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Calisthenics Glossary (Common Training Terms)

Confused by all the fitness terms? We've consolidated the most common fitness terms in this article.

Common Training Terms

These glossaries are not limited to calisthenics or bodyweight workout, most of them are applicable to general fitness as well.

You will meet a lot of these glossaries in all the fitness content out there. So having a firm grasp of what they mean, can be really useful to understand training content.

Reps: The amount of repetitions you perform in a single set.

5 reps of pushups = 5 pushup in a row

Sets: The number of cycle of a single session, with a period of rest between each set.

3 sets of 5 pushups = Total 15 pushups

Rest: The amount of time you take to rest between each set of an exercise. Shorter rest periods are typically better for endurance, while longer rest periods are typically better for strength. Rest times for muscular hypertrophy overlap with endurance and strength.

Sets x Reps, rest 2 min between sets

3 x 5 pushups =

Set 1 - 5 pushups, rest 2 min

Set 2 - 5 pushups, rest 2 min

Set 3 - 5 pushups

Volume: The total amount of exercises performed in a workout. Can be split to particular muscle groups or exercise.

Failure: The point at which you cannot complete another repetition.

Or the point you cannot perform with perfect form.

Plateau: A plateau or stagnation in progress is when an athlete on a specific routine has stopped improving their performance—whether in strength, endurance, hypertrophy, or other factors.

Hypertrophy: Muscle building in another word. Increase in muscle size. E.g I'm doing calisthenics for hypertrophy = I'm doing calisthenics for building muscles.

Concentric: The target muscle contracts. Muscle length decreases.

E.g. In a bar chin up workout, your biceps contract and pull you up to the bar.

Eccentric: The target muscle extends. Muscle length increases.

E.g. Release slowly from the top position in a chin up workout, your biceps slowly becoming longer as you coming down.

Isometric: The muscle maintain at same length. No muscle movement involved in the whole process. Often measured in hold time. All exercises in static fashion is an isometric.

E.g. Plank, ring static hold, L-sit, German Hang, are isometric exercises.


Dynamic stretching: Great for pre-workout warmup. Get the blood flowing by moving body parts. Can be measured in repetitions.

E.g. Shoulder circling 15 reps. High knee taps for 1 minute.

Static stretching: Similar to isometric where you warming up by stretching the muscles at certain length, under certain amount of time. Usually perform after workout session.

Calisthenics Glossary

These are only applicable to bodyweight fitness and we have another article (Calisthenics Skills List) dedicated to this topic. 

  • BL = Back lever
  • FL = Front Lever
  • HS = Handstand
  • HSPU = Hand stand pushup
  • HeSPU = Head stand Pushup
  • OAC = One arm chin ups
  • OAFL = One arm front lever
  • OAP = One arm pull-ups
  • OAPL = One arm planche
  • PPPU = Pseduo planche push ups
  • PU = Push up
  • MU = Muscle-up
  • RTO = Ring Turn Out
  • SBD = Straight Bar Dip

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