1. Active Recovery
This is one way to spend your "rest" day. So instead of lounging on the couch all day you'll schedule some sort of low-intensity activity like light walking or gentle yoga. The reason why you might want to do this, instead of nothing, is that incorporating gentle movement into these days can help with circulation (which can ease soreness and reduce muscle fatigue). And remember, whether it's gentle activity or complete rest, your body needs time to recover-when you work out, you're breaking down muscle fibers, and recovery is when the real magic happens as your muscles rebuild stronger.
2. Aerobic Exercise
"Often we call all cardio 'aerobics,' but aerobic is actually a specific energy system," explains Lefkowith. "[Energy systems] relate to how your body produces energy to fuel your workouts." During aerobic exercise, your body uses oxygen for energy, which helps keep you moving for an extended period of time, like a long walk, run, or bike ride.
3. Anaerobic Exercise
On the other hand, your anaerobic energy system is taxed when you do high-intensity workouts that skyrocket your heart rate. "Anaerobic activities are short intervals of work used to improve speed and power," explains Lefkowith. During these activities, your muscles use oxygen can't deliver energy to your muscles fast enough).
4. Boot Camp
These classes are rooted in military-style training, so are typically pretty tough, and they often include a combination of cardio and strength exercises. "Boot camp programs are designed to build strength and fitness through a variety of intense group intervals," explains Denver-based personal trainer Tara Laferrara. "It often starts with running, followed by a wide variety of interval training, including bodyweight moves like push-ups and sit-ups, and various types of intense explosive exercises.”
Think of this as a "round" of exercises. For example, in this bodyweight circuit workout, one circuit consists of 5 burpees, 10 push-ups, 15 plank jacks, and 20 jump squats. "You are moving from one exercise right to the next with [minimal] rest in between each exercise," says Laferrara.
6. Compound Exercises
A compound exercise is a move that incorporates multiple muscle groups, like lunges, deadlifts, and squats. It may also refer to two moves being strung together, like a bicep curl to a shoulder press. Compound exercises are efficient for increasing overall muscle mass and burning calories (because they require more effort to complete), as opposed to isolation exercises, which focus on working just one muscle group (like a bicep curl).
This is what you do at the end of your workout. The goal is to gradually bring your body back to a resting state by lowering your heart rate and calming your nervous system. This is typically done with lighter movements and passive stretches (ones that are held in place for about 10 seconds or more).
Cross-training means mixing in different workouts and training methods rather than focusing on just one type of workout. Not only does this help create a well-balanced fitness plan, but it can help you reach specific goals, too. For example, if you're getting ready to run a race, you'll want to cross-train with strength and yoga workouts, which will complement your running and help improve your performance and decrease the chance of injury by building muscle and increasing flexibility. "If you only include one form of training, you may be holding yourself back from the results you deserve," says Lefkowith.
DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness, which is the soreness you feel the day or two after a hard workout. This happens because when you're working out you're damaging muscle fibers (that's a good thing!). The muscle then repairs and rebuilds and that's how you get stronger. The soreness and pain you feel from DOMS comes from the chemicals that set off pain receptors during the repair process, Robert Hyldahl, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at Brigham Young University, previously explained to SELF. This soreness may last anywhere from 24 to 72 hours after your workout. (Here's what to do when DOMS kicks in after a workout.)
10. Dynamic Warm-Up
This is what you should be doing before exercise to raise your heart rate and body temperature in preparation for the workout. During this type of warm-up, you moving through stretches and light exercises without stopping (as opposed to a passive stretches, which are held in place, like you do in a cool-down). This helps increase mobility and range of motion so you can get deeper into exercises. Here are five great dynamic warm-up stretches to try.
11. Foam Rolling
"Foam rolling is a form of massage (or trigger point release) that you can do to loosen tight muscles to help improve your mobility," says Lefkowith. Using a foam roller helps smooth out "knots" in your fascia (the layer of connective tissue surrounding your muscles), which can get in the way of your range of motion. This is crucial for performing exercises with correct form and making sure the right muscle fibers are firing away. While you can stop, drop, and foam roll anytime, it's often recommended to spend a few minutes with the foam roller before your workout to help get the juices flowing.
12. Functional Moves
"This generally refers to exercises that help you move and feel better in every day life," says Lefkowith. These exercises often mimic the ways you move outside of the gym—for example, you’d use many of the same muscle groups to perform a squat as you would to crouch down and tie your shoe.
13. Heart Rate Zones
Your heart rate refers to how many beats per minute (BPM) your heart is pumping, and when it comes to working out, knowing your heart rate can help determine if you're working at the right intensity. You have your resting heart rate, which is how fast your heart is beating when you're doing nothing (the best way to measure this is to take your pulse first thing in the morning). Generally speaking, this gets lower as you get more fit because your heart doesn't have to work as hard to pump out blood (although if you have a naturally low resting heart rate thanks to genetics, it may not get much lower, and that's totally fine, says Lefkowith). According to the American Heart Association, the average is 60-100 BPM. You also have your maximum heart rate, which is the hardest your heart can work efficiently.
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. "This refers to tough quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up," explains Laferrara, while also (typically) decreasing the overall amount of time you spend training. This workout is great for burning fat because the intense intervals help kick-start the process known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption helps you burn more calories even after you stop working out as your body has to work harder and take in more oxygen to return to its resting state.
15. Interval Training
An interval is simply a period of activity or a period of rest. While this often refers to HIIT workouts, explains Lefkowith, you can implement intervals in pretty much any workout. Maybe that's 30 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest, or 15 minutes of work and 2 minutes of rest—it depends on what you're doing and what your goals are.
"Isometric exercises are where you hold a position under tension and just stay in that position for a set amount of time," says Lefkowith. Think wall sits and planks. "They are a great way to build stability and strength. And holding a position that is uncomfortable can help build mental strength so you can even push harder during your workouts."
It's not an exact science, but when you hear the term plyometric, you can go ahead and think jumping and breathlessness. Examples would include squat jumps, box jumps, broad jumps, and burpees. One of the main purposes of these explosive exercises is increasing power, says Laferrera. Having more power means you can recruit muscle fiber faster and more efficiently, which pays off when you're moving heavy objects or working on sprinting drills in the gym, adds Lefkowith. Plus, because these moves get your heart rate up, they're big calorie-burners. Here are seven plyometric moves you can do at home.
Shorthand for repetitions. Saying 12 reps means doing an exercise 12 times.
Resistance means how much weight your muscles are working against to complete a movement. That can mean anywhere from your own bodyweight to a set of five-pound dumbbells to a 50-pound kettlebell.
This stands for rate of perceived exertion, and refers to intensity. It's a point of reference that trainers often use to communicate how hard you should be working since what feels easy or challenging is different for everyone. On the RPE scale a 1 pretty much means zero effort while a 10 means you're working harder than you thought you possibly could.