Weight Training Terms

Whether you’re brand new to weight training or need a little refresher on common terms used, let this AITB be your new go-to guide. As a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach/professional, it is always a priority to make sure our readers, clients, and community have access to the most updated and educated resources for their health and wellness.


Reps and Sets

Let’s look at the fundamental terms associated with weight training.


A repetition (“rep”)  is the complete motion for the exercise.


A set is the specific number of repetitions performed before taking a rest.

Range of Motion (ROM)

Range of motion is the act of moving to the correct (anatomical) position of the exercise. The ROM of an exercise can be changed depending on the goal of the movement.

Rest Period

The amount of time between sets that are taken to rest. Rest periods allow the body to recover and prepare for the next set.

Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

RPE is a scale that has been designed to help with monitoring how hard you are working. This method is an effective way to measure intensity level and progressively train your body without hitting failure every time.


Build Muscle

Strength & Power

The goal of strength and power training is to make muscles stronger through intensity, volume, and frequency while developing maximal force in as short a time as possible.

3-4 sets of 1-5 reps with longer rest periods of 2-3 minutes

Hypertrophy (Building Muscle Size)

The goal of hypertrophy training is to experience the growth of muscle cells ( also called muscular size).

3-5 sets of 6-12 reps with shorter rest periods of 60-90 seconds

Muscular Endurance (Muscle That Is Long Lasting)

The goal of muscular endurance is to increase the ability of the muscle or muscle group to perform repetitive contractions against a force or resistance for an extended period of time.

12-20+ reps with shorter rest periods of 30 seconds or less



Compound Movements

These movements involve multiple muscle groups working together at the same time.

  • Deadlifts: quads, glutes, inner thigh, hamstrings, erectors (spinal), lats, traps, rhomboids (back), core/obliques
  • Squats: quads, glutes, hamstrings, core/obliques
  • Romanian Deadlifts: hamstrings, glutes, erectors (spinal), rhomboids (back)
  • Overhead Press: pectorals, triceps, deltoids, rhomboids (back), core
  • Bench Press: pectorals, triceps, deltoids, rhomboids (back), core
  • Bent-Over Row: lats, rhomboids (back), traps, biceps, forearms
Isolation/Accessory Movements

These movements focus on a single muscle group and help fix muscular imbalances. This helps target specific muscles while allowing others to rest. For example:

  • Flyes
  • Shrugs
  • Lateral raises
  • Single-arm row
  • Hammer curls
  • Tricep kickbacks
  • Hamstring extensions
  • Leg curls
Drop Sets

Performing several sets without rest. Each set that follows lowers or “drops” the weight down.


The combination of 2-3 moves that work the same or opposing muscle groups. These exercises are performed back-to-back with no breaks or rest between.


The measure of the total amount of work being performed. This involves reps, sets, weight, time, and effort.

AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible)

This training technique focuses on completing as many reps (or rounds) as possible within a set time.

1RM (Rep Max)

The max weight that can be lifted with proper form for a single rep.

Aubree “Aubs” Shofner
Fitness & Nutrition Professional
[email protected]