The lexicon of muscle-building, and training - Part 35

For example, with the assistance of helpers, a weight in excess of what you can lift by yourself would be raised to the top position of an exercise, and then you would slowly lower the weight under your own control. The helpers would enable you to return the resistance through the concentric or positive phase, so that you can perform the next negative rep by yourself. The set typically continues until you can no longer control the descent to a speed slower than about four seconds.

Neutral spine

The alignment of the spine that tolerates mechanical forces most efficiently, which can vary from person to person. It means holding yourself in a natural, upright position with the spine retaining its natural curves. Rounding the back, and arching it in an exaggerated way, distort the neutral spine. A neutral spine is related to good posture.

For some exercises, there are specific techniques necessary for safety that modify the neutral spine. For example, when setting up to lift a weight from the floor, it's important to pull the shoulders back and tense the spinal erectors. This flattens the thoracic curve, to put the back in a more robust position.

Also see Posture.


Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug or agent — for example, aspirin, ibuprofen, naprosyn, and ketoprofen.


The act of nourishing or of being nourished; the process by which organisms take in and utilize food material.


Olympic lifts

The two movements of Olympic weightlifting — the snatch, and the clean and jerk. There used to be a third lift: the standing press.

Olympic plates

Weight plates with holes large enough to fit onto the ends or sleeves of an Olympic bar, as opposed to exercise plates that have smaller holes just large enough to fit onto an exercise bar.

Olympic set

Barbell set with a revolving sleeve at each end of the bar, where the plates are placed, on a bar of total length of about seven feet. The sleeves are about two inches in diameter, and the central length of the bar is a little more than an inch in diameter. Olympic sets are commonplace in gyms today. An Olympic barbell without outer collars weighs 45 pounds or 20 kilos.

Origin, of a muscle

The point of attachment of a skeletal muscle that remains stationary (or moves the least) when that muscle contracts — opposite of insertion point. For example, the origin of the calf or gastrocnemius is the femur or thighbone.


A system of medicine originally based on the premise that manipulation of the muscles and bones, to promote structural integrity, could restore or preserve health.

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