Tamsin Constable

Glutes, zips and eggs: gym-speak

Fitness instructors don’t just use their muscles to impress clients – they use gym-jargon, too.  And de-coding it can, if you’re not familiar with it, be some workout.

Josh Stolz, a senior fitness trainer inNew York City, says that trainers can sometimes get too wrapped up in using anatomical terms to impress clients. (Article.)

In gyms, people can be baffled by instructions to ‘fire your glutes’, ‘relax your traps’, ‘lengthen your spine’, or ‘engage your core’, he said.

And Sara Ivanhoe, a yoga instructor, admits that anatomical terms often don’t translate well. “If I’m telling someone to soften their floating ribs in, or rotate their inner upper thighs back, people often have no idea what that means,” she said.

It reminds me of my experience with a physiotherapist, who used a brilliantly graphic way of describing what I had to do in an exercise.

‘It’s called the Zip-and-Suck,’ she said. ‘Imagine you’re zipping up your trousers and picking an egg up with your tummy button. At the same time.’

I chose to imagine a quail’s egg, because I really couldn’t fit a hen’s egg in my navel. Once I’d got that bit straight, I knew exactly how to do the exercise.  Although it did make me go a bit cross-eyed…

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