MISTAKE #1: Being afraid of “men’s” weights
Many barbell and free-weight moves mimic everyday ones (carrying bags, picking up a child, opening a door) the way machine-based moves that tend to isolate a single muscle can’t. Don’t worry about bulking up: Most women don’t have near the amount of testosterone needed to build big, bulky muscles.
THE FIX: Grab 12-kg instead of 5s (but don’t be afraid of 20s if you have the strength!). Try dead lifts with a barbell versus dumbbells. It’s okay if you need to do fewer reps. Adding weight will tone you up in less time.
MISTAKE #2: Bad squat form
Squats are one of the best glute and quad sculptors because they engage a large amount of muscle. But most women are making two key errors when it comes to squats: First, they put their weight on their toes instead of their heels. This puts stress on their knees and makes you unstable. Second, they stand with their feet to close together. Women are built differently than men and their hips tend to angle forward. This anterior tilt can lead to muscle imbalances as well.
THE FIX: Wiggle your toes at the bottom of a squat to make sure your weight is in your heels. Press through your heels as you rise up. Also, stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips with your toes slightly turned out. This will shift your weight back and counteract that pelvic tilt.
MISTAKE #3: Using crunches to fight belly fat
Crunches firm the muscle that lies underneath fat- they don’t actually melt away fat. To see a difference, you need to burn or cut the extra calories.
THE FIX: Abs are made in the kitchen. Make sure you have more calories going out than coming in. Trade crunches for exercises that engage your entire core- the front, the back, and also sides of your torso- like planks. Also, work your lower body. Moves that target large muscle groups like your butt and thighs help increase calorie burn and your metabolism after session, which ultimately helps slims down your waist.