4 Ways to Improve Your Fitness Form

If you've been going to the gym regularly and not seeing great results, it may be because you're unknowingly mangling your moves (no offense). The truth is, most people make tiny but key errors in their techniques, and these mistakes prevent them from building muscle and burning more calories. We selected four basic moves that have a tendency to trip women up, and asked top trainers for form fixes. Apply their tips to upgrade your routine... and your body.

1. Lunges

What You Do Wrong:

You lean forward, causing your front heel to rise.

1. "Narrow your starting stance," says Gray Cook, author of Athletic Body in Balance. The closer your feet are, the harder your core has to work to stabilize your body.

2. "As you do the lunge, focus on moving your torso only up and down, not pushing it forward," says Craig Rasmussen, a fitness coach at Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. This keeps your weight balanced evenly through your front foot, allowing you to press into the floor with your heel, which tones more lower-body muscle.

Quick Tip

Drop your back knee straight down to the floor.

2. Squats

What You Do Wrong:

You start the movement by bending your knees.

1. As you squat, imagine you're sitting down into a chair, rather than forward on top of your knees. Push your hips back first instead of beginning by bending your knees, which puts more stress on your joints, says Dan John, a strength coach in Burlingame, California.

2. Women tend to lean forward on their toes, but they should sit back into their heels. Try this fix: Pretend that you're standing on a paper towel, says Charlie Weingroff, lead physical therapist for the U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. "Then imagine trying to rip the towel apart by pressing your feet onto the floor and outward." This activates your glutes, which helps you use heavier weights and break through plateaus.

Quick Tip

As you stand, think about pushing the floor away from your body, rather than lifting your body.

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