Squats are one of the most effective exercises for a stronger, fitter you—but only if you are doing them right! Before you squat out another rep, make sure you’re aren’t falling victim to these common mistakes:

1. Letting your knees cave in

When your knees move toward each other during a squat, it can put pressure on your knee ligaments resulting in injury. Unfortunately, a combination of wide hips and weak inner- and outer-thighs can make this a not-so-simple mistake to correct. Using lateral band walks are a great way to strengthen your inner and outer thighs. Also experiment with changing your stance-width by trying a wider stance as well as a more narrow one—and try to focus on sitting back more in your squat!

2. Not lowering to 90 degrees

You will never reap the full benefits of an exercise unless you are completing its full range of motion. For squats, this means squatting all the way down until your thighbone is parallel with the floor to fully engage your glutes and the upper part of your hamstrings. Basically, you aren’t going to get the booty you want by half-assing your squats!

3. Lifting too little

Women tend to believe that in order to get slim legs, we should do a lot of reps with a low weight. But if you don’t lift more weight, you aren’t going to “tone” anything. Ditch the lighter-weight plates and reach for something heavier! Aim to up your weights and really focus on proper form.

4. Doing the same squat over and over

Mix it up! There is more to squatting than just a typical back squat. Front squats, pistol squats, sumo squats, narrow squats, hack squats—and the list goes on! If you aren’t regularly switching up your positions, you aren’t taking full advantage of what a versatile exercise the squat really is. Don’t discriminate, chase the burn!

Keep these tips in mind for your next leg day and you’ll be well on your way to building a gravity-defying backside!

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