Understanding Your Program - Part 2

In Part 2, you'll learn how to understand the names of different exercises and what they involve. If you haven't read it already, please check out part 1 here.

Exercise Names

The name of most exercises will follow a common structure (shown below). This will tell you what equipment you need, the set up for the exercise, the movement and any special modifications to the repetitions. Whilst some exercises have very specific names that are non-descriptive (Dynamic Blackburns, Dead Bugs, etc.), these are generally easy to locate on YouTube.

In the example above, you can see the exercise BB Incline Bench Press. This indicates the equipment (BB), the set up (Incline) and the movement (Bench Press), and has no special rep modifications.


Most of the time the equipment needed for a given exercise will be defined, however, in the example above, you can see the first exercise is a deadlift.

Given that this could be performed with any manner of equipment, the fact that no specific equipment is named means that any option will suffice, provided it allows you to achieve the desired effort level within the desired repetition range.

This is typically used when clients are likely to be training in a commercial gym during busy times and may not therefore, have the luxury of picking and choosing what kit they use.

Most free weights equipment is abbreviated as:

1DB - 1 Dumbbell

2DB - 2 Dumbbells

1KB - 1 Kettlebell

2KB - 2 Kettlebells

BB - Barbell

TB - Trap Bar

EZ - EZ Bar

Most 'functional exercise' equipment is abbreviated as:

Bosu - Bosu


GD - Gliding Discs/Sliders

PB - Powernd

MB - Mini Band

MedB - Medicine Ball

SB - Swiss Ball/Gym Ball

ST/TRX - Suspension Trainer/TRX

FF - FreeForm Board

WB - Weighted Ball

SlamB - Slam Ball

PBag - Powerbag

BW - Bodyweight

Set Up

Most exercises will have the set up defined. In the event that no set up is specified, then any set up is acceptable.


Basic Set-Up – Hold the equipment at chest height with both hands, keeping the elbows tucked in to the body


Basic Set-Up – Hold the equipment at arms length with the arms by the sides and the hands at hip height


Basic Set-Up – Hold the equipment in front of, but close to, the body at roughly shoulder height


Some exercises in your program may have additional modifiers to either the rep structure (how the total reps are performed) or the rep execution (how each individual rep is performed). Below are some of the most common:

The first number represents the negative rep, which is the portion of the exercise where the weight is lowered. In this case, the weight should be lowered for a count of three-seconds.

The second number represents the amount of time to pause after the lowering or eccentric part of the lift. In this case, no pause.

The third symbol represents the concentric rep, which is where the weight is lifted. In this case, 1 second ('X' would indicate explosive, or as fast as possible).

The fourth number represents the amount of time to pause after the lifting or concentric phase. Again, no pause in the example shown here.

The reason for set tempos, is that changing how the weight is moved, the time under tension or the stress on a portion or position of the life, can alter the training effect considerably.

In the even that no tempo is defined, you should follow the following general guidelines:

For up to 7 reps, lower the weight under control, but lift as quickly/explosively as possible

For 8 reps or more, lower the weight under control and lift the weight smoothly without momentum