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Common Bodybuilding Terms

Ok, the first thing you need to know are the common terms you will encounter throughout the series. Find listed below the glossary of these terms:

  • Abduction – to move away from the midline of the body.
  • Adaptation – changes in structure or function of a muscle in response to progressively increased training loads.
  • Anatomy – the study of the body and its parts.
  • Adduction - to move towards the midline of the body.
  • Atrophy – shrinking of a muscle as a result of disuse.
  • Chronic hypertrophy – long lasting increase in size of a tissue or organ.
  • Concentric contraction – muscle action that shortens muscle fibres as it develops tension.
  • Detraining – reversal of adaptation to exercise.
  • Eccentric contraction - muscle action that lengthens muscle fibres as it develops tension.
  • Electromyography (EMG) – procedure that determines which exercises elicit the greatest electrical activity.
  • Extension - movement that increases the angle of a joint.
  • Flexion – movement that decreases the angle of a joint.
  • Insertion – moveable attachment of a muscle.
  • Intensity – in bodybuilding, is expressed as a percentage of 1RM.
  • Isometric contraction – where the muscle develops tension but does not actively lengthen or shorten.
  • Lactic acid – waste product of the anaerobic energy system.
  • Lateral – away from the midline of the body.
  • Macrocycle – phase of training from two to six weeks in duration.
  • Medial – toward the midline of the body.
  • Mesocycle – generally a longer phase of training (i.e. one year)
  • Microcycle – phase of training generally one week in duration.
  • Muscular endurance – ability to sustain continuous sub maximal contractions (various classifications).
  • Neural adaptation – increased nervous coordination of a group of muscles involved in a muscular contraction.
  • One repetition maximum (1RM) – the maximum load a person can lift once.
  • Origin – the attachment of a muscle to a bone that remains relatively fixed during muscular contraction.
  • Overload – an increase of volume or intensity in order to place greater stress on a muscle in order to achieve new adaptations.
  • Periodisation – methodological structure of training phases intended to maximise improvements in muscle size, tone and definition.
  • Phase specific – particular training phase.
  • Physiology – the study of the bodies functions.
  • Plateau – period when no observable progress is made.
  • Power – force x distance over time (i.e. the ability to move a load a set distance quickly)
  • Strength – the application of muscular force (many different types).
  • Transient hypertrophy – temporary enlargement of muscles due to water accumulation, not permanent.
  • Volume - the quantity of work performed and generally consists of load x reps x sets.
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