Bodybuilding Glossary: M-N


Glossary of Terms Relevant to Bodybuilding

Macrocycle — A phase in periodization that typically involves six months to one year but may be up to four years, such as with Olympic athletes.

Mass — A term used to refer to muscle size, as in muscle mass. Term used to describe the degree of muscle size. Hence an especially large bodybuilder is referred to as “massive.”

Mesocycle — A phase in periodization usually lasting several weeks to months.

Mesomorphs – Body type characterized by large bones, low body fat levels and a greater-than-average rate of muscle growth.

Microcycle — A phase in periodization lasting a week.

Multi-joint exercise — See compound exercise.

Muscle – The series of tissue bellies located on the skeleton that serve to move and stabilize the body’s various appendages.

Muscle atrophy — See atrophy.

Muscle failure — The point during an exercise at which the muscles have fully fatigued and can no longer complete an additional rep of that exercise using strict form.

Muscularity – Another term used to describe the degree of muscular definition. The lower the body fat percentage the greater the degree of muscularity.

Muscle hypertrophy — See hypertrophy.

Nautilus – Type of exercise equipment invented by Dr. Arthur Jones. Nautilus machines employ a wide assortment of cams, pulleys and weight stacks, to work the muscle over a wide range of movement.

Negative phase of repetition — A term used to describe the eccentric portion of a muscle contraction. Emphasizing the eccentric, or negative, portion of the rep induces greater muscle damage than that caused by the concentric portion of the rep. An example of a negative phase is the lowering of the weight down to the chest during a bench press.

Negatives – A portion of the rep movement which goes in the same direction as gravity, but the user concentrates on resisting it. In most cases negatives are the downward part of an exercise. For example, during barbell curls, the downward part of the exercise is the negative half of the movement (the upward, curling part, is the positive phase).

Neuromuscular System – The combination of nerves and muscles that interact to control body movement.

Neutral Grip – A grip on a parallel bar that allows your palms to be facing each other. In this grip, your thumbs are pointing up. For example, a low pulley row with the traditional V-bar is an exercise that uses a neutral grip. Chest dips on parallel bars also use a neutral grip.

Neutral spine – The position of the spine that is considered to be good posture. In this posture, the spine is not completely straight, but has slight curves in its upper and lower regions. It is the strongest and most balanced position for the spine and needs to be maintained in many exercises.

Nutrients – The various minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates needed by the body for proper maintenance, health, and growth.

Nutrition – The art of combining foods in the right amounts so the human body receives all of its required nutrients. In bodybuilding terms, eating to gain muscle size and keep body fat levels low is considered proper nutrition.


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