The lexicon of muscle-building, and training - Part 46


Bones of the skeletal system can be divided into several groups according to various criteria such as flat bones, long bones, and irregular bones. There are 206 bones in the human skeleton. See Chapter 23



Alternative term for cut or ripped, the condition that exists when all visible fat has been dieted away.

Slow-twitch fibers

Muscle fibers that contract less quickly than fast-twitch fibers, and are resistant to fatigue. They are heavily employed in endurance activities.

Small discs

See Little discs.

Smith machine

A piece of exercise equipment that has a barbell fixed onto vertical or near-vertical bars, and which is moved up and down on smooth tracks. It's commonly used for a number of exercises, including the squat, bench press, incline press, and overhead press. It gives an illusion of safety because it simplifies technique in some exercises, removes the need for weight stands and racks, and reduces the chance of an accident relative to free-weights. It's the rigidity of bar pathway that's the serious shortcoming of the Smith machine, because it forces you to follow the bar path dictated by the machine, but the path of the bar should be dictated by the body. The Smith machine is overrated. Don't squat or perform any type of pressing movement in it.


One of the two highly skilled, Olympic weightlifting lifts, where the weight is lifted from the floor to overhead, in one motion.


A sudden, involuntary tightening of one or more muscles.


Short-term focus on a specific exercise, muscle, or muscle group, typically with increased training volume, intensity, and perhaps frequency.

Specificity of exercise

It's impossible to be a master of all components of fitness and physical well-being, including muscular development, strength, cardiorespiratory conditioning, flexibility, and low levels of bodyfat. What you get is what you specifically train for. This is the SAID principle — specific adaptation to imposed demands. Some components of fitness are incompatible when a high level of achievement is required in one component. For example, a marathon runner can't develop big, strong muscles; and a big, powerful bodybuilder won't make a good marathon runner.

Spinal cord

Portion of the central nervous system that extends through the vertebral canal.

Spinal erectors

See Erectors.


The spinal or vertebral column, or backbone, which consists of the 33 or 34 vertebrae and their associated intervertebral disks and ligaments.

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