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8 Basic Exercise Moves You've Been Doing Wrong Your Whole Life

Prevention Logo By Celia Shatzman of Prevention | Slide 1 of 8

8 Basic Exercise Moves You've Been Doing Wrong Your Whole Life

As you sweat through your final reps at the gym, you might be motivating yourself by imagining that you'll soon have toned abs and buff biceps. But what if you found out that your workout wasn't moving you toward your goals at all? Or, even worse, that it was putting you at risk for injury?

"It's very common for women to exercise incorrectly," says Felita Dortch, a personal trainer at Equinox in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. And if your form is wrong, you won't get the results you want. "Over time, you could also damage the musculoskeletal system, including your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and in extreme cases, bones."

Getting it right isn't difficult; you probably just need to make some tweaks. "Small adjustments can make all the difference," says Melinda Nelson, fitness supervisor at The Golden Door spa resort in Escondido, California. When it comes to walking or running, for example, good posture is key. "Remind yourself to keep your chest open, shoulders relaxed, and head in upright position," she says.

When you're performing strength moves, it's extra important to get it right. Ideally, Dortch suggests investing in a few sessions with a personal trainer who can educate you on proper form and technique. In the meantime (or if you just can't shell out the cash for a trainer right now), here's an overview of the most common slip-ups, plus how to fix them.

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