Glossary of Training and Nutrition Terms – L to Z

Frederick C. Hatfield, Ph.D., MSS


A to K,
L to Z

L-carnitine — Neither an amino acid nor a vitamin, L-carnitine is a derivative of hydroxybutyric acid. It is naturally obtained from red meat, and helps release stored bodyfat (triglycerides) into the bloodstream for use in cellular energy processing. Its physiological role is to transport long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria for energy production. This is believed to improve one’s fat metabolism (lower body fat level) as well as long-term energy level. Research has also shown L-carnitine to have a value in treating certain cardiovascular disorders, including hardening of the arteries.

Lactate — Lactic acid.

Lactic acid — A byproduct of glucose and glycogen metabolism in anaerobic muscle energetics. A minute accumulation causes muscular fatigue and pain, and retards contraction.

Lactic acid is carried by the blood to the liver, where it is reconverted to glucose and returned as blood glucose to the muscles. It is this elevation of blood lactic acid in sustained strenuous exercise, such as in marathon running, which results in muscle fatigue and pain. Recovery follows when enough oxygen gets to the muscle, part of the lactic acid being oxidized and most of it then being built up once more into glycogen. The metabolic cooperation between contracting skeletal muscle and the liver to support active muscle work is called the Cori cycle.

Lactose — Lactose is a disaccharide of milk which on hydrolysis yields glucose and galactose. Bacteria can convert it into lactic acid and butyric acid, as in the souring of milk. It is used in infant feeding formulas, in other foods and as an osmotic laxative and diuretic. Lactose is not tolerated in many persons after weaning, owing to a reduced lactase activity.

Lats — Short for latissimus dorsi, the large muscles of the back that are the prime movers for adduction, extension and hyperextension of the shoulder joints.

Lean body mass — All of you, except your fat. Includes bone, brain, organs, skin, nails, muscle, all bodily tissues. Approximately 50-60% of lean body mass is water.

Lean body weight — The weight of the body, less the weight of its fat.

Lever — A rigid object (bone), hinged at one point (joint) to which forces (via muscle contraction or resistance) are applied at two other points. A lever transmits and modifies force or motion, and has three parts: 1) a fulcrum, 2) a force arm and 3) a resistance arm. There are three classes of levers, depending on the location of the three parts relative to each other.

Ligament — The fibrous, connective tissue that connects bone to bone, or bone to cartilage, to hold together and support joints. Cf. tendon.

Limit Strength — Absolute strength enhanced by hypnosis, electrotherapy, ergogenic substances of any form (including nutritional supplements or drugs) or other techniques. Such aids increase the potential for strength above normal capacity. Absolute strength is reached solely through training.

Lipid — A number of body substances that are fat or fat-like.

Lipoprotein — Combination of a lipid and protein. Cholesterol is transported in the blood plasma by lipoproteins. Cf. high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein.

Longitudinal study — A study which observes the same subjects over a period of time. Cf.

cross-sectional study.

Lordosis — The forward curving of the spine at the neck (cervical spine) and lower back (lumbar spine). Often used to refer to an abnormally increased curvature of the lumbar spine.

Low blood sugar — See hypoglycemia.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) — A lipoprotein carrying a high level of cholesterol, moderate levels of protein and low levels of triglycerides. Associated with the building of othersclerotic deposits in the arteries. Cf. lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein.

Lower abs — Slang for abdominal muscles below the navel. Conventional training wisdom holds that one can “isolate” the lower from the upper abs through leg raises or reverse crunchers. In reality, when the abdominals contract, the contractile forcee is generated throuhout the entire abdominal wall.

Lumbar — Pertaining to the lower back, defined by the five lumbar vertibrae, just above the sacrum.

Magnesium — A pivotal mineral important to protein synthesis, energy production, muscle contractions and a strong heart muscle. Essential for metabolism of calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and vitamin C. Chronic muscle cramps is a typical sign of a shortage. RDA: 350 mg. (men), 300 mg. (women). Dietary sources: figs, lemons, grapefruit, yellow corn, almonds, nuts, seeds, dark green vegetables.

Maintenance load — The intensity, duration and frequency of exercise required to maintain an

individual’s present level of fitness.

Manganese — A key enzyme activator. Also vital to the formation of thyroid and reproductive hormones, normal skeletal development, muscle reflexes, and the proper digestion and utilization of food. No RDA. Dietary sources: whole grains, egg yolks, nuts, seeds and green vegetables.

Maria Thistle — The active compound in Maria Thistle is silymarin. It is known to be 1) a potent hepatoprotector and antihepatotoxic agent (thereby restoring normal metabolic function to the liver), 2) promotes cellular regeneration via increased protein synthesis, 3) aids in protecting the kidneys, and 4) acts as a powerful antioxidant principally through its sparing effects on glutathione (which also probably accounts for its potency in improving liver function).

Max — Maximum effort for one repetition of a weight training exercise. Also expressed as one’s “1-RM” or “one rep max.” Max o(V,.)O2 See maximal oxygen uptake.

Maximal heart rate — The highest heart rate of which an individual is capable. A broad rule of

thumb for estimating maximal heart rate is 220 (beats per minute) minus the person’s age (in years). Cf. graded exercise test.

Maximal oxygen uptake — The highest rate of oxygen consumption of which a person is capable.

Usually expressed in milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute. Also called maximal aerobic power, maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen intake. Cf. o(V,.)O2 max.

Maximal tests — An exercise test to exhaustion or to levels of oxygen uptake or heart rate that cannot increase further with additional work loads. Cf. graded exercise test.

Medical history — A list of a person’s previous illnesses, present conditions, symptoms, medications and health risk factors. Used to prescribe appropriate exercise programs. Persons whose responses indicate they may be in a high-risk category should be referred for medical evaluation before

beginning an exercise program.

Medical referral — Recommending that a person see a qualified medical professional to review

their health status and determine whether medical treatment is needed or whether a particular course of exercise and/or diet change is safe.

Mesomorph — A person whose physique features powerful musculature.

Met — A measure of energy output equal to the resting metabolic rate of a resting subject. Assumed to be equal to an oxygen uptake of 3.5 milliliters per kilogram of body weight per minute, or a caloric expenditure of 50 Kcalories per square meter of body surface per hour. Hard exercise, for example, requires up to eight METs of energy expenditure, which equals eight times the resting energy requirement.

Metabolism — The total of all the chemical and physical processes by which the body builds and maintains itself (anabolism) and by which it breaks down its substances for the production of energy (catabolism).

Metabolite — Metabolite is any substance which forms as a by-product of the catabolism, growth, or anabolism of living tissue.

Military press — Pressing a barbell from upper chest upward in standing or sitting position.

Minerals — There are 96 times more minerals in the body than vitamins. As vitamins, they are necessary for life itself and combine with other basic components of food to form enzymes. Minerals are ingested through food and water. Many minerals are deficient in the diet because of mineral-poor agricultural soil, the result of intensive farming and long-term use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Minimum daily requirement (MDR) — The minimum amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals considered necessary to maintain health. Cf. recommended daily allowance, optimal daily allowance.

Mitochondria — Mitochondria are the rod-shape organelles found in the cytoplasm of cells. They are the source of energy in the cell and are involved in protein synthesis and lipid metabolism.

Moment arm — The perpendicular distance from the line of pull of a muscle to the axis of rotation.

Moment Of Force — See Torque.

Monounsaturated fat — Dietary fat whose molecules have one double bond open to receive more

hydrogen. Found in many nuts, olive oil, and avocados. Cf. polyunsaturated fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat.

Motor neuron — A nerve cell which conducts impulses from the central nervous system to a

group of muscle fibers to produce movement.

Motor unit — The basic unit of movement: a motor nerve fiber and all of the muscle fibers it supplies. In the quadriceps muscle, one neuron can activate as many as 1,000 fibers. In the eye, where great precision is required, one nerve cell may control only 3 fibers.

Motor unit recruitment — One of the factors affecting strength. Refers to your ability to get maximum stimulation through the nervous system to trigger the maximum amount of contractile force through maximum motor unit recruitment. This can be built up over time through heavy resistance and explosive strength training.

Muscle — Tissue consisting of fibers organized into bands or bundles that contract to perform bodily movement.

Muscle fiber — Synonymous with muscle cell. See fiber.

Muscle group — Specific muscles that act together at the same joint to produce a movement.

Muscle fiber arrangement — Long fibers are created for large movements and speed rather than strength. Short fibers are designed for strength with a lesser movement capability. Knowledge of fiber arrangement can help you train muscle groups in a scientific manner.

Muscle pull (strain) — Major or minor damage to muscles from excessive stretching or use. The key to avoiding muscle pulls is proper conditioning and strict adherence to a thorough program of warm-up and cool-down.

Muscle spasm — Sudden, involuntary contraction of muscle or muscle group.

Muscle spindle — The “computer” of muscle tissue, a modified fiber which responds reflexively to mental impulses and muscle movement such as stretching. Measures and delivers the quantity of muscle force needed to perform a given action. Rapid stretching of the muscle, for example, results in messages being sent to the nervous system to contract the muscle, thereby limiting the stretch. Cf. Golgi tendon organ, proprioceptor.

Muscle tone — , “Muscle tone” or “tonus” refers to the degree of resting “tension” in a muscle. Weight training results in a greater number of muscle fiber “firing” while at rest. It’s Mother nature’s way of keeping your muscles in a “ready” state to contract more forcefully and instantaneously if needed. The partial contraction results in your muscles feeling “tight” or “hard” to the touch.

Musculotendinous — Pertaining to or composed of muscle and tendon.

Myocardial infarction — A common form of heart attack, in which the blockage of a coronary artery causes the death of a part of the heart muscle. Cf. infarction.

Myofibril — The functional units within muscle fibers that cause contractions. The more you have, the greater your strength. Myofibrillarization — increasing myofibrils — is achieved with the use of heavy weight training.

Myofilaments — The elements of a muscle cell which comprise myofibrils that actually shorten (thereby providing contractile force) by sliding across one another via action of “cross bridges.” They are comprised of the proteins actin and myosin.

Myoglobin — An iron-containing protein responsible for oxygen transport and storage in muscle tissue, similar to hemoglobin in blood.

Myoneural Junction — The connection of a neuron to a muscle fiber.

Myosin — The most abundant protein (68%) in muscle fiber. It is the main constituent of the thick contractile filaments which overlap with the thin actin filaments in the biochemical sequence that produces contractions.

Myositis — Inflammation of a skeletal muscle.

Myositis ossificans — The deposit of bony materials in the muscle. Bruises from contact sports

may result in this condition. Severe bruises should be iced, and evaluated by a physician.

Nautilus — Variable resistance-type exercise machine which attempts to match the amount of resistance with the user’s force output. Arthur Jones, developer of Nautilus equipment in the 1970s is considered one of the true pioneers of fitness technology. He coined the term “Nautilus” because of the sea shell appearance of his earlier machines’ cams. However, the concept of varying resistance by using offset cams was invented and in use during the 1800s in Europe. Jones’ marketing strategy involved his widely adopted “one set to failure” principle. He disavowed it in the mid 80s, however (right after selling his business), and his legion of disciples (i.e., owners or sellers of his equipment) all but vanished.

Negative reps — An eccentric contraction. One or two partners assist in lifting a weight up to 20 – 40% heavier than an individual could normally lift. Once hoisted to the extended position, the weight is slowly lowered without help. This type of exercise is extremely damaging to connective tissue, and (according to the “cataclysmic” theory of overtraining) is the elemental factor in overtraining and cumulative microtrauma.

Neuromuscular re-education (NMR) — Therapy involving deep rolfing massage and neurological stimulation to eliminate painful strength- and movement-limiting adhesions and scar tissue in muscles caused by trauma. Developed by Drs. Gary Glum and Joseph Horrigan, Los Angeles chiropractors specializing in soft-tissue injuries in sports.

Neurotransmitter — A biochemical that spans the gaps between nerve cells, transmitting an electrical impulse.

Nicotine — Nicotine is an alkaloid found in the tobacco plant. Nicotine first stimulates the central nervous system, then depresses it. It is absorbed easily through the mucous membranes and the skin, and is highly toxic; symptoms include nausea, vomiting, twitching, and convulsions. Nicotine is used as an agricultural insecticide.

Nitrogen balance — An estimate of the difference between nitrogen intake and output in the body to measure protein sufficiency. Derived by subtracting amount of urea nitrogen in a urine sample from an individual’s total protein intake. If urea value is larger than protein intake, the nitrogen balance is negative, indicating that not enough protein was eaten to meet the body’s nutritional needs. In this situation, muscle protein is sacrificed to provide additional protein to fund metabolic processes. Prolonged negative balance results in muscle wasting. Positive nitrogen balance is achieved by ingesting complete protein to meet the body’s metabolic needs.

Non-resistance training — Training without weights in which you pit muscle strength against body weight to develop general and aerobic fitness. Includes mild running, calisthenics, jumping, skipping, swimming, and bicycling.

Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid — NDGA (nor-di-hydro-guai-aretic acid) is the primary active constituent of the chaparral bush, which grows in southwestern USA (to over 1000 years old!). It is widely known in the scientific community as a powerful antioxidant, and has the official designation as a “lipoxygenase inhibitor.” Both research and folklore classify NDGA as effective in 1) cellular respiration, 2) analgesic activity, 3) anti-inflammatory activity, and 4) vasodepressant activity. These functions make NDGA a potent anti-ageing substance.

Nutriceutical — Actually nothing more than a cross between the two words, “nutritional” and “pharmaceutical,” a nutriceutical is any nutritional supplement designed for any specific clinical purpose(s). Thus, engineered foods such as Ensure, Enfamil, Nutriment, Met-Rx
 are regarded as nutriceuticals. Due to FDA and FTC regulations, clinical or medical claims cannot be made for them. Thus, all are functionally (legally) on the market as foods for general consumption (or “health foods”) to be used as “supplements” to nutrition (diet). Medical doctors frequently utilize these and other nutritional supplements in myriad clinical settings. See supplements, and see nutrition.

Nutrients — Food and its specific elements and compounds that can be used by the body to build and maintain itself and to produce energy. Conventionally, this word refers to the macronutrients (water, protein, fats, carbohydrates) and the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and trace elements) that are essential for energy and growth. On a legal (FDA) level, it specifically excludes substances for which claims are made (legitemately or illegitemately) for amelioration, cure or prevention of any disease entity or other clinical functions beyond growth and energy.

Nutrition — The programmatic use of nutrients

Obesity — Excessive accumulation of body fat.

Obliques — Short for external and/or internal obliques, the muscles to either side of abdominals that rotate and flex the trunk.

Octacosanol — The active, energy-boosting component of wheat germ oil which is known to improve endurance, reaction time, and muscle glycogen storage. Taken as a supplement.

Olympic lifts — The two weightlifting movements used in Olympic competitions: the snatch, and the clean and jerk. The military press was eliminated as a contested lift after the 1972 Olympics. See weightlifting.

Olympic set — High-quality, precision-made set of weights used for competition. The bar is approximately 7′ long. All moving parts have either brass bushings or bearings. Plates are machined for accurate weight.

One repetition maximum, 1 RM — The maximum resistance with which a person can execute one repetition of an exercise movement. Cf. repetition.

ODA — Optimal Daily Allowances. ODAs are applied to active people such as athletes and fitness enthusiasts whose nutritional requirement are beyond those of the normal (sedentary) people upon whom the FDA’s old RDA scale was devises.

Origin — The attachment of a muscle to the less moveable or proximal (closer to the center of the body) structure.

Ornithine — Ornithine is produced in the urea cycle by splitting off the urea from arginine and is itself converted into citrulline. On decomposition it gives rise to putrescine. It has been demonstrated to be of value as a growth hormone stimulator when administered intravenously; there is no solid evidence that it stimulates growth hormone to a significant degree (enough to stimulate muscle growth) when taken orally.

Ornithine Alphaketoglutarate (OKG) — OKG has been clinically shown to:

  1. decrease muscle protein catabolism
  2. improve nitrogen retention in muscle tissue
  3. augment muscle tissue polyamine (PA) response
  4. mediates an insulin increase
  5. improves both protein synthesis and wound healing in muscles
  6. promote anabolic (muscle building) processes

Clinically, it is successfully used in treating burn patients as well as traumatized, surgical and malnourished individuals. There’s no doubt about its tissue-building properties in clinical use. While no studies have been reported on its use as a supplement for athletes, it’s clearly logical to infer that OKG will aid them in gaining muscle mass and to greatly improve post-workout adaptation and recovery processes.

Osmolarity — The concentration of a solution participating in osmosis. (E.g., a sugar-water solution of high osmolarity is concentrated enough to draw water through the membranes of the digestive tract to dilute the sugar.) Cf. hypertonic, hypotonic.

Osmosis — The movement of fluid through a membrane, tending to equalize the concentrations of the solutions on both sides. Cf. osmolarity.

Ossification — The formation of bone. The turning of cartilage into bone (as in the joints). Cf. myositis ossificans, osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis — A noninflammatory joint disease of older persons. The cartilage in the joint wears down, and there is bone growth at the edges of the joints. Results in pain and stiffness, especially after prolonged exercise. Cf. arthritis.

Overload — Subjecting a part of the body to efforts greater than it is accustomed to, in order to elicit a training response. Increases may be in intensity or duration.

Overload principle — Applying a greater load than normal to a muscle to increase its capability.

Overtraining — Excessive training, principally of the eccentric contraction phase of lifting weights or running. Can cause injuries, loss of body weight, insomnia, anorexia, depression, chronic muscle soreness and retard workout recovery.

Overuse — Excessive repeated exertion or shock which results in injuries such as stress fractures of bones or inflammation of muscles and tendons.

Overuse Syndrome — Injury resulting from overtraining.

Oxidation — Oxidation is the chemical act of combining with oxygen or of removing hydrogen.

Oxidative Sports — Sports such as long distance running or cycling wherein oxygen must be present to allow movement to continue (see ATP/CP Sports and Glycolytic Sports).

Oxygen (O2) — The essential element in the respiration process to sustain life. The colorless, odorless gas makes up about 20 percent of the air, by weight at sea level.

Oxygen consumption — See oxygen uptake.

Oxygen debt — The oxygen consumed in recovery from exercise above the amount that would normally be consumed at rest. In intense endurance activities, oxygen debt refers to the amount of oxygen that is “owed” to the system to oxidize lactic acid build-up. One’s tolerance for an accumulated debt is generally proportional to the level of fitness.

Oxygen deficit — The energy supplied anaerobically while oxygen uptake has not yet reached the steady state which matches energy output. Becomes oxygen debt at end of exercise.

Oxygen Uptake — The amount of oxygen intake used up at the cellular level during exercise. Can be measured by determining the amount of oxygen exhaled as compared to the amount inhaled, or estimated by indirect means.

Parcourse training — A concept borrowed from outdoor parks and applied to the gym during sports-specific phase of foundation training for aerobic athletes. Involves the performance of aerobic activities — jogging, skipping rope, straddle jumping, bicycle ergometer — between exercises of a weight training routine.

Partial reps — Performing an exercise without going through a complete range of motion. Exercise mythology has it that one must exercise a muscle through a full range of motion of the joint upon which the muscle acts in order not to become “muscle bound” and to derive maximum strength and growth. In reality, partial movements often provide better overload because more weight can be moved.

Peak contraction — Exercising a muscle until it cramps by using shortened movements.

Peak heart rate — The highest heart rate reached during a work session.

Pecs — Slang for pectoral muscles of the chest.

Peptide — A peptide is any member of a class of compounds of low molecular weight which yield two or more amino acids on hydrolysis. Formed by loss of water from the NH2 and COOH groups of adjacent amino acids, they are known as di-, tri-, tetra- (etc.) peptides, depending on the number of amino acids in the molecule. Peptides (“polypeptides”)form the constituent parts of proteins.

Peridoxine Alphaketoglutarate (PAK) — Vitamin B6 (peridoxine) is ionically combined with the complexing agent, alphaketoglutarate to form a high energy compound. It is widely used as a nutritional supplement by athletes wishing to improve energy output.

Periodization — “Periodized training” is a phrase which refers to how one’s training is broken down into discreet time periods called “macrocycles, mesocycles and microcycles.

Peripheral heart action (PHA) — Deveeloped in the early 60s by Chuck Coker (inventor of the “Universal” multi-station exercise machines), PHA training is an excellent all-around system of weight training whereby muscles are exercised in an alternating sequence of upper and lower body. This method keeps blood circulating constantly throughout the body, prevents undue fatigue in any given muscle, facilitates recovery and provides a holistic muscular development. It is mildly cardiovascular.

pH — A measure of acidity, relating to the hydrogen ion (H+) concentration. A pH of 7.0 is neutral; acidity increases with lower numbers, and alkalinity increases with higher numbers. Body fluids have a pH of about 7.3.

Phosphorus — Works with calcium to build up bones and teeth. Provides a key element in the production of ATP. RDA: 800 mg. Dietary sources: animal protein, whole grains.

Physical conditioning — A program of regular, sustained exercise to increase or maintain levels of strength, flexibility, aerobic capacity, and body composition consistent with health, fitness or (especially) athletic objectives.

Physical fitness — The physiological contribution to wellness through exercise and nutrition behaviors that maintain high aerobic capacity, balanced body composition, and adequate strength and flexibility to minimize risk of chronic health problems and to enhance the enjoyment of life.

Physical work capacity (PWC) — An exercise test that measures the amount of work done at a given, submaximal heart rate. The work is measured in oxygen uptake, kilopond meters per minute, or other units, and can be used to estimate maximal heart rate and oxygen uptake. Less accurate, but safer and less expensive than the graded exercise test.

Physiology — The study of the body’s functions.

Plasticity — The term plasticity refers to the profound ability of muscle, in this case skeletal muscle, to adapt to different perturbations or stimuli. These adaptations can be measured at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and whole muscle level. Skeletal muscle, more so than any other tissue (except maybe the uterus during pregnancy) , exhibits a tremendous ability to remodel itself.

Plyometric — A type of exercise that suddenly preloads and forces the stretching of a muscle an instant prior to its concentric action. An example is jumping down from a bench and immediately springing back up.

PNF stretch — See proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretch.

Polyunsaturated fat — Dietary fat whose molecules have more than one double bond open to receive more hydrogen. Found in safflower oil, corn oil, soybeans, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds. Cf. monounsaturated fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat.

Post-exercise muscle soreness — Microtrauma to connective tissue releases an amino acid called hydroxyproline which, within 48 hours, causes irritation to local nerve endings, triggering pain. Typically occurs from exertion or concentrated movement after a long period of disuse but even affects the most physically fit athletes after excessively stressful exercise.

Potassium — Teams with sodium to regulate body’s water balance and heart rhythms. Nerve and muscle function are disturbed when the two minerals are not balanced. Insufficient potassium can lead to fatigue, cramping and muscle damage. Physical and mental stress, excessive sweating, alcohol, coffee, and a high intake of salt (sodium) and sugar deplete potassium. No RDA. Dietary sources: citrus, cantaloupe, green leafy vegetables, bananas.

Power — Work performed per unit of time. Measured by the formula: work equals force times distance divided by time. A combination of strength and speed. Cf. strength.

Powerlifts — Three lifts contested in the sport of powerlifting: the squat, bench press and deadlift. Powerlifting was first organized in the USA in the early 60s from the “odd lifts” competitions which used to be part of almost all bodybuilding and weightlifting competitions. Of the over 40 odd lifts contested, these three lifts were chosen as being the most representative test of total body limit strength.

Power training — System of weight training using low repetitions and explosive movements with heavy weights.

Preload — The stretching of a muscle prior to contracting it, thereby providing both a “stretch reflex” and a viscoelastic component, adding to the total force output.

Primary risk factor — A risk factor that is strong enough to operate independently, without the

presence of other risk factors. Cf. risk factor, secondary risk factor.

Prime mover — The muscle or muscle group that is causing the movement around a joint. Cf. agonist.

Progressive resistance exercise — Exercise in which the amount of resistance is increased to further stress the muscle after it has become accustomed to handling a lesser resistance.

Pronation — Assuming a face-down position. Of the hand, turning the palm backward or downward. Of the foot, lowering the inner (medial) side of the foot so as to flatten the arch. The opposite of supination.

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretch — Muscle stretches that use the proprioceptors (muscle spindles) to send inhibiting (relaxing) messages to the muscle that is to be stretched. Example: The contraction of an agonist muscle sends inhibiting signals that relax the antagonist muscle so that it is easier to stretch. (Term was once applied to a very specific therapeutic technique, but now is being widely applied to stretch techniques such as slow-reversal-hold, contract-relax, and hold-relax.)

Proprioceptor — Self-sensors (nerve terminals) that give messages to the nervous system about movements and position of the body. Proprioceptors include muscle spindles and Golgi tendon organs.

Protease — Proteases are a category of enzymes which attack specific bonds between amino acids and proteins. The proteases break amino acid bonds to split up the protein molecule into smaller pieces of lined amino acids.

Examples of proteases are renin and pepsin; these enzymes can be found in animals. Rennin is used in the thickening of milk and is isolated from the stomach of the calf; pepsin is found in the gastric juices of humans and other animals where it breaks down proteins at specific places.

Protein — One of the three basic foodstuffs — along with carbohydrates and fat. Proteins are complex substances present in all living organisms. It comprises 90 percent of the dry weight of blood, 80 percent of muscles, and 70 percent of the skin. Protein provides the connective and structural building blocks of tissue and primary constituents of enzymes, hormones and antibodies. The components of protein are amino acids. Dietary protein is derived from both animal and plant foods.

Protein is essential for growth, the building of new tissue, and the repair of injured or broken-down tissue. They serve as enzymes, structural elements, hormones, immunoglobulins, etc. and are involved in oxygen transport and other activities throughout the body, and in photosynthesis. Protein can be oxidized in the body, liberating heat and energy at the rate of four calories per gram. Cf. amino acids, essential amino acids.

Protein efficiency ratio (PER) — A system of rating the quality of dietary protein by the number and proportions of the essential amino acids contained in it. Eggs rank highest. They contain all eight essential amino acids in a proportion regarded as the most readily assimilable and usable combination of naturally-occurring amino acids. Eggs are the standard by which all other protein sources are rated for assimilability.

Proprioceptor — Sensory organs found in muscles, tendons, joints and skin which sense and provide information about movement, body position and environment.

Pulmonary — Pertaining to the lungs.

Pulmonary (ventilatory) capacity — The efficiency of gas exchange in the lungs.

Pumped — Slang term to describe the tightness in a muscle made large through exercise. The pumped sensation results from blood engorgement and lactic acid accumulation in the exercised muscle.

Pumping iron — Slang for lifting weights, a phrase used since the 1950s.

Pyramid Training — A training protocol incorporating an upward- then-downward progression in weight, rep-per-rep or set-per-set.

Pyruvic Acid — Pyruvic acid is the end product of the glycolytic pathway. This three-carbon metabolite is an important junction point for two reasons: it is the gateway to the final common energy-producing pathway, the Krebs cycle; and it provides acetyle coenzyme A (acetyl CoA), through which fatty acids, and in turn fat, are produced from glucose. Pyruvic acid converts to lactic acid as needed. Pyruvic acid increases in quantity in the blood and tissues in thiamine (vitamin B-1) deficiency. Thiamine is essential for its oxidation.

Qing Obesity Treatments — The ancient Chinese have been observing and recording the symptoms of obesity for thousands of years. They observed three distinct varieties (below). These observations and recommended treatments were recently put to a test at Xi Yuan Hospital in China. Xi Yuan Hospital is the headquarters of the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Based on the clinical manifestations recorded by the Ancients, the researchers at Xi Yuan Hospital were able to treat obesity –on a permanent basis — in 80 percent of the cases.

Type I Symptoms (spleen-wetness and phlegm-stagnation): Stuffiness in the chest, shortness of breath, general fatigue, muscular weakness, dizziness, heart palpitations, abdominal distention, poor appetite, whitish coated tongue, weak pulse. Treatment: Qing Xiao.

Type II Symptoms (excessive heat in spleen and stomach): Gluttonous eating habits, frequent hunger, flushed face, dry mouth, reddish tongue with yellowish coat, constipation, forceful pulse. Treatment: Qing Tong.

Type III Symptoms (Qi-stagnation and blood stasis): Chest pain, feeling of distention, irritability, good appetite, irregular menstruation or amenorrhea, slightly dry stool, purplish dark tongue with pronbounced spots, regular pulse. Treatment: Qing Jiang.

Quads — Short for quadriceps, the four thigh muscles that extend the knee (all but the Vastus Intermedius also flex the hip). They are:

  1. Rectus Femoris (Dominant front thigh muscle)
  2. Vastus Intermedius (Underlies the Rectus Femoris)
  3. Vastus Lateralis (Bottom of thigh, outside above knee)
  4. Vastus Medialis (Bottom of thigh, inside above knee)

Quadriceps — A muscle group at the front of the thigh connected to a common tendon that surrounds the knee cap and attaches to the tibia (lower leg bone). The individual muscles are the rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis, and vastus medialis. Acts to extend the lower leg.

Quality training — Training prior to bodybuilding competition where intervals between sets are reduced to enhance muscle mass and density, and low-calorie diet is followed to reduce bodyfat.

Radial pulse — The pulse at the wrist.

Ratio of fast, intermediate and slow twitch fibers — A fundamental strength factor relating to the distribution and specific capabilities of fibers within muscle tissue. “Fast twitch” (predominantly white fiber) muscles are stronger and more suited for strength activities. “Slow twitch” (red fiber) muscles are more enduring and suited for long-distance exercise. This ratio can be only slightly changed through training. You must train fast to be fast, and train long to be enduring.

Rating of perceived exertion — A means to quantify the subjective feeling of the intensity of an

exercise. Borg scales, charts which describe a range of intensity from resting to maximal energy outputs, are used as a visual aid to exercisers in keeping their efforts in the effective training zone.

RDA (Recommended Daily Dietary Allowances) — Estimates established by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences for nutritional needs necessary for prevention of nutrient depletion in healthy people. Does not take into account altered requirements due to sickness, injury, physical or mental stress, use of medications or drugs, nor compensate for the nutrient losses that occur during processing and preparation of food. RDA standards do not apply to athletes, who have extraordinary nutrient needs. While they were designed to meet the needs of a majority of people, RDAs are nonetheless far too low for serious athletes and even for fitness enthusiasts who exercise regularly. (See ODA — Optimal Daily Allowances)

Reciprocal Innervation — A phenomenon in which the opposing muscle group is stimulated to relax while the prime mover muscle(s) is simultaneously stimulated to contract, thereby allowing movement to occur.

Recruitment — Activation of motor units; the greater the resistance encountered, the greater will be the Rectus recruitment necessary to overcome its inertia.

Rectus femoris — The long, straight muscle in the front of the thigh which attaches to the knee cap. Part of the quadriceps muscle group.

Recuperation — A physiological process involving full body and muscle recovery and subsequent muscle growth during a rest period between training sessions. Optimum increases in muscle growth or strength occurs only with complete recovery.

When you increase the intensity of your workout, there’s a price that must be paid. That price is DISCIPLINE in finding ways of improving your recuperative ability. The most important method is called “periodization” training. There are ancillary methods:

  • pre-workout meal of low glycemic index foods
  • pre-workout use of appropriate supplements
  • during-workout use of appropriate supplements
  • post-exercise cooldown (stretching, calisthenics)
  • post-cooldown whirlpool of affected muscles
  • post-whirlpool massage of affected muscles
  • post-massage visualization training, autogenic training, TM or self-hypnosis
  • scheduling 5-6 meals daily
  • ensuring that each meal follows the 1-2-3 rule (1 part of each meal’s calories come from fat, 2 parts from protein and 3 parts from carbohydrates)
  • taking at least one 20-30 minute nap per day
  • working closely with a sportsmedicine and or a sports sciences expert.


  1. Big muscles take longer to recover than smaller ones
  2. Fast twitch muscles (your “explosive” muscles) take longer to recover than slow twitch muscle fibers (“endurance” muscles)
  3. Guys recover faster than girls
  4. You recover faster from slow movements than from fast movements
  5. You recover faster from low intensity training than from high intensity training

Rehabilitation — A program to restore physical and psychological independence to persons disabled by illness or injury in the shortest period of time.

Renal — Pertaining to the kidney.

Repetition — An individual completed exercise movement. Repetitions are usually done in multiples. Cf. one repetition maximum, set.

Rep out — Repeat the same exercise movement until you are unable to continue.

Residual volume — The volume of air remaining in the lungs after a maximum expiration. Must

be calculated in the formula for determining body composition through underwater weighing.

Resistance — The amount of weight used in each set of an exercise, or the force which a muscle is required to work against.

Respiration — Exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and the cells of the body. Includes ventilation (breathing), exchange of gasses to and from the blood in the lungs, transportation of the gasses in the blood, the taking in and utilizing of oxygen, and the elimination of waste products by the cells. Cf. expiration, inspiration, ventilation.

Response — An immediate, short-term change in physiological functions (such as heart-rate or respiration) brought on by exercise. Cf. adaptation.

Rest interval — Pause between sets of an exercise which allows muscles to recover partially before beginning next set.

Rest pause training — Training method where you press out one difficult repetition, replace bar in stand, then perform another rep after a 10-20 second rest, etc.

Retest — A repetition of a given test after passage of time, usually to assess the progress made in an exercise program.

Risk factor — A behavior, characteristic, symptom or sign that is associated with an increased risk of developing a health problem. Example: Smoking is a risk factor for lung cancer and coronary heart disease. Cf. primary risk

factor, secondary risk factor.

Ripped — Slang meaning extremely visible muscularity resulting from both hypertrophy and subcutaneous fat removal.

RM — Acronym for “repetitions maximum.” Thus, for example, 5RM stands for the maximum amount of weight you can perform for five repetitions.

‘Roids — Slang for anabolic steroid.

Rotator cuff — A band of 4 muscles that hold the arm in the shoulder joint.

Sartorius — The longest muscle in the body, involved in the movement of the thigh at the hip joint.

Saturated fat — Dietary fat from primarily animal sources. Excessive consumption is the major dietary contributor to total blood cholesterol levels and is linked to increased risk for coronary heart disease.

Saturated Fatty Acid — A saturated fatty acid is an acid which, by definition, has no available bonds in its hydrocarbon chain; all bonds are filled or saturated with hydrogen atoms. Thus the chain of a saturated fatty acid contains no double bond. The saturated fatty acids are more slowly metabolized by the body than are the unsaturated fatty acids.

Saturated fatty acids include acetic acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, and steric acid. These acids come primarily from animal sources, with the exception of coconut oil, and are usually solid at room temperature. In the case of vegetable shortening and margarine, oil products have undergone a process called “hydrogenation”, in which the unsaturated oils are converted to a more solid form. Other principal sources of saturated fats are milk products and eggs.

Sedentary — Sitting a lot; not involved in any physical activity that might produce significant fitness benefits.

Selenium — A major nutrient antioxidant along with vitamins A, C and E. No RDA. Dietary sources: wheat germ, bran, tuna.

Screening — Comparing individuals to set criteria for inclusion in a fitness program, or for referral to medical evaluation.

Secondary risk factor — A risk factor that acts when certain other risk factors are present. Cf.

primary risk factor, risk factor.

Set — A group of repetitions of an exercise movement done consecutively, without rest, until a given number, or momentary exhaustion, is reached. Cf. repetition.

Shin splints — Pain in the front of the lower leg from inflammation of muscle and tendon tissue caused by overuse. Cf. overuse.

Siberian ginseng (eleutherococcus senticosus) — A cousin of traditional Oriental ginsengs widely used among Russian athletes for boosting stamina and endurance, speeding workout recovery, and as a health tonic to normalize systemic functions and counter stress. An adaptogenic substance that enables athletes over time to adapt to increased training intensity.

Simple carbohydrates — Simple carbohydrates are monosaccharides and disaccharides occurring naturally in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Some examples of simple carbohydrates are glucose, galactose, and fructose, all of which are monosaccharides and, sucrose, lactose, and maltose, all of which are disaccharides.

Most simple carbohydrates elevate blood sugar levels rapidly, providing “instant energy” which is quickly utilized and dissipated. Fructose is an exception. Additionally, refined sources of simple carbohydrates, such as candy, contribute only calories to the diet. These “empty calories” are often consumed in place of foods which would provide important nutrients in addition to the energy.

Sign — An indicator of disease found in physician’s examination or tests; and objective indicator of disease. Cf. symptom.

Skeletal muscle — Muscle that attaches to the skeletal system and causes body movement by a shortening or pulling action against its bony attachment.

Slow-twitch fibers — Muscle fiber type that contracts slowly and is used most in moderate-intensity, endurance exercises, such as distance running. Cf. fast-twitch fibers.

Smooth muscle — Involuntary muscle tissue found in the walls of almost every organ of the body.

Snatch — Olympic lift where weight is lifted from floor to overhead (with arms extended) in one movement.

Somatotype — (see Endomorph, Ectomorph and Mesomorph)

Sodium — An essential mineral for proper growth, and nerve and muscle tissue function. A diet high in salt (40% of salt is sodium) causes a potassium imbalance and is associated with high blood pressure. No RDA. Dietary sources: salt, shellfish, celery, beets, artichokes.

Spasm — The involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscle group in a sudden, violent manner.

Specificity — The principle that the body adapts very specifically to the training stimuli it is required to deal with. The body will perform best at the specific speed, type of contraction, muscle-group usage, and energy-source usage it has become accustomed to in training.

Speed-Strength — A type of strength typically referred to as power. Power, however, is an inadequate term as it does not differentiate between the two important types of speed-strength.

1Starting strength involves turning on a maximum number of muscle fibers instantly in any given movement. Ballistic athletes, such as a sprinter, need this strength the most to make his muscles fire simultaneously with each stride. A boxer does the same with each punch, a baseball pitcher each time he hurls.

2Explosive strength describes the firing of muscles fibers over a longer period of time after initial activation, for the purpose of pushing, pulling or moving a weighted object. Examples: weightlifting, shotputting and football.

Spinal nerves — The 31 pairs of nerves radiating outward from the spinal cord which relay impulses to and from the skeletal muscles.

Spot reducing — An effort to reduce fat at one location on the body by concentrating exercise, manipulation, wraps, etc. on that location. Though there are some minor exceptions, research indicates that any fat loss is mostly generalized over the body, however.

Sprain — A stretching or tearing of ligaments. Severity ratings of sprains are: first-degree, partial tearing; third-degree, complete tears. Cf. strains.

Squats — An upper leg and hip exercise usually performed with a barbell resting on the shoulders, and a deep knee bend is performed; the squatter then returns to an erect standing position. There are several methods of squatting, each having its own unique advantages and disadvantages. The squat is also one of the three lifts contested in the sport of powerlifting.

Stabilizer — A muscle that stabilizes (or fixes) a bone so that movement can occur efficiently at another bone articulating with the stabilized bone.

Starch — Starch is a polysaccharide made of glucose linked together. The body must convert starch into glucose which can be utilized for immediate energy or converted to glycogen and stored in the liver for later energy needs. It exists throughout the vegetable kingdom, its chief commercial sources being the cereals and potatoes.

Static contraction — See isometric action.

Steady state — The physiological stare, during submaximal exercise, where oxygen uptake and heart rate level off, energy demands and energy production are balanced, and the body can maintain the level of exertion for an extended period of time.

Steroids — Naturally-occurring and synthetic chemicals that include some hormones, bile acids, and other substances. See anabolic steroids.

Straight sets — Groups of repetitions (sets) interrupted by only brief pauses (30-90 seconds).

Strain — A stretching or tearing of a musculotendinous unit. Degrees of severity include: first-degree, stretching of the unit; second-degree, partial tearing of the unit; third-degree, complete disruption of the unit. Cf. sprain.

Strength — The application of muscular force in any endeavor (speed and distance are

not factors of strength) — such as to a barbell, a ball, or to the ground underfoot. There are 5 broad categories of strength, each with its own special training requirements: absolute, limit, speed, anaerobic and aerobic.

There are many different factors that affect strength, and they fall into 4 broad categories:

1Structural/Anatomical: muscle fiber arrangement, musculoskeletal leverage, ratio of fast- vs. slow-twitch fibers, tissue leverage, motion-limiting factors (scar tissue and adhesions), tissue elasticity, intramuscular\intracellular friction, and others.

2Physiological/biochemical: stretch reflex, sensitivity of the Golgi tendon organ, hormonal function, energy transfer systems efficiency, extent of hyperplasia (muscle splitting), myofibrillar development, motor unit recruitment, cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory factors, and others.

3. Psychoneural/learned responses: “psych” (arousal level), pain tolerance, “focus” (concentration), social learning, “skill” (coordination), spiritual factors, and others.

4. External/environmental: equipment, weather and altitude, gravity, opposing and assistive forces.

The foregoing discussion notwithstanding, a more traditional way(despite being less precise) of classifying strength is to divide it into general, specific and special categories:

General strength.
In this category, you train all the muscle groups without concentrating on the muscles that assist your particular event. Training for general strength will give you a base for your event – specific strength.

Specific strength.
Training for specific strength is an intermediate type of training that takes into consideration only one aspect of a specific demand. It has an important function in joining general and special strength training together.

Specific strength will help you improve your techniques as you develop the strength needed to execute the exact movements of your event, whether they are jumping, throwing, or running.

In other words, once you have developed general (overall) body strength, you should then work on the strength of the particular muscle groups that will be most involved when you perform the event in which you compete.

Special strength. The term special, as it is used here, means “specialized.” Each sport or event requires a specialized type of strength. Shot putters, for example, need starting strength and explosive strength, while wrestlers need anaerobic strength endurance. While the exercises for building specific strength are often of different intensity and duration than those of the typical agnostic movement, the exercises done for special strength training have to reflect all the components of the agnostic movement.

The base of special strength drills is represented by the complete movement in that the development of the most peculiar physical properties (strength, speed, endurance) is applied. When strength training is poured into the complete movement, respecting its dynamical-mechanical characteristics, it is called “special strength training.”

Strength training — Using resistance weight training to build maximum muscle force is the traditional way of defining the practice of strength training. However, a more global definition would account for the metabolic circumstances under which force is being applied (i.e., the energy contribution from ATP/CP, glycolytic or oxidative sources).

Stress — The general physical and psychological response of an individual to any real or perceived adverse stimulus, internal or external, that tends to disturb the individual’s homeostasis. Stress that is excessive or reacted to inappropriately, may cause disorders.

Stress fracture — A partial or complete fracture of a bone bec ause of the remodeling process’s inability to keep up with the effects of continual, rhythmic, nonviolent stresses on the bone. Cf. overuse.

Stress management — A group of skills for dealing with stresses imposed on an individual

without suffering psychological distress and/or physical disorders.

Stress test — See graded exercise test.

Stretching — Lengthening a muscle to its maximum extension; moving a joint to the limits of its extension.

Stretch reflex — To prevent overextension and serious injury to muscles and tendons, muscles are equipped with specialized nerve cells (spindles) that “apply the brakes” when elasticity maximum is reached. Careful ballistic training augmented with plyometric drills can heighten the threshold of the stretch reflex mechanism and improve strength-generating ability.

Striations — Grooves or ridge marks of muscles’ individual myofibrils visible through the skin, and resulting from both hypertrophy training and extremely low subcutaneous fat deposits; the ultimate degree of muscle definition.

Stroke volume — The volume of blood pumped out of the heart into the circulatory system by the left ventricle in one contraction.

Submaximal — Less than maximum. Submaximal exercise requires less than one’s maximum

oxygen uptake, heart rate, or anaerobic power. Usually refers to intensity of the exercise, but may be used to refer to duration.

Succinates — Succinic acid’s biological activities are varied. Their chief function is in their enzyme activity, but they also combine with protein to rebuild muscle fiber and nerve endings, and help fight infection.

Sucrose — Sucrose is a sweet disaccharide that occurs naturally in most land plants and is the simple carbohydrate obtained from sugarcane, sugar beet and other sources. It is hydrolyzed in the intestine by sucrase to glucose and fructose.

Sulfur — A mineral of major structural importance to proteins, enzymes, antibodies, skin and hair. No RDA. Dietary sources: beans, beef, eggs.

Superset — Alternating back and forth between two exercises until the prescribed number of sets is completed. The two exercises generally involve a protagonist and antagonist (e.g., the biceps and triceps, or the chest and upper back); however, common usage of the term also can mean any two exercises alternated with one another.

Supination — Assuming a horizontal position facing upward. In the case of the hand, it also means turning the palm to face forward. The opposite of pronation.

Supplements — Any enterally (taken into the body by mouth) or parenterally (taken into the body other than by mouth) administered substance which serves health, ergogenic, growth or other bodily processes which food alone either cannot accomplish or cannot accomplish as efficiently is referred to as a supplement. Supplements can be nutritional or non-nutritional in nature. The traditionally identified classifications of supplements are health foods, additives, herbals (botanicals), nutriceuticals (engineered foods), micronutrients, macronutrients, adaptogens (bodily adaptation enhancers), ergogenic (work enhancing) compounds and anabolic (growth enhancing) compounds. See Nutriceutical.

Symptom — Any evidence by which a person perceives that he/she may not be well; subjective evidence of illness. Cf. sign.

Syncope — Fainting. A temporary loss of consciousness from insufficient blood flow to the brain.

Syndrome — A group of related symptoms or signs of disease.

Synergism — The combined effect of two or more parts of forces or agents which is greater than the sum of the individual effects. Example: the synergistic effect of a multiple vitamin and mineral formula compared to the benefits of one or two vitamins.

Systole — The contraction, or time of contraction, of the heart. Cf. diastole.

Systolic blood pressure — Blood pressure during the contraction of the heart muscle. Cf. blood



Tachycardia — Excessively rapid heart rate. Usually describes a pulse of more than 100 beats per minute at rest. Cf. bradycardia.

Taper down – See cool down.

Target heart rate (THE) — The heart rate at which one aims to exercise at a THR of 60 to 90 percent of maximum heart rate reserve.

Tendon — A band or cord of strong, fibrous (collagenous) tissue that connects muscles to bone.

Tendonitis — Inflammation of a tendon.

Testing protocol — A specific plan for the conducting of a testing situation; usually following an accepted standard.

Testosterone — The sex hormone that predominates in the male, is responsible for the development of male secondary sex characteristics and is involved in the hypertrophy of muscle. Cf. estrogen. Anabolic steroids are synthetic chemicals that mimic the muscle-building effects of testosterone. Testosterone is an androgen, a sex hormone produced by all humans. It is important in the development of male gonads and sex characteristics. In females, testosterone is an intermediate product in the production of estradiols.

As a pharmaceutical drug, it is used to stimulate sex characteristics, to stimulate production of red blood cells, and to suppress estrogen production. Long-term use can lead to kidney stones, unnatural hair growth, voice changes, and decreased sperm count.

Therapy — Related to fitness and sports, therapy is the application of a substance or technique in the prevention, management, and treatment of common athletic injuries and related problems. Many of the means available also play a role in enhanced recuperation after training sessions, which obviously leads to improved performances. Some of the therapeutic means in current use are strictly the domain of the sports medicine physician or a licensed physical therapist, while others can be safely applied by coaches and trainers, or even by the athletes themselves. Here are a few of the more common ones:

  1. Diathermy: A professional therapeutic modality, diathermy is a form of high-frequency heat that penetrates injured tissues deeper and more effectively than other forms of heat therapy (e.g., hydroculator packs, moist-heat packs, etc.). Where other modalities penetrate between
    one-eighth to one-fourth inch at best, diathermy reaches 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches into the injured tissues. Diathermy increases vasodilation (blood supply) needed both for carrying nutrients to and waste products away from injured tissues. Unlike other forms of heat therapy, diathermy’s circulating heat does not produce static swelling at the treatment site. Note: All forms of heat therapy should be followed by cryotherapy, or cold treatment.
  2. Electrostimulation: Typical use involves electrodes that create a contraction of the surrounding musculature, reducing edema by pumping fluid out of the affected tissue. An atypical application (but a very effective method of reducing edema) pioneered by former Eastern Bloc sports medicine specialists involves placing the electrodes not on the muscles, but
    directly on the joint. Moderate to intense amounts of intermittent stimulation are applied for 10 to 15 minutes per session. This type of transarticular electrostimulation is most effective when implemented immediately after diathermy and followed by cryotherapy and elevation.
  3. Cryotherapy: The application of cold (usually in the form of ice or “chemical ice”) to body tissues for the purpose of pain relief and decreased swelling (via vasodilation). Typical use involves hourly applications of 10 to 15 minutes in duration. Ice is simple, inexpensive, and effective and can be applied without professional assistance.
  4. Heat Therapy: Heating pads or hot showers are best when followed with ice because heat alone causes static swelling. Leaving a heating pad on all night is the worst treatment possible because it creates static edema. Never use heat sooner than 48 to 72 hours after an injury. When it is used, it should be used for only 10 to 15 minutes along with active stretching of
    the body part being heated, followed by 10 to 15 minutes of ice and stretching of the affected area. Hot showers are great in the morning and after workouts to bring blood into the tissue, but the shower should be turned progressively cooler to cold in order to dissipate any swelling caused by heat.
  5. Ultrasound: High frequency sound waves which oscillate to penetrate 1 to 2-1/2 inches into muscle tissue. Ultrasound loosens or breaks up scar tissue and tight fibrous adhesions due to injury. Frequently used in most musculoskeletal ailments.
  6. Hydrotherapy: The use of water as a therapeutic/recuperative means.

The most common forms are:

  • Contrast Showers: Done immediately after training to expose the area to alternating bursts of hot and cold water. Comfortably hot for 2 to 3 minutes, followed by 2 minutes of progressively colder water up to the point of discomfort. This procedure is then repeated for 4 to 6 cycles. Since hot water is a vasodilator and cold water a vasoconstrictor, the net effect of contrast showers is vastly improved circulation to the affected areas. The effectiveness of contrast showers is markedly increased when combined with stretching. Various types of trunk stretches, including side bends as well as flexion and extension, can be performed. Quadriceps, hamstring, and pectoral stretches can also be performed after training sessions for these muscle groups. Stretches are repeated for each contrasting cycle. A handrail and nonslip rubber “skids” must be used for safety.
  • Contrast Baths: Applied in the same manner and for the same purpose as contrast showers. Contrast baths, however, are more convenient for localized use (e.g., treating a limb instead of the entire body).
  • Whirlpool: This form of therapy improves circulation and renders a relaxation effect. Can be used for general or localized purposes. Water temperature should stay between 102-103º F (28-35º C). Limit immersion to 15 minutes or less. Avoid whirlpool if there is a swollen joint or joints.
  • Cryo-kinetics for Low Back and Leg Recuperation: An ice pack can be constructed by placing crushed ice in a “zip-lock” bag. Immediately after leaving the shower, the individual should lie down on the floor with his feet propped over a bed or couch and the ice pack under his lumbar spine. To improve the effect of this procedure tri-fold, he should stretch his spine while on the ice and gently perform lateral (side to side) flexions alternated with pulling his knees to his chest. Mobilizing the spine in this way will counteract any stiffening effects from icing the back. Cryo-kinetic therapy is very beneficial in reducing contracted, tightened muscle tissue as well as pumping these tissues free of accumulated, raining-induced waste products. At least 15, but no longer than 20, minutes should be spent on the ice. This is most effective when done immediately after contrast showers.
  • Leg Elevation: Used as a means to reverse hydrostatic or olumnar pressure after a long day standing or training. Leg elevation is particularly effective prior to training, and the effects are improved at least twofold when used concurrent with cryotherapy on the knees. For greatest ffectiveness, elevate the legs for about 20 minutes, keeping them perpendicular to the floor while lying on the back.
  • Ongoing Professional Assistance: Many forms of therapy, including various types of “bodywork,” are available to athletes at moderate cost and are highly recommended. The most commonly used forms of professional assistance are:* Chiropractic * Massage Therapy * Physical Therapy * Rolfing * Neuromuscular Re-education * Tragering * Acupuncture/pressure * Alexander Technique

Tiron — Tiron (Sodium-4,5-dihydroxybenzene-1,3-disulfonate) is a chelator mentioned in the research literature which effectively clears vanadium from body tissues right from the first day of use. It is currently not available in supplement form. (See vanadyl sulfate.)

Tissue elasticity — Tissue elasticity (“viscoelasticity”) is involved in all explosive sports, including shot put, boxing, the baseball and javelin throw, and powerlifting. After being stretched, most bodily tissues — including muscles, but not so much with ligaments and tendons — return to their original shape or length. The quicker they do, the more force there is added to the forcee output stemming from both stretch reflex and muscle contraction.

Tissue (or interstitial) leverage — The degree of extra mechanical advantage gained by superheavyweight strength athletes by packing sheer mass from extra fat, liquid and protein between and inside muscle fibers.

Torque — Moment of force; The turning or twisting effect of a force.

Training — Subjecting the body to repeated stresses with interspersed recovery periods to elicit growth in its capacity to handle such stresses.

Training effect — Increase in functional capacity of muscles and other bodily tissues as a result of increased (overload) placed upon them.

Training technologies — Athletes can tap into eight broad categories of accepted methods to attain performance goals: weight training, light resistance training, medical support, therapeutic modalities (jacuzzi, massage,acupuncture, etc), psychological support, biomechanics, diet and nutritional supplements.

Training to failure — Continuing a set in weight training until inability to complete another rep without assistance.

Training zone — See target heart rate.

Transcendental Meditation (TM) — An effortless meditation technique scientifically shown to sweep away energy-sapping mental and physical stress and deep-rooted fatigue. Among athletes it improves energy, reaction time, workout recovery, mental alertness and coordination.

Traps — Slang for trapezius muscles, the largest muscles of the back and neck that elevates the shoulder girdle and draws the scapulae medially.

Triceps brachii — The muscles on the back of the upper arm are the prime movers for extending the elbow.

Trimming down — Gaining hard muscular appearance by losing body fat (a more contemporary phrase is “trimming and toning”).

Troponin — A protein that reacts with calcium to set the contractile mechanism into action within muscle fibers.

Triglyceride — Triglycerides are a combination of glycerol with three fatty acids: stearic acid, oleic acid, and palmitic acid.

Twitch — A brief muscle contraction caused by a single volley of motor neuron impulses. Cf. fast-twitch fibers, slow-twitch fibers.

Universal machine — One of several types of weight lifting devices where weights are on a track or rails and are lifted by levers or pulleys. Deveeloped in the early 60s by Chuck Coker, the phrase originally referred to a multi-station gym.

Unsaturated fatty acids (UFA) — UFAs are important in lowering blood cholesterol and may thus help prevent heart disease. They are essential for normal glandular activity, healthy skin, mucous membranes and many metabolic processes.

Unsaturated fatty acids (UFA) are fatty acids whose carbon chain contains one or more double or triple bonds, and which are capable or receiving more hydrogen atoms. They include the group polyunsaturates, are generally liquid at room temperature and are derived from vegetables, nuts, seeds or other sources. Examples of unsaturated fatty acids include corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and olive oil. Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in the diet can help reduce cholesterol levels.

A small amount of highly unsaturated fatty acid is essential to animal nutrition. The body cannot desaturate a fat, such as vegetable shortening or margarine, sufficiently by its own metabolic processes to supply this essential need. Therefore, the dietary inclusion of unsaturated or polyunsaturated fats is vital.

The three essential fatty acids (those which the body is unable to manufacture) are linoleic acid, linolenic acid, and arachidonic acid. However, these fatty acids can be synthesized from linoleic acid if sufficient intake occurs. Linoleic acid should provide about 2% of total dietary calories. Corn, safflower and soybean oils are high in linoleic acid.

Cf. monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, saturated fat.

Upper abs — Abdominal muscles above navel (see lower abs).

Valsalva maneuver — Valsalva Maneuver — If the glottis (the narrowest part of the larynx) is closed following full inspiration and the expiratory muscles are fully activated, the compressive forces of exhalation can increase the intrathoracic pressure from 2 or 3 mm Hg to upwards of 100 mm Hg above atmospheric pressure. This forced exhalation against a closed glottis is called the Valsalva maneuver (named after the Italian anatomist who first explained the phenomenon), and is common in weightlifting or other activities requiring short rapid maximum force Session. The intrathoracic pressure causes the veins to compress and this in turn results in significantly reduced venous blood flow into the heart and into the brain. Dizziness, “spots” before the eyes and blackout can ensue. This is one good reason why those with cardiac problems should refrain from all-out straining (as in isometric contraction), and insterad should engage in a more rhythmic type of weightlifting technique.

Vasoconstriction — The narrowing of a blood vessel to decrease blood flow to a body part.

Vasodilation — The enlarging of a blood vessel to increase blood flow to a body part.

Vanadyl Sulfate — Vanadyl sulfate (VOSO4) has been very extensively studied for its insulin-like activity as a blood glucose lowering agent. In other words, vanadyl sulfate dramatically increases glucose uptake by your muscle cells. There are many benefits:

– Increased energy for workouts;

– More rapid recovery following workouts;

– Muscle glycogen (what glucose becomes when stored in your muscles) is more abundant, thereby providing a protein-sparing effect;

– This protein-sparing effect provides for better protein synthesis (muscle growth and repair);

– Increased storage of muscle glycogen provides a fuller, more dense appearance to your visible muscles.

Care must be taken with this substance however. Vanadium can build up in various tissues of the body, especially the kidneys. Tiron (see Tiron) is the only known chelator capable of eliminating this danger, although vitamin c, glutathione and other antioxidants can help.

Variable resistance — Strength training equipment which can, through the use of elliptical cams and other such technology, vary the amount of weight being lifted to match the strength curve for a particular exercise. Nautilus machines, for example, provide this feature. (See Constant Resistance and Accommodating Resistance.)

Variable Split Training — A weight training system developed in the mid 80s by Dr. Fred Hatfield that systematizes workout schedules according to the recuperation of individual muscle groups and body parts. This method maximizes development by eliminating effects of overtraining or undertraining. Also Variable Double Split and Variable Triple Split for multiple daily workouts.

Vascularity — Increase in size and number of observable veins. Highly desirable in bodybuilding.

Vein — A vessel which returns blood from the various parts of the body back to the heart.

Ventilation — Breathing. Cf. expiration, inspiration, respiration.

Vertigo — Sensation that the world is spinning or that the individual is revolving; a particular kind of dizziness.

Vital capacity — Maximal breathing capacity; the amount of air that can be expired after a maximum inspiration; the maximum total volume of the lungs, less the residual volume.

Vital signs — The measurable signs of essential bodily functions, such as respiration rate, heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, etc.

Vitamins — A number of unrelated organic substances that are required in trace amounts for the metabolic processes of the body, and which occur in small amounts in many foods.

Vitamin — Organic food substances present in plants and animals, essential in small quantities for the proper functioning of eveeery organ of the body, and for all energy production. Most are obtained from food, but supplementation is almost always advised, and regarded as critical for athletes in heavy training.

Vitamin A — A fat-soluble vitamin occurring as preformed vitamin A (retinol), found in animal origin foods, and provitamin A (carotene), provided by both plant and animal foods. Maintains healthy skin, mucous membranes, eyesight, immune system function, and promotes strong bones and teeth. Vital to the liver’s processing of protein. RDA: 5,000 International units. Dietary sources: fish liver oil, liver, eggs, milk and dairy, green and yellow vegetables, and yellow fruits.

Vitamin B complex — Vitamin B-Complex — A family of 13 water-soluble vitamins, probably the single-most important factor for the health of the nervous system. They are essential to the conversion of food into energy. When you exercise strenuously, your body quickly burns up its vitamin B supply. A shortage of Bs affects both performance and recovery. High consumption of sugar, caffeine, processed food and alcohol cause depletion. These vitamins are grouped together because of their common source, distribution, and their interrelationship as coenzymes in metabolic processes. The best food source for vitamin B-complex is Brewer’s yeast. All must be present together for the B-complex to work. Vitamin B-complex consists of the following vitamins:

  • Biotin
  • Choline
  • Inositol
  • Vitamin B-1 (thiamine)
  • Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B-3 (niacin)
  • Vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid)
  • Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B-9 (folacin)
  • Vitamin B-12 (cyanocobalamin)

These vitamins are grouped together because of their common source, distribution, and their interrelationship as coenzymes in metabolic processes. The best food source for vitamin B-complex is Brewer’s yeast. All must be present together for the B-complex to work.

Vitamin B-1 (thiamine) — Essential for learning capacity and muscle tone in the stomach, intestines and heart. RDA: 1.4 mg (men), 1.0 mg. (women). Dietary sources: brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, blackstrap molasses, whole wheat and rice, oatmeal, most vegetables.

Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin) — An essential co-factor in the enzymatic breakdown of all foodstuffs. Important to cell respiration, good vision, skin and hair. RDA: 1.6 mg. Dietary sources: liver, tongue, organ meats, milk, eggs. The amount found in foods is minimum, making this America’s most common vitamin deficiency.

Vitamin B-3 (niacin) — Essential for synthesis of sex hormones, insulin, and other hormones. Effective in improving circulation and reducing blood cholesterol. RDA: 19 mg. (men), 13 mg. (women). Dietary sources: lean meats, poultry, fish and peanuts.

Vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid) — An important stress, immune system and anti-allergy factor. Vital for proper functioning of adrenal glands, where stress chemicals are produced. Promotes endurance. RDA: 10 mg. Dietary sources: organ meats, egg yolks, whole-grain cereals.

Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) — Essential for the production of antibodies and red blood cells, and the proper assimilation of protein. The more protein you eat, the more B-6 you need! Facilitates conversion of stored liver and muscle glycogen into energy. RDA: 1.8 mg. (men), 1.5 mg. (women). Dietary sources: brewer’s yeast, wheat bran, wheat germ, liver, kidney, cantaloupe.

Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) — Necessary for normal metabolism of nerve tissue and formation and regeneration of red blood cells. RDA: 3 micrograms. Dietary sources: animal protein. Liver is the best.

Vitamin C — A critical health-protection nutrient. Body stores are depleted rapidly by drugs, toxins, smoking, exercise and stress. Fortifies the immune system against virus infections, strengthens blood vessels, reduces cardiovascular abnormalities, lowers fat and cholesterol levels, as a natural anesthetic it reduces many kinds of pain, helps detoxify chemical and metal contaminants found in the air, water and food, slows down lactic acid buildup, helps heal wounds, scar tissue and injuries. Necessary in the formation of connective tissue. RDA: 60 mg, but tolerated in doses exceeding 10,000 mg (10 grams) daily. Dietary sources: citrus fruits, berries, green and leafy vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes.

Vitamin D — A fat-soluble vitamin, acquired through sunlight or diet. Aids the body in utilization of vitamin A, calcium and phosphorus. Helps maintain stable nervous system and normal heart action. RDA: 400 International units. Dietary sources: fish-liver oils, sardines, salmon, tuna, milk and dairy.

Vitamin E — This fat-soluble vitamin is an active anti-oxidant retarding free-radical damage, as well as protecting oxidation of fat compounds, vitamin A, and other nutritional factors in the body. Important to cellular respiration, proper circulation, protection of lungs against air pollution, and prevention of blood clots. Helps alleviate leg cramps and “charley horse.” RDA: 15 International units (men), 12 (women). Dietary sources: wheat germ, cold-pressed vegetable oils, whole raw seeds and nuts, soybeans.

Vitamin K (“Koagulation”) — This vitamin is implicated in proper blood clotting. It is synthesized in the intestinal flora. Because it is fat-soluble, it has the potential for toxicity if taken in large doses. There is no established RDA.

o(V,.)O2 max — Maximum Volume of Oxygen consumed per unit of time. In scientific notation, a dot appears over the V to indicate “per unit of time.” Cf. maximal oxygen uptake.

Warm-up — A gradual increase in the intensity of exercise to allow physiological processes to prepare for greater energy outputs. Changes include: rise in body temperature, cardiovascular- and respiratory-system changes, increase in muscle elasticity and contractility, etc. Flexibility exerecises and stretching are NEVER advised as a warm-up strategy because of the damage that is easily caused to cold muscles.

Watt — A measure of power equal to 6.12 kilogram-meters per minute.

Weightlifter’s headache — An exertional type of pain which may be due to intense clenching of the jaws during heavy lifts.

Weightlifting — An Olympic sport where athletes compete in defined weight classes to lift the most weight overhead. The two lifts contested are the snatch and the clean and jerk. Three attempts are given in each of the two lifts. See Olympic lifts.

Weight training — Exercise that utilizes progressive resistance movements to build strength. Practiced intensely by powerlifters, weightlifters and bodybuilders in particular, and by all athletes interested in developing any form of strength.

Weight training belt — Thick leather belt developed by weightlifters in the early part of the century, usually 4 inches wide in the back and 2 inches wide in the front, used to support lower back while doing squats, military presses, dead lifts, bent rowing, etc. Powerlifters opt for a belt that’s 4 inches wide all the way around. New research which compares the level of support afforded the lumbar spine during lifting, however, clearly shows that a belt which covers the abdominal wall between the lower ribs and the pelvis, and with a more comfortable narrow belt going around the back, is far superior to the belts traditionally worn. This new belt is called a “LORA” (acronym for Lumbar Orthopedic Repositioning Appliance).

Wellness — A state of health more positive than the mere absence of disease. Wellness programs emphasize self-responsibility for a lifestyle process that realizes the individual’s highest physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Wet-bulb thermometer — A thermometer whose bulb is enclosed in a wet wick, so that evaporation from the wick will lower the temperature reading more in dry air than in humid air. The comparison of wet-and dry-bulb readings can be used to calculate relative humidity. Cf. dry bulb thermometer, wet-globe temperature.

Wet-globe temperature —A temperature reading that approximates the heat stress which the

environment will impose on the human body. Takes into account not only temperature and humidity, but radiant heat from the sun and cooling breezes that would speed evaporation and convection of heat away from the body. Reading is provided by an instrument that encloses a thermometer in a wetted, black copper sphere. Cf. dry-bulb thermometer, wet-bulb thermometer.

Whey — A milk byproduct with a biological value of 80-88. In recent years, clinical scientists have improved the BV by enzymatically altering the bonds between the amino acids forming the protein complex. Called “engineered” whey, the BV is slightly higher than eggs. See BV

White Blood Cell — White blood cells are nucleated cells, originating from the bone marrow, that make up the infection-fighting components of the blood. White blood cells fight infections by producing antibodies, releasing immune factors, or ingesting invading bacteria or viruses.

Work — Force times distance. Measured in foot-pounds and similar units. Example: Lifting a 200-pound barbell 8 feet and lifting a 400-pound barbell 4 feet each require 1,600 foot-pounds of work.

Work measures — See foot-pounds, kilogram-meters.

Workout — A complete exercise session, ideally consisting of warm-up, intense aerobic and/or strength exercises, and cool-down.

Workrate — Power. The amount of work done per unit of time. Can be measured in foot-pounds per second, watts, horsepower, etc.

Xiao Pangmei — pronounced “shou-pang-may” — “XPM” for short) was recently put to a single blind test by Drs. Qin Zhengyu ((physiologist) and Xu Aihua (endocrinologist), both researchers at the First Military Medical University in China. These researchers noted a highly significant body fat reduction in comparison to a control group and a placebo group, which, upon further testing they discovered had resulted from:

  • Inhibition of the appetite center of the brain
  • Inhibition of intestinal absorption of glucose (direct inhibition of intestinal membrane transport)
  • Strengthened physical capacity (XPM subjects could swim longer and showed zero decrease in muscular strength despite significant weight loss)
  • There were no side effects found.

Yeast — A one-celled fungus used in brewing and leavening bread. Some yeast, such as brewer’s yeast, is highly nutritious. Many individuals are allergic to yeast. Candida albicans is a common yeast living within the body but which can multiply and produce sickness-causing toxins. Antibiotics, sugar-rich diets, birth control pills, cortisone and other drugs stimulate Candida growth.

Yerba mate — An extract from a South American (especially Argentina and Paraguay) plant used extensively as a stimulating tea drink. Contains vitamins B-1, B-2 and C, and a natural substance called mateina, which enhances energy and mental concentration. Mateina is molecularly described as a “stereo isomer” of caffeine. It initiates a thermogenic response (e.g., increased heart rate) as does caffeine, but without caffeine’s “jittery” side effects.

Zinc — Has significant roles in protein synthesis, maintenance of enzyme systems, contractibility of muscles, formation of insulin, synthesis of DNA, healing processes, prostrate health and male reproductive fluid. RDA: 15 mg. Deficiencies are common due to food processing and zinc-poor soil. Excessive sweating can drain up to 3 mg. daily. Dietary sources: meat, wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, pumpkin seeds, eggs.

Zinc Chelate is the element zinc in supplemental form and coated with protein, thus increasing the percentage that it can be assimilated by the body.

Deficiency in zinc is associated with anemia, short stature, hypogonadism, impaired wound healing, and geophagia. Zinc salts are often poisonous when absorbed by the system, producing a chronic poisoning resembling that caused by lead.

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