Jeremy Gray takes a tongue-in-cheek look at common muscle building bro-lingo, and helps you to figure out what kind of lifter you are, bro. If you even lift, that is.

Are you swole, jacked or yoked? Let's take a look at modern lifting lingo and see what it says about your physique.

Words like meathead, yoked and swole are everyday words to us bros who lift weights. (Do you even lift?) But to the regular schmoe, or to the iron game newb, these words can make no sense at all.

If you're confused, I want to help. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular lifting lingo and what it says about your physique.

Are you a meathead?

A meathead is someone that can be found with some form of protein either in their hands, or near them at all times. Any type of meat or protein powder is acceptable, as long as it provides at least 20-30 grams of protein per serving.

From an appearance standpoint a meathead looks like they lift, but that's about it. They have brawn, but do they have the brains to back it up? No one knows, because a meathead can't stop talking about lifting long enough for anyone to find out.

A meathead is obsessed with the gym. They talk about lifting non-stop and usually wear bodybuilding apparel, or an under armor shirt that doesn’t fit.

Meatheads are the reason bodybuilders and powerlifters are assumed to be as dumb as a box of rocks. All they know how to do is pick stuff up and put it down.

Are you a guerilla?

Revived in popularity by the TV show Jersey Shore, a guerilla is a large bro that may or may not be on special supplements. Guerillas usually wear smedium T-shirts, and can be found taking selfies in the bathroom mirror either at home or at the gym. It should be noted that guerillas only train cosmetic muscles.

Here is a breakdown of a typical guerilla workout routine:

  • Monday – Chest, Triceps, Abs
  • Tuesday – Back, Biceps, Abs
  • Wednesday – Shoulders, Traps, Abs
  • Thursday – Chest, Triceps, Abs
  • Friday – Back, Biceps, Abs
  • Saturday – Shoulders, Traps, Abs

A guerilla's physique is characterized by over-developed front delts, invisible lat syndrome and chicken legs.

Are you swole?

Are you a gym rat?

Gym rats are leaner than most gym members, but do not have much of a physique.

The pinnacle of gym rat's glory occurs when they are able to spot a bicep or forearm vein mid-workout. Things are getting pretty serious, bro.

Gym rats specialize in half-squat reps, bouncing bench presses, cable crossovers (that involve using too much weight), and cheat curls. They never re-rack their dumbbells, opting to simply drop them on the gym floor when they are done.

Gym rats are bad news. They love to offer unsolicited advice about lifts they don’t do correctly (or at all), and know every CT Fletcher video word for word. Gym rats love to read muscle magazines, switch programs every week, and enjoy talking about muscle confusion and re-igniting gains.

Are you swole?

Being called swole can mean several possible things. It can imply that you are either larger than most gym rats (which really doesn't say much), that you are temporarily pumped up and looking bigger than normal (which really isn't saying much either), or that you took a cool selfie and made yourself look 5x bigger than you really are.

If someone describes themselves as feeling swole, it means they probably don't look like they even lift, and are currently experiencing some form of a muscle pump resulting from accidentally pushing a set to failure.

Being legitimately swole has its downsides. Finding jeans that fit correctly can take some time, and usually results in having to sacrifice comfort in your men-regions.

Are you yoked?

Being yoked is a sign of strength. To be yoked means you can deadlift a lot of weight, and you’ve paid your iron dues. It also means you have traps, but no abs.

The downside of being yoked is that your neck looks like it doesn’t even exist. Finding shirts to drape across those beautiful traps and shoulders can be difficult.

People who are yoked never get asked if they lift. It's obvious.

Are you shredded?

Being shredded means you have eliminated most subcutaneous water and body fat from your physique. Muscle magazines like to feature shredded bro-theletes (aka physique competitors) in their natural habitats - on a beach or in front of a mirror. These magazines also portray the condition of being shredded as maintainable year-round.

The term shredded wheat means that you can see the striations in your butt. Simply stated, your glutes look like the popular breakfast cereal Shredded Wheat.

Unfortunately, 130 pound guys can get away with being called shredded. For this reason, being called shredded is not always a good thing. The term can be used facetiously, especially if your deadlift max is less than 135 pounds.


Are you jacked?

Being jacked is a term of endearment. It means you are quite large, have more muscle than the average gym member and look like you lift.

If you are jacked you've probably been training for years and have an understanding of what type of training and diet works best for your body. Unfortunately, your ego encourages you to push this training and eating style upon other lifters. You believe you have all the magic secrets, and like to let everyone know.

Jacked individuals are the envy of bro lifters everywhere, including gym rats and meatheads. if you are jacked, people are constantly asking you how much ya bench?

Are you a bro-lifter?

If someone calls you a bro-lifter, then it's obvious you never train your legs. Your daily training routine consists of working your chest, arms and abs.

A bro-lifter knows exactly what the perfect workout routine looks like, but doesn't use it because they "hurt their knees playing football in high school." This tragic story is usually accompanied by a claim that the bro-lifter squatted 650 pounds before he took one to the knee.

Bro-lifters secretly hate to train legs because it pulls blood out of the biceps, minimizing arm pumps and slowing arm gains.

Bro-lifters often keep a set of dumbbells next to their bed, and make sure to do a set of curls before and after they sleep each day.

Are you beef cake?

A somewhat forgotten term (that should be used more often), a beef cake is a smooth, somewhat pudgy lifter who would be jacked if they lost the excess fat. Many powerlifters, and 40-something men who have no desire (or remaining metabolism) to become super-lean fit into this category.

If you want a good laugh, check out the South Park episode where Cartman starts taking mass gainer shakes and becomes a “beef cake.”

Are you ripped?

Being ripped is similar to jacked, except that a ripped individual is smaller. People who are ripped have slightly more muscle mass and less fat than the average Joe. They stay lean year round, which may or may not be due to their rapid metabolism. They also never add any additional muscle mass. 

A ripped lifter with less muscle mass would be called skinny fat.

Guys who are ripped usually weigh between 140-175 pounds and walk around acting like pro bodybuilders. They might have a nice physique, but almost always think they have an amazing physique.

It is possible to remain ripped year round, especially if you practice intermittent fasting and post pictures of desserts you wish you were eating on Facebook.

Are you skinny fat?

Skinny-fat guys have no muscle tone. In clothes they appear to look normal, but without a shirt on they look pudgy and can’t flex muscle because they don’t have any.

Are you buff?

Girls use the term buff to describe their boyfriends. A buff male is usually just an average gym rats or meathead. People who are buff don’t look like they lift, and do not squat or deadlift.

If anyone describes you as buff, it most certainly means that you need to get your ass in gear. Time to start training hard and eating right.

Are you cut?

“Cutting up” is a term the bros use to describe the process of dropping 5 pounds of fat (really just water weight). Being cut up means you are able to see some bicep and tricep definition, but it also means your arms are only 12-13" in size.

Lifters who want to be cut can't stop talking about six pack abs.  They do 100s of crunches per day and use a cutting diet 360 days a year.

Are you huge?

One step above jacked, being huge is a term used to describe modern mass monster pro bodybuilders. To be huge you must take special supplements and training several times per day. Being huge implies you are a sidewalk-breaking freak of nature.

Most people have aspirations of being huge, but after a few years of busting ass and trying to eat right, they realize there is a reason that true mass monsters are a rare breed.

Other noteworthy terms

There are a near-endless number of terms that include the word bro or swole. Some of my favorites are:

  • Beef Swellington
  • Swoldier
  • Brodozer
  • Hard Body
  • Swole Diesel
  • Masster
  • Swolebraham Lincoln
  • Almond Broca – Think pro bodybuilder bronze spray tan.
  • Cornfed
  • Tanked

In all seriousness, getting the physique you want will take a lot of hard work and dedication. Eat right, train hard, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Quit making excuses why you can’t do this or that and make it happen.

Then, and only then, will you find your swole mate!

Matty B Ice T
Posted on: Wed, 02/14/2024 - 14:48

This was a very funny article to read but wdym your Neck is invisible with the yoked physique? Your neck and Traps are what build the yoke, Neck curls, bridges, extensions, etc.

Posted on: Sun, 06/26/2022 - 21:50

Just coming over the Darkside, I guess I was a cardio bunny, a dude one. Can you say manorexic tongue in cheek, or is that too dark? For the first time in my life, I am feeling pressure between my upper arms and lats and it's freaking me out. Can one get hurt falling from a pull up bar?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 06/27/2022 - 08:57

You can if it's a long enough drop or you have something underneath you. Swap it for a pull up assistant or doing lat pulldowns. If you feel pain with those as well, go see a doc.

Bingo Narr
Posted on: Tue, 05/31/2022 - 01:57

whaddya call someone who's sorta skinny but you can still see decent delts, lats, biceps, triceps, quads, calves and 4pac abs on? also, are shin muscles normal?

Posted on: Fri, 05/14/2021 - 02:21

Meanwhile, Jeremy Gray looks like he eats cupcakes and curls donuts all day. Kind of funny, really. Sorry, bro. If you're going to make fun of everyone in the gym, gotta poke fun at the overweight trainer dude too.

Posted on: Tue, 11/17/2020 - 22:39

Hey how's it going, I really enjoyed reading this article. But, I am having a hard time deciding which one of these categories I am, could u help me out? I weigh 170 and I am 17

Posted on: Sat, 04/14/2018 - 04:42

Let's face it, most people go to the gym to get pussy, cock or admiring glances. Looking like you have a weird enlarged muscle disease is not attractive. Unless you have very skinny legs then why not just do upper body stuff? At least your shirts and trousers will fit! Huge traps make you look stupid.... Guys who just want muscle like that seem to be scared of something. Women want muscles that will love and cuddle us, provide food and protect our offspring... That's what evolution says.... If you have no neck and legs 5x the size of your arms then you don't look like you could hunt and take down an antelope. You barely look like you can walk. If you like that look then fine. But don't dis others for going for a different more natural look.

Posted on: Fri, 03/29/2019 - 17:07

Shit.... I will straight choke an antelope out with a well worn wrist wrap! I consider myself Jacked for sure. Not quite BREAKING sidewalks, maybe a hairline fracture or two though... ;)

Posted on: Thu, 04/06/2017 - 10:51

"The downside of being yoked is that your neck looks like it doesn’t even exist. Finding shirts to drape across those beautiful traps and shoulders can be difficult.

People who are yoked never get asked if they lift. It's obvious."

The author of this post, I have no words, I am your eternal fan from here on out.

Posted on: Thu, 04/02/2015 - 08:17

I'm trying to figure a name for the n00b in the gym; the kids who just do endless bicep curls because they think that's what the girls like, or have no desire to either do some research, get a trainer or even mimic what others do. It's the person you want to offer a tiny bit of advice to, even if it's a "did you know, triceps make up two-thirds of your upper arm?" comment, but dare not for the fear of being hounded for free training by your new gym buddy.

Posted on: Sun, 07/13/2014 - 12:07

Seems like "hate" is begetting "hate" here. The writer didn't come up with these names. Everyone else did. He's just trying to make sense of it for amusement sake. What's the top of the article say? "Jeremy Gray takes a tongue-in-cheek look..."

Harpreet Singh
Posted on: Fri, 07/04/2014 - 12:09


Posted on: Fri, 07/04/2014 - 09:08

So I'm 24 and I believe I was a beefcake a while but now working on the path to get "yoked"?? what??

Posted on: Fri, 07/04/2014 - 05:57

I am all of the above, at regular intervals throughout the year... depending upon my self esteem levels and relationship status... which at the moment is single .. a.k.a Right now I'm riding Swolo!

jude nieva
Posted on: Thu, 07/03/2014 - 22:14

This guy is seriously a Hater. #hatechabro