The Dictionary of Muscle


The humble dictionary has taken a hit since we put Google in our pockets. Who needs them anymore? Joel Snape thinks we do, ‘to expose yourself to the words you don’t know you don’t know‘. That’s the goal of the The Dictionary of Muscle, to show you the vocabulary that can help you get big and strong. And is there a better goal than getting jacked?

You don’t need to read this dictionary cover-to-cover. You can browse along and dive in as things catch your attention. When you start lifting, there’s a lot to pick up aside from the heavy things. Just learning the difference between weight lifting, bodybuilding and powerlifting took me forever.

Dictionary of Muscle Squat


After lifting now for a few years, fueled by semi-obsessive reading on the internet, I thought I recognized all the words about picking stuff up in search of gaining muscle.Turns out I’d missed some.

The Dictionary covers the terms you’ll use and come across in your search for strength. It’s got explanations for the shorthand that litters the forums and conversations around lifting. Different programs like 5/3/1 and Greyskull have explanations, as do exercises like farmers walks and Zerchers that you should be doing. The slang for steroid use is fun and many of the great figures from history get entries, from Arnold to Zatiorsky.

The biggest problem now is how to use all this language? I find myself searching for ways to use ‘dream bulk’ and ‘smolov’ in conversation. I’m one step away from posting on r/fitness on Reddit about my gainz.

At least now I know the goal is to get ‘hench’. Maybe that’s been holding me back? I didn’t have the right words.

Weightlifting for the Dictionary of Muscle
Live Hard

Joel Snape has many other excellent pieces at his website Live Hard. I recommend You Have A Moral Responsibility To Be A Bad Ass and How Understanding Evolution Will Get you Jacked.

Change Your Language, Change Your Life is another personal favourite, switching from saying ‘I have to’ to ‘I get to’ is an absolute game changer. Switch one word and your life is better.

The Dictionary of Muscle is an excellent resource, only a few bucks on Kindle and well worth any lifters time. If you want more reading on your quest for strength I would try Never Let Go by the immortal Dan John.

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