N1 Glossary


Refers to the activation of an enzyme called AMPK which is found inside certain cells. In the context of training we are focused specifically on its activation in muscle cells.  AMPK is considered the master regulator of cellular energy metabolism.  When activated, it stimulates the uptake of glucose into the cells. It can be a valuable tool to take advantage of for body composition goals.

Antagonist Muscle Group

Muscles that create movement opposite of one another. Examples would be the biceps and triceps or the quadriceps and hamstrings.

Ascending Load

Gradually increasing load across multiple sets, usually with the same number of reps.  Using an ascending load protocol is one of the easiest ways to work on increasing intensity of contraction while maintaining or improving execution. By gradually increasing the loads from sub-maximal levels of effort it allows you to focus more on execution and the skill of the movement in earlier sets while practicing the movement patterns for using heavier loads.

Read More Here: Set & Rep Methods: Ascending Load

Cluster Sets

Performing multiple (3-4) clusters of reps (1-6)  with extremely short rest periods (10-20 seconds), which count as one “set”.

Read More Here: Set & Rep Methods: Cluster Sets

Force Profile / Curve

Refers to our ability to produce force in a given movement throughout its entire range of motion when we account for both the strength curve of the muscle in addition to the joint mechanics involved.

Giant Sets

Rotating between 3+ exercises.


The form of stored carbohydrates in your cells as chains of glucose. Most predominant in muscle tissue and the liver.

Incomplete Rest Method

A simple and effective way to create a local metabolic stimulus.  You’ll choose a given weight based on the goal reps and then taking rest periods short enough that you are not completely recovered before beginning the next set. In a basic IRM you should use the same weight for all sets. The goal is accumulation of lactic acid and to hit failure by fatigue only on the last 1-2 sets.

Read More Here: Set & Rep Methods: Incomplete Rest


A part of the recovery and repair process initiated by the body in response to particular stressors. There are different types of inflammation and can be local or systemic in nature.


Organelles within your cells that are responsible for the majority of energy production (creation of ATP) by using both fatty acids and glucose as a fuel source.

Neurological Efficiency

Refers to the relative ability of an individual to recruit a percentage of their maximum number of muscle fibers in a single contraction.  It is a trait that can be improved with training and has a significant impact on the training stimulus one can achieve in a workout and influences how their workouts should be ideally designed.

Overloaded Position

The point where there is the greatest resistance in an exercise .  This is the “peak” of the resistance profile if it were drawn on a graph.


The planned progression and ordering of training programs with different stimuli and phases to result in the fastest possible progress towards an individual’s goal.  It is NOT just varying the number of sets or perceived level of effort across weeks or months.

Read More Here: Intro to Periodization Part 1

Phases of Training

The three phases of training are essentially the primary categories that all types of training fall under.  They each consist of a number of characteristics but it is important to keep in mind that they lie on a continuum and there can be overlap between adjacent phases depending where the workout falls on the spectrum. Each phase refers to the primary goal or adaptations that come along with training in that area of the continuum. The three phases are: metabolic, hypertrophy, and neurological.

Read More Here: The 3 Phases of Training Explained

Metabolic Phase

The methods used in this phase burn a ton of energy (ATP) and burn glucose very quickly. If the nutrition is correct, the stimuli within the metabolic phase can work very well for quickly changing body composition and increasing conditioning both at a muscular and systemic level.

Read More Here: The 3 Phases of Training Explained

Hypertrophy Phase

The workouts in this phase focus on the different stimuli for adding size to muscles by encouraging the increase of the size of muscle intracellular storage of glycogen (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy), increasing the amount of contractile muscle tissue (myofibrillar hypertrophy), or increasing the number of nuclei in muscle cells (myonuclear domain). Each of these have different benefits that will all be needed to achieve maximum muscle mass.

Read More Here: The 3 Phases of Training Explained

Neurological Phase

The neurological phase focuses predominantly on creating adaptations of the nervous system.  You may hear this referred to as a “strength phase”, but that is not entirely accurate. The focus of training in this phase is to improve aspects of your nervous system such as the ability to contract more muscle fibers (motor units) at once, which we refer to as neurological efficiency.

It can also help you improve the ability to maintain execution at heavier loads where you’ll be required to create more stability with supporting musculature.

Read More Here: The 3 Phases of Training Explained


To increase the outcome of a future action.  For example, the adaptations gained from a previous stimulus complimenting the ability to benefit or perform in a future stimulus.


First exercise more closely matches the force curve of the muscle and the second exercise overloads a specific portion of the range of motion or muscle length.

Learn More on Post-Exhaust methods for different muscle groups HERE


First exercise overloads a specific portion of the range of motion or muscle length and the second exercise more closely matches the force curve of the muscle.

Program Design

The construction of a training plan, consisting of multiple workouts, utilizing specific variables (tempo, rest periods, exercise selection, exercise order, etc) to create a desired stimulus for a certain goal.

Learn More Here: Webinar: Training Variables for Program Design

Improve your skills: Course 02 – Nutrition & Program Design for Trainability

Resistance Profile / Curve

Refers to the resistance a given exercise provides throughout its entire range of motion if it were drawn on a graph.

Stimulus / Stimuli

Training stimuli refers to specific conditions created by the type of training that elicits a particular response from the body. Think of it like a trigger that results in an adaptation.

By manipulating workout variables, we create a certain biological state in the body that stimulates processes to take place which can either positively or negatively affect our progress.

Each of these stimuli can contribute to one or more of our overall goals of fat loss, recomposition, muscle gain, or strength increase.

Read More Here: Training Stimuli – What Are They?

Mechanical Damage

Micro-trauma or tears that occur in muscle tissue as a result from training that stimulates protein synthesis to repair the damaged tissue. It also stimulates acute inflammation as a part of the healing process.  Can be biased more or less based on the design of the workout.

Oxidative Stress

 A buildup of reactive oxygen species (ROS) within cells that can damage the organelles within the cells, or eventually kill the cells themselves.  An accumulation of ROS can create cellular inflammation and decrease the cell’s ability to produce energy.

Strength Profile / Curve

Refers to the ability of a muscle to produce force throughout its contractile range if it were drawn on a graph.

Super Sets

Performing two exercises in an alternating fashion.

Synergist Muscle Group

Muscles that contribute to the movement being performed, but that are not necessarily the prime movers for the exercise. Examples would be the anterior deltoids and triceps in a chest press.


The time spent in each portion of a rep, which is broken down into four sections: concentric (shortening the target musculature), shortened position, eccentric (lengthening the target musculature), lengthened position.  Usually displayed as four numbers representing the seconds spent in each portion.

Read More Here: Understanding Tempo


The portion of a rep where the target musculature is shortening. For example, when the elbow is flexing during a dumbbell curl or when the handles are travelling towards you during a row or pulldown.

Read More Here: Understanding Tempo


The portion of a rep where the target musculature is lengthening. For example, when the elbow is extending during a dumbbell curl or when the handles are travelling away from you during a row or pulldown.

Read More Here: Understanding Tempo


Squeezing a muscle to create tension without moving. Usually involves some degree of co-contraction of the antagonist musculature. Most often this is performed in the shortened range of an exercise.

Read More Here: Static Hold VS Isometric VS Isometronic


Squeezing a muscle as hard as possible against a resistance that prevents you from moving.  This can be performed at any portion of the rep and is different from an isometric. An isometronic is a 100% effort voluntary contraction but movement is prevented by the resistance.

Read More Here: Static Hold VS Isometric VS Isometronic


The ability to recover from and adapt to a given stimulus at a point in time.  It is the difference between how much volume of a stimulus is required to trigger an adaptation and your maximum amount of volume of that stimulus you are able to recover from.  Trainability varies by stimulus and is constantly changing as you adapt, recover, and progress.


3 consecutive exercises for the same muscle group.


An approximation of the amount of stimulus provided by a workout. It is NOT a simple multiplication of sets x reps x weight. It is relative to the stimulus and volume cannot be compared between vastly different stimuli (for example neurological and metabolic workouts).

Read More Here: Q&As: Volume / Understanding Volume

Junk Volume

Sets that either (1) do not contribute to the goal stimulus of the workout or (2) that are in excess of your recoverability.

Read More Here: Junk Volume Definition / Junk Volume Explained

More Articles

More Videos

Back to Blog