When we commit to exercising, we’re doing so because we want a healthy body and to feel good about ourselves physically and emotionally. Working out has an incredible amount of benefits that range from the obvious with physical health to more indirect, like self-esteem and building discipline.

Yet, working out can be a health risk if exercises aren’t done correctly. It’s essential to take the health risks posed by bad workout form seriously. One exercise that’s particularly prone to creating injuries is none other than our favorite booty-builder — squats. We both love and hate squats, but however you feel about them, you must do them well to prevent injury. Here are the common mistakes people make while doing squats.

Where are your knees?

If you’ve ever followed along with a fitness trainer, they’ve probably expressed a near-obsession with making sure your knees never pass the tips of your feet during a squat. That obsession is justified; without keeping your knees behind the tip of your foot, you risk back and joint damage.

Try to keep your shins more vertical and don’t let your knees come far forward; instead, sit back into the squat so you’ll engage your hips more, which is what this exercise is meant to do.

Where are your heels? 

It’s easy to put more weight into your toes when squatting, but this can lead to knee injuries and undue pressure on your ankles. Instead of putting your weight into your toes and knees, squat while pushing through your heels. This is where the power in the exercise should come from.

Where is your focus?

Don’t ignore the core. When squatting, we tend to put all our focus on our hips and where our knees are, which is important, but don’t forget about your core. Staying mindful of your core by keeping it engaged with a gently rounded lower back is crucial for keeping undue pressure off your back. Don’t neglect your core when doing squats; instead, use a strong core to push up in the exercise just as you would focus on your heels and hips.

Where is your breath? 

One of the easiest aspects of every exercise to forget about is breathing, and squatting is no different. Use your breath to your advantage by timing it correctly. It’s natural to want to hold your breath through the exercise, but it’s more effective to inhale slowly as you squat and exhale slowly as you stand up.