Posted on November 29, 2021 by Josh Davies

Here at motive8 North our personal trainers welcome a wide range of gym goers, but we’re probably best known for helping gym newbies become gym pros… At some other gyms there’s a tendency to assume that everyone always knows what the gym lingo is…reps, sets, DOMS, intervals, HIIT…it can get very confusing.

With that in mind, we thought it might be useful to explain some terms that you might not be sure about…here goes:


The barbell is that long metal bar that you can put weight plates on the end of! A standard (or Olympic) barbell is normally 7 foot in length and weighs 20kg. Some gyms will also have shorter bars which weigh 15kg (check the ends of the bar or ask someone if you’re unsure).


The dumbbells are the weights with the shorter handles. They’re usually fixed weights and should clearly display how much they weigh. Unsure how much they weigh? Ask someone!


These are the funny looking weights with the big handles. They SHOULD be colour coded and clearly display how much they weigh, but they can be deceivingly heavy so double check before you go to grab one off the rack!


Rep is short for repetition and is the number of times you perform a specific exercise. 


Set is the number of cycles of reps that you complete. For example, suppose you complete 15 reps of a bench press. You would say you’ve completed “one set of 15 reps”. 


DOMS stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and is something you may be familiar with if you’ve used the gym before! It refers to the muscular soreness you feel on the day(s) after you’ve done a particularly hard or new type of workout. Don’t panic though…it gets less painful!

Interval Training

Interval training is a series of repeated bouts of exercise with periods of rest and recovery in between. These intervals can range from seconds or minutes.


HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and refers to alternating periods of very hard exercise interspersed with periods of recovery. HIIT intervals are generally fairly short to allow for almost maximum efforts.


EMOM stands for ‘Every Minute On the Minute’ – this is a type of interval training where the goal is to perform a given number of reps of an exercise (or exercises) within 1 minute, and rest for the remainder of that minute. You’d then either repeat the same thing, or move onto a different exercise or exercises.


AMRAP stands for ‘As Many Reps As Possible’  – you can occasionally (sparingly!) use these in your workouts and do as many reps as you can with a given exercise until you can’t do anymore!

We have a whole host of blogs on top tips on our website here. Is there anything else you’re unsure of? Let us know!