Written by: Dekkel Bachar


People say that French is the sexiest language but I would beg to differ. Listening to someone talk about their max bench is the equivalent to dirty talk for me, but for those people that don’t speak ‘gym’, like any language, listening to it is pure gibberish.

So let’s break it down, so it’s nice and simple and deconstruct the ‘gym bro’ slang into basic English. And no, Rosetta Stone does not have a tape for this one.

*Disclaimer: by the end of this you are going to seem like the biggest meathead* ever!

 I realize that within that introduction I’ve already used terms that probably make you think WTF is this girl saying, if you aren’t proficient in the language of fitness. Let’s start with ‘max bench’, actually, ‘max’ anything for that matter. Max, is short form for maximum, but you could have probably figured that one out on your own. In fitness, max means the most you can do, but wait, it gets a little bit more complex. You can have a 1 RM (Rep Max) or 2, or 3, or 4, you get my point. That is how many of something you can do before you fail. So 1 RM means you can do one repetition of the exercise, in this example it would be bench press. And after hitting that killer set, you’ll definitely be feeling the ‘pump’, when the blood rushes to the muscles you worked and they begin to feel swollen. After working hard, you might experience you dDOMS, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

Now, what’s a meathead? A meathead is one of those guys or girls you see at the gym who literally all they talk about everything and anything about the gym. Odds are they juice. Nope, not orange juice. Juice is another word for steroids, which in makes them look SWOL, another word for muscular (THIS IS NOT ME ENDORSING STERIODS).

After going over that last paragraph, I really am impressed with how many definitions I could fit in there. But for the rest of this, for both your sake and mine, I will list off a few more definitions.

Spot: Basically, “can you make sure I don’t die while I do this exercise”. A spotter is there to make sure you have support if you fail. 

Set: A group of ‘reps’ done none stop.

Super Set: A combination of two or more exercises done with little to no break between.

Circuit: a group of different exercises done back to back with little or no break (typically timed as opposed to calculated by reps).

Pyramiding: Doing sets while counting your reps down or up. i.e 4 sets of 12-10-8-6, or 6-8-10-12.

“How many sets do you have left?”: Basically, if someone is on the machine you are using they’ll ask you this for an indication of how much longer you have left.

“Can I work in?”: sharing is caring. If someone asks to work in, they are asking to take turns on whatever it is you’re working on. When you’re resting, they would do a set and vice versa.

“What are you lifting today?": What’s on the workout menu today? Are you working out your back, chest, legs, shoulders, etc.? What’s your plan?

“What’s your max, bro?”: How much can you lift, dude? (usually a meathead is asking this so they can stroke their own ego)

“Can you help me load/rack these?”: PLEASE REMEMBER THIS ONE. When you’re using a barbell, loading means putting weights on it. Racking means putting them away after you’re done using it.

As a trainer, I feel this is the perfect opportunity to slide in a lesson on gym etiquette. It is beyond annoying when people use something and don’t put it back. With that in mind, racking your weights is the way to go if you don’t want to get the stink eye from basically everyone else at the gym.

And there ya have it folks! An expedited version of what the hell people are saying at the gym. I hope you feel a little more confident about listening to what a gym rat (frequent gym goer) has to say.

Dekkel Bachar | @Dekks_