bodybuilding slang

If you’re new to the world of bodybuilding, you might be a bit bewildered by the language and terminology that is commonly used. Bodybuilders form what amounts to a sub-culture with its own unique use of slang terms, especially when it comes to talking about anabolic steroids and other supplements.

This article is written to help out newcomers with getting familiar with bodybuilding and steroid lingo, so you don’t come off like a clueless know-nothing at the gym. There are also many technical terms that you need to understand when researching performance enhancing supplements. Here you’ll also be guided through some of those technical words that are really essential to know as a starting point.

Airplane Mode

A term used at gyms to describe someone who isn’t doing any real exercise or isn’t using gym equipment effectively.


Any hormone that promotes male sex characteristics, mainly testosterone. Bodybuilding and athletic performance enhancing steroids are commonly referred to in medical and scientific literature as anabolic androgen steroids (AAS).


The process that converts testosterone into estrogen. Aromatizing above and beyond ordinary male estrogen levels when taking steroids can lead to increased fat around the waist, gynecomastia, or other feminine characteristics, along with other more serious health issues.


Combining different steroids with other drugs or supplements.


The process of gaining as much weight as possible by consuming large amounts of calories.


A beneficial burning sensation in a muscle that you are training. This burn is caused by a rapid buildup of toxins from fatigue in the muscle. This is a good indication that you are working a muscle group optimally.

Clean Bulking

Increasing weight while minimising fat accumulation in the body.

Cutting, or “Cutting up”

Stripping the body of excess bodyfat while retaining maximum muscularity.


The period of time over which a steroid is taken, after which a similar time is spent without taking the steroid.

Deca Dick

losing penile erection function from prolonged use of the steroid Nandrolone Decanoate, also known as “Deca”.


The absence of fat over muscles. Definition is often referred to as “muscularity,” and a highly defined bodybuilder has so little body fat that exceptionally fine grooves of muscularity called “striations” will be visible over each major muscle group.


Describes when a bodybuilder has done everything possible to get the best-looking muscled physique.

Dirty Bulking

Gaining weight by consuming high calorie and fatty foods including junk food.


Acronym, short for discipline, persistence, and patience.


Describes muscles that are depleted of water to show definition more clearly. Water in the muscles can mask their actual size.


Natural hormones that have “feminising” effects on the body. They are mainly produced by the ovaries, but also in small quantities by the testes in humans, by the adrenal glands, by the mammary glands or by fatty tissue. Read our article about estrogen for more information about its role in the body.


Describes chemical compounds enhance the production of estrogen in the body.


Increasing blood flow to muscles to assist intake of nutrients.


Someone who has abnormally large muscles due to use of steroids.

Full (or) Fullness

The appearance of tight muscles that press against the skin.


Usually refers to increase in muscle size or strength.


A slang term for steroids and any related equipment, such as needles or injecting kits.


Refers to the upper arm muscles such as biceps and triceps.

Gym Candy

A slang term for steroids.


Also known as “bitch tits.” This medical condition can be caused by a hormonal imbalance from taking steroids, though it can also occur naturally.

Hitting the Wall

Sudden fatigue and loss of energy during training or competition making it impossible to continue the session.


A slang term for steroids

Juice up

The act of taking steroids.


Short for macronutrients. These consist of protein, carbohydrates and fats.

Muscle Pump

The look and feeling a bodybuilder experiences when his/her muscles engorge with blood as the result of intense exercise.


Slang abbreviation for “natural”, or not using steroids for bodybuilding or performance enhancement.

Photoshop Look

Having an incredibly muscled body that is so unreal that it looks like it was enhanced using the popular image editing tool known as Photoshop.

Post Cycle Therapy

The use of various compounds to rebalance the hormones in the body after a steroid cycle.


The process of slowly increasing steroid dosage until reaching a peak ay mid-cycle, then tapering down the dosage until the end of the cycle.


Physical condition of extremely low bodyfat with superior muscle separation and vascularity. Variations include sliced, cut, and cross-straited.


An abbreviated term for steroids.


A physique with extremely low body fat with superior muscle separation. See “ripped”.


The opposite of “ripped” or “shredded”. Instead of having defined muscle separation, they are “smooth”.


Well developed, highly visible abdominal muscles that you can see under the skin.


Taking multiple steroid types at once, usually in combination with other drugs and supplements.

Test Flu

When a bodybuilder is suffering influenza type symptoms as a side-effect of steroid use.


A sex hormone that produced largely naturally in a man’s testicles. A small amount of testosterone is also produced in a woman’s ovaries and adrenal system. Among other things, Testosterone assists in the development and growth of muscle tissue.


You can see the veins stand out under the skin as a result of training and low body fat.


A body shape that bodybuilders aspire to with wide shoulders tapering to a narrow waist.

Good Luck!

So now that you can talk the talk, can you walk the walk? Knowing the lingo is one thing but getting real respect in the bodybuilding world means getting shredded and being an inspiration to your peers. This requires dedication and hard work. As they say, “no pain, no gain”. Be careful though, especially when it comes to taking steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

As language evolves in the bodybuilding sub-culture, there are bound to be new terms popping up. As we become aware of them, they’ll be added to this glossary.