The Funny Fitness Glossary

From “skullcrushers” to “gluteal amnesia,” the fitness world has no shortage of slang that generates chuckles and blank stares. Boost your fluency with this glossary of 20 of the funniest terms in our collective workout language. Soon you’ll be able to say, “I bonked and got DOMS, but it was worth it for the sweatisfaction!” — or at least nod knowingly when someone else does.

1. Bonking

When your workout suddenly feels especially hard because your body has run out of glycogen stores. Also known as “hitting a wall.” Be sure to fuel up before a big workout!

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2. Burpee

Not a tiny belch, but rather a simple and challenging full-body move. Here’s how it’s done: From standing, squat and place your hands on the floor; jump your feet backwards to bring your body into a plank; do a push up, jump your feet back up into a squat, and then jump up into the air.

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3. Color Run

An untimed event in which runners and walkers don white clothing and are showered with clouds of colored powders along a course. The goal is less about how quickly you finish and more about how dazzlingly rainbow-hued you can become. Tip: wear sunglasses.

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4. DOMS

An ominous-sounding acronym for “delayed onset muscle soreness,” the muscle pain you feel (often up to several days) after an intense workout.

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5. Downward Dog

A yoga pose; along with many other yoga poses, such as cat, cow, camel, cobra, crow, dolphin, eagle, and pigeon, downward dog is yet another posture in yoga inspired by the animal kingdom.

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6. Eccentric Motion

Not “eccentric” like a slightly strange old aunt, but rather an exercise (sometimes called negative motion) that lengthens the muscle under load, such as slowly lowering the dumbbell in a bicep curl.

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7. Fartlek

Swedish for “speed play,” a form of interval training for runners, in which the pace is continually varied.

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8. Fun Run

A non-competitive run either to raise funds for a charity or just to have fun in a themed costume (think: Turkey Trot or San Francisco’s “Bay to Breakers” pictured here). Fun runs are typically 5K.

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9. Free Weights

These weights are not giveaways, they’re just not attached to a machine and can be moved freely.

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10. Gluteal Amnesia

Yes, it’s a thing. When your glutes are inactive for long periods of time (i.e. sitting), they can forget how to contract.

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11. HIIT

An acronym for high-intensity interval training, a form of training that alternates short bursts of intense activity with less-intense recovery periods.

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12. Junk Miles

A somewhat controversial running term that can be used to describe miles run at a slow, easy pace. Some believe these miles have no benefit; others disagree.

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13. Metcon

Not a a new trendy convention, but an abbreviation for metabolic conditioning — a form of high-intensity cardio and strength-training workout that often includes full-body moves such as pushups, squats, and burpees.

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14. Minimalist

Influenced by the barefoot running craze, a minimalist shoe is a pared-down approach to running footwear. Toe shoes (pictured here) are a common type of minimalist shoes.

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15. Plateau

You’re eating right, exercising regularly, and seeing the results. Suddenly, for no apparent reason your progress stalls. Welcome to a plateau, a frustrating phase during which you temporarily stop making progress to your goals. (Learn how to blast through a weight-loss plateau.)

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16. Skullcrushers

A scary-sounding triceps exercise that brings the barbell close to your forehead.

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17. Sweatisfaction

The sensation of satisfaction after an intense, sweat-soaked workout.

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18. Swol

Short for the word swollen, this is how you describe an extremely well-built, muscular person whose muscles are busting out of their sleeves.

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19. Weekend Warrior

A person who works or attends school full-time Monday through Friday, then goes all out in a certain sport on the weekends. (Commonly used among skiers and snowboarders.)

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20. Zigzagging

A diet strategy that alternates increasing and decreasing caloric intake; also sometimes referred to as “refeeding.”

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