Gym Vocabulary: 15 English Terms To Know Before Starting The Workout

Bodhi Ramosreviewed byNataliia Afonina / more about Editorial Process6 min
Created: Jan 20, 2023Last updated: Jan 29, 2024
Gym Vocabulary

Physical fitness is an important element of modern life, and the gym has become one of the most popular venues to help us keep fit. However, the gym vocabulary can be confusing if you are just learning the ropes. You can even find yourself playing a game of “guess what they mean” while trying to understand gym conversations. But never fear – this guide is here to accompany you on your journey into the world of gym vocabulary.

General Fitness Vocabulary to Know

As you embark on your fitness journey, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the basic fitness language you should learn for any gym visit. The list below outlines some of the general physical education vocabulary words:

  • Aerobics.

A type of physical exercise designed to increase oxygen intake and improve the cardiovascular system. It combines aerobic (stamina-building) and anaerobic (strength training) activities.

I’m going to take an aerobics class today.

  • Yoga, pilates.

Yoga and pilates are also among the gym terms to know. These practices use bodyweight exercises and movements to improve posture, flexibility, balance, strength, and relaxation. They both employ breathing techniques, though the types of poses and movements differ.

I’m going to do a yoga class after my gym session.

  • Jogging.

Jogging is an aerobic exercise that consists of running at a low to moderate pace for extended periods. It can be used as both an effective workout and a stress reliever.

Marc jogs around the park every morning before work.

  • Weightlifting/Strength Training.

These are two gym expressions used to describe the process of lifting weights. They will help to increase muscle mass and strength while also improving overall health benefits like reducing the risk of injury, strengthening bones, and improving posture.

I’m focusing on my strength training today by using the barbells in the gym.

  • Gear.

It is a general term that refers to the clothing and equipment (shoes, apparel, etc.) associated with a particular physical activity or sport. Examples include gym clothes/gear, running gear, biking gear, etc. 

I need to buy some new gym gear for my fitness program.

Discover Essential Fitness Vocabulary

5 Gym Vocabulary Words and Phrases Your Trainer Might Use

When you are with your personal trainer, you will hear a lot of sports words and phrases that might be unfamiliar to you. The list below outlines five gym words that are commonly used in the workplace:

  • Warm-up/Cool-down.

Warm-up and cool-down refer to preparing your body for exercise by performing light exercises before or after stretching. It helps reduce muscle soreness as well as prevent injury during strenuous activity. 

Let’s start with some stretches for a warm-up.

  • Repetitions/Reps.

This term simply refers to the number of times an exercise is repeated. It’s also used in sets, which are groupings of reps ranging from 3 to 20 or more, depending on your fitness level and goals.

Ok, now let’s do ten reps with this weight set.

  • Program.

Programs are structured routines designed to help achieve fitness goals, often involving aerobic and strength training exercises. 

Today we’ll be doing the full-body program I made for you.

  • Push/Pull/Core Exercises. 

These words for gym refer to specific movements or exercise categories used to build muscle mass and improve overall physical performance. Push exercises involve pushing a weight away from your body (e.g., chest press). Pull exercises are the opposite of a push, and core muscle-building consists in strengthening abdominal muscles for good posture and balance.

We’ll start with core exercises and follow up with push and pull workouts.

  • Superset/Circuit Training.

This type of workout consists of doing back-to-back exercises (from different muscle groups) within the same set. It’s great for people who don’t have much time because you combine multiple workouts into one session and get more “bang for their buck.” 

We will do a superset today with those bicep curls and triceps dips. 


Workout Vocabulary: Terms That Describe Gym Equipment

You must know weight training vocabulary when lifting weights at the gym. Below are the terms that can help make sure you understand what your trainer is telling you:

  • Bench press/Dumbbells/Barbells.

These words are a part of the weight training vocabulary. They are equipment used for strength training exercises such as presses and curls. They come in various sizes and usually weigh between 1 and 50 kgs (2-100 lb).

I’m going to pick up some 20 kg dumbbells for bicep curls. 

  • Cables/Pulleys.

Cable machines are weight training equipment that uses pulley systems to lift weights with cables and plates. 

Let’s try out some rowing exercises on this cable machine here.

  • Plates.

Weight plates are free-weight equipment used to add resistance and challenge your muscles during workouts. They range in weight from 1 to 25 kg (2-50 lb). 

Let’s put some 5 kg weights onto the barbell for our squats.

  • Kettlebells.

Kettlebells are cast iron weights that resemble a cannonball with handles. They are mainly used for dynamic bodyweight exercises such as swings and squats, but you can also use them with other equipment like barbells and dumbbells. Kettlebells come in various sizes and usually weight between 1-25 kg (2-50 lb). 

Today, try a few sets with the 10 kg kettlebells on your biceps.

  • Resistance Bands.

Resistance bands are stretchable latex tubes that come in different lengths and thicknesses. They offer resistance when performing exercises, such as rows or bicep curls, to develop strength throughout the muscles of your body. 

Let’s try using a medium-resistance band for some chest presses. 

Learn Gym Vocabulary with Promova

Whether you’re new to the gym or need a refresher on existing physical education vocabulary, the Promova app may be your ticket to success. It provides word lists, pictures, and example sentences that help you learn different terms related to weight lifting. Plus, you can practice your new knowledge with various quizzes and other activities.

If you want to improve your general English skills, our platform is also the perfect place. With the help of our certified tutors, you can master speaking, reading, and writing English fluently. Group lessons and individual classes are available for different levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Start your journey to becoming an effective communicator today with the help of Promova!


Getting familiar with gym-related words can be a fun and rewarding experience, especially if you intend to join a fitness center. With the help of this guide on common natural English terms for fitness, you will be able to start speaking and understanding gym terminology quickly. If more practice is needed – Promova has experienced tutors available at different times who can help you with everything from building a solid foundation to mastering more complex topics.


What type of equipment is used for weightlifting?

Barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, and plates are pieces of free weights equipment used for strength training exercises. Cable machines and resistance bands are also widely used in gym-based workouts.

How can I learn gym vocabulary?

Learning new words can be difficult, especially regarding gym-related terms. However, by combining a gym word list, pictures, and example sentences, you can better understand them. 

Is learning English through Promova effective?

Promova is an excellent platform for mastering American or British English. With the help of experienced tutors available at all levels, you can quickly develop your language knowledge and even practice speaking skills with interactive activities.

What are additional resources to learn new English vocabulary?

You can find many additional online resources to learn and practice new English words, such as or Quizlet. These resources provide useful words like gym slangs and example sentences to build up your vocabulary.


PromovaDec 15th, 2023
Aerobic activities focus on enhancing cardiovascular endurance and oxygen intake. They include exercises like running, cycling, or swimming that elevate heart rate and breathing over an extended period. On the other hand, anaerobic exercises, such as weightlifting or sprinting, involve short bursts of intense activity where the body can't supply enough oxygen to meet demands, relying on stored energy sources. Both types offer distinct benefits, with aerobic exercise primarily targeting endurance and anaerobic exercise focusing on building strength and power.
Myles AlfordDec 15th, 2023
What is the difference between aerobic and anaerobic activities in fitness?
PromovaJul 21st, 2023
The article suggests several safety measures and precautions for gym-goers to follow during their workouts. Some of the key recommendations include warming up before exercise to prevent injuries, using proper technique and form to avoid strain, staying hydrated throughout the workout, and listening to one's body to avoid overexertion. Additionally, the article advises gym-goers to seek guidance from fitness professionals, especially when using unfamiliar equipment, and to use safety features on machines when available.
DurwynJul 21st, 2023
What safety measures and precautions does the article suggest for gym-goers to follow during their workouts?