and in many cases increase the
levels of growth hormone in the body. Basic examples of compound
movements are deadlifts, squats, and the barbell bench press.
Concentric Contraction: When a muscle fiber develops sufficient
tension to overcome a resistance so that the muscle visibly
shortens and moves a body part against a resistance, it is said to
be in concentric contraction. When you curl a dumbbell, the biceps
muscle contracts concentrically. The resistance is the combined
weight of the forearm and the dumbbell, and the source of
resistance is the gravitational pull.
Creatine: An important
nitrogenous compound produced by metabolic processes in the body.
Combined with phosphorus, it forms high energy phosphate. In normal
metabolic reactions the phosphorous is yielded to combine with a
molecule of adenosine diphosphate to produce a molecule of very
high energy adenosine triphosphate.
Creatine Kinase: An enzyme in muscle, brain, and other tissues
that catalyzes the transfer of a phosphate group from adenosine
triphosphate to creatine, producing adenosine diphosphate and
Cross Training: The
participation in two or more sports that can improve performance in
each and help achieve a higher level of fitness. For example,
weight training and football.
Curved Short Bar: Some of these are U - shaped and some are V -
shaped. Both of them are used frequently for triceps exercises, but
other exercises are also possible with them.
Cut: A term used to denote a bodybuilder who has an extremely high
degree of muscular definition due to a low degree of body fat.
Cut Up: See Cut
Definition: The absence of fat over clearly delineated muscle
masses. Definition is often referred to as
“muscularity”, and a highly defined bodybuilder has so
little body fat that very fine grooves of muscularity called
“striations” will be clearly visible over each major
Dehydration: Biological state
where the body has insufficient water levels for proper
functioning. As the human body is over 90 percent water, athletes
must continuously replenish the water lost during intense
Density: Muscle hardness, which is also related to muscular
definition. A bodybuilder can be well - defined and still have
excess fat within each major muscle complex. But when has or she
has muscle density, even this intramuscular fat has been
eliminated. A combination of muscle mass and muscle density is
highly prized among all competitive bodybuilders.
Dip: Word used to refer to the negative motion of a bench press
exercise (intentional or otherwise). When an individual reaches the
point of temporary muscular failure, the bar may "dip" (drop
unintentionally) until the time at which the spotter realizes
assistance is needed and helps the trainee raise the bar to the
Dipping Bars: Parallel Bars set high enough above the floor to
allow you to do dips between them, leg raises for your abdominals,
and a variety of other exercises. Some gyms have dipping bars that
are angled inward at one end; these can be used when changing your
grip width on dips.
Dips: Dips are performed on an apparatus resembling two parallel
bars, 3 to 4 feet high. This exercise is great for the chest and
Diuretics: Class of drugs used by athletes to decrease water
conservation. Bodybuilders use diuretics to increase muscular
definition and separation. Unfortunately, besides fluid loss,
diuretics also flush life - sustaining electrolytes from the
Dorsiflexion: Moving the top of the foot upward and toward the
Dumbbell: A dumbbell is a short handed barbell (usually 10 to 12
inches in length) intended primarily for use with one in each hand.
Dumbbells are especially valuable when training the arms and
shoulders but can be used to build up almost any muscle.
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