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Glossary of Coaching Terms

Every important coaching and fitness term explained.

These exercises complement an athlete’s primary training, add extra volume, and help support muscle gain.
This is a training phase in which the goal is to perform more volume at a lower intensity to build strength and improve work capacity.
Activation exercises engage specific muscles before training to improve the mind-muscle connection and improve workout performance.
Agonist muscles are the prime movers that produce the most force to create movement.
Altitude training is an approach in which athletes train 6000-9800 feet above sea level to improve their aerobic capacity and lactic acid tolerance.
AMRAP is an acronym for as many reps (or rounds) as possible and applies to traditional gym training and metabolic conditioning workouts.
The highest sustainable training intensity at which lactate doesn’t build up in the bloodstream to a significant degree.
An antagonist muscle has the opposite function of an agonist (which is the prime mover during an activity).
The anterior chain refers to a group of muscles located on the front of the body that play a role in numerous activities.
Asymmetrical training loads the body unevenly to improve balance, coordination, and sport-specific skills.
This is an approach where workout intensity and volume change based on trainees’ daily performance readiness.
Bilateral exercises are those in which both sides of the body work together to produce movement.
Biomechanical analysis is a scientific method for examining movement using special tools, such as force platforms and motion monitoring software.
Block periodization is a method of segmenting a long-term training plan into individual phases, each focusing on specific short-term goals.
Blood flow restriction (BFR) involves tightening a cuff around the top of a limb to reduce the venous return of blood from the muscles, allowing for more effective training with lighter weights.
A body recomposition means building muscle and losing body fat simultaneously.
Bracing is an essential method for improving whole-body stability, leading to better athletic performance and safety during training.
Concurrent training combines resistance and cardio training to simultaneously develop strength, power, endurance, and hypertrophy.
The conjugate method is a training system developed by Louie Simmons to help athletes build strength, strength-endurance, and explosiveness.
Corrective exercise identifies movement dysfunction and uses activities tailored to the individual to correct them.
This is fatigue that builds up over time due to excessive physical stress combined with poor recovery.
This type of training improves athletes’ ability to slow down more efficiently and safely.
Deload weeks are planned periods of less challenging training that promote recovery and reduce fatigue that can build up over time.
Density training is an approach where the goal is to complete as much work (such as rounds of exercise) as possible in a specific period.
Detraining is the partial or complete loss of training adaptations (e.g., muscle strength) in response to reduced or discontinued training.
Dorsiflexion raises the foot toward the shin or the back of the hand toward the forearm.
Double progression uses strategic weight and rep increases to improve performance and build strength.
The drive phase is the first stage of sprinting, where the athlete aims to reach the highest possible speed.
Eccentric loading means forcing the muscle to produce force against external resistance as it lengthens.
Every minute on the minute is an approach where the athlete does an activity at the start of each minute and rests until the next minute.
An ergogenic aid is a compound or device that improves physical performance during training or competition.
It is a scientific study of the body’s response and adaptation to physical stress, such as exercise.
It refers to the specific fitness plan a fitness professional designs, individualizes, and prescribes to a client.
Exercise progression means increasing the difficulty and complexity of a movement to keep a trainee challenged.
Exercise regression means modifying a movement to reduce its difficulty or complexity.
Exercise selection is the process of choosing what movements to include in a training plan.
This condition results in significant muscle breakdown due to physical exertion that poses substantial health risks.
Lengthened partials are a training technique that focuses on partial repetitions. The goal is to keep muscles at a longer average length (stretched position) throughout the set.
Linear periodization is a programming method where training intensity gradually increases while training volume decreases, typically as a way of building strength.
A macrocycle is a long training period to achieve a specific long-term objective. Depending on the athlete and their goals, it can last a few months or several years.
The total amount of force a muscle or muscle group can produce against an external object, such as a loaded barbell.
Metabolic conditioning is a workout style trainees can use to have quick, varied, and effective sessions that improve their cardiovascular, metabolic, and muscular capacity.
A microcycle is the shortest possible block of training that typically lasts one week.
Muscle activation occurs when the brain sends signals for muscles to contract, which is possible thanks to the interaction between nerves and muscles through neuromuscular junctions.
This is a measure of muscle fibers’ ability to return to their normal length after stretching or shortening.
Muscle atrophy is the breakdown of muscle protein that results in a gradual decrease in muscle size and strength.
Neuromuscular efficiency measures the ability of the nervous system to promote muscle contractions and produce movement.
This concept states that previous intense (but not fatiguing) muscle contractions can temporarily improve force output.
Recovery strategies are active and passive methods that aim to help athletes recover from their training and progress toward their goals.


RPE stands for rate of perceived exertion and is a scale used to measure workout intensity and effort.
It refers to the body’s unique ability to develop specific adaptations based on the type and magnitude of physical activity.
Stimulus to fatigue refers to an exercise’s stimulative effect versus the fatigue it generates.
Strength and conditioning (S&C) is an approach that aims to improve athletes’ strength, power, endurance, and overall physical performance.
Strength endurance is the ability of muscles to exert force repeatedly over extended periods.
The physiological adaptations that result in response to more demanding training than usual, followed by a period of recovery.
A synergist muscle assists an agonist muscle (the prime mover), allowing for smoother, more efficient, and more powerful movement.
Tapering is a training strategy where competitors reduce their training volume while maintaining intensity and frequency to recover and perform as well as possible on competition day.
A stretch reflex is an involuntary muscle contraction resulting in response to a muscle’s passive lengthening.
Undulating periodization shifts training intensity and volume from workout to workout or week to week to offset the repeated bout effect.

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