The lexicon of muscle-building, and training - Part 7


A small, fluid-filled pouch or sac, usually found near joints, which reduces friction between structures that rub against one another, such as between a tendon and a bone.


Inflammation of a bursa.



The older meaning of cables is another term for chest expanders — springs or elastic cables attached to a pair of handles. They can be used for a variety of exercises, and through changing the number or type of springs or cables, the resistance can be changed. Because of their portability, chest expanders or cables can be used at home and on the road. But resistance usually can't be added in small increments, and the most effective cable exercises are for the upper body only.

A more recent meaning of cables refers to machine exercises that use cables.


The heel bone.

Calibrated weights

Weight plates that have been calibrated for accuracy. Cheap weight plates are likely to be inaccurate — a 45-pound plate may weigh 46 pounds, or only 43 pounds, as examples, with greater discrepancies in some cases. What you may think is, say, 200 pounds on the bar, may be 203 or perhaps only 198, unless you're using calibrated plates.


An instrument consisting of two hinged legs used to measure dimensions. Bodyfat calipers are used to measure thicknesses of subcutaneous bodyfat. Specific thicknesses at a certain sites can be used to indicate bodyfat percentage.


Exercises that require no formal equipment, such as push-ups, and sit-ups.


Units of heat energy. Burning calories means converting food into energy, or converting stores of energy in the body, such as bodyfat, into energy for activity. One gram of protein or carbohydrate yields four calories, and one gram of fat yields nine calories. The calories referred to in nutrition are actually kilocalories (kcals). Also see Kilocalories.

Cambered bench press bar

A bar that has four near-right-angle bends in its middle area, to produce a wide protrusion. This bar increases the range of motion for the bench press, but simultaneously increases the stress on the shoulder joints.

Cambered squat bar

A bar bent like a yoke, to make it better suited to the squat. The cambered squat bar has more gradual bends than a cambered bench press bar.


Microscopic blood vessel through which exchange of materials takes place between the blood and surrounding tissues.


Abbreviation for carbohydrates.

Cardiac output

The volume of blood that's pumped from the left ventricle of the heart in one minute. (The heart has four chambers — two atria on top, side-by-side, and two ventricles at the bottom, side-by-side.) Cardiac output is measured through multiplying stroke volume (the volume of blood pumped from a ventricle as it contracts) by the heart rate.

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