If you don't know your way around a weight room, heading to the gym can be intimidating -- and even dangerous. But paying attention to a few simple rules of proper technique can make you slimmer, stronger and healthier all over.

That's why we asked John Romaniello, trainer, author and founder of Roman Fitness Systems to show us what's what when it comes to strength training.

He'll be helping us tackle some of the most common mistakes we all make while building muscle, plus giving us tips and tricks for better form. This week, we're perfecting the side lunge.

The Faux Pas: "The mistake with lateral lunges is that people collapse at the knee instead of the hip," says Romaniello, which will greatly tax the quad muscle without much help from the butt or hips.
2012-07-16-laterallungebefore.jpg

The Fix: "Focus on bending at the waist by engaging the glutes, allowing you to keep the back straight," he says. Sit back into the lunge, almost as you would when doing a squat.
2012-07-16-laterallungeafter.jpg

Tell us how it goes in the comments below, and be sure to check back over the following weeks to fix your bench press, bicycle crunches and more.

Check out more in our Fix Your Form series below:

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  • Pushups: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/fix-your-form-pushup_n_1500458.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect pushup here.</a>

  • Pushups: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/fix-your-form-pushup_n_1500458.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect pushup here.</a>

  • Lunges: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/15/fix-your-form-lunge_n_1515388.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect lunge here.</a>

  • Lunges: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/15/fix-your-form-lunge_n_1515388.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect lunge here.</a>

  • Crunches: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/22/fix-your-form-crunches_n_1533341.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect crunch here.</a>

  • Crunches: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/22/fix-your-form-crunches_n_1533341.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect crunch here.</a>

  • Dumbbell Rows: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/29/fix-your-form-row_n_1546174.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect row here.</a>

  • Dumbbell Rows: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/29/fix-your-form-row_n_1546174.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect row here.</a>

  • Planks: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/fix-your-form-planks_n_1567803.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect plank here.</a>

  • Planks: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/fix-your-form-planks_n_1567803.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect plank here.</a>

  • Squats: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/12/fix-your-form-squat_n_1586844.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect squat here.</a>

  • Squats: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/12/fix-your-form-squat_n_1586844.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect squat here.</a>

  • Bridges: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/19/fix-your-form-bridge_n_1606366.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect bridge here.</a>

  • Bridges: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/19/fix-your-form-bridge_n_1606366.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect bridge here.</a>

  • Bicep Curls: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/26/fix-your-form-bicep-curl_n_1625129.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect bicep curl here.</a>

  • Bicep Curls: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/26/fix-your-form-bicep-curl_n_1625129.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect bicep curl here.</a>

  • Overhead Press: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/how-to-exercise-dumbbell-overhead-press_n_1643324.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect dumbbell overhead press here.</a>

  • Overhead Press: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/how-to-exercise-dumbbell-overhead-press_n_1643324.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect dumbbell overhead press here.</a>

  • Dips: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/10/how-to-exercise-triceps-dip_n_1659434.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect triceps dip here.</a>

  • Dips: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/10/how-to-exercise-triceps-dip_n_1659434.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect triceps dip here.</a>

  • Side Lunges: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/17/how-to-exercise-side-lunge_n_1677034.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect side lunge here.</a>

  • Side Lunges: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/17/how-to-exercise-side-lunge_n_1677034.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect side lunge here.</a>

  • Lateral Raises: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/16/how-to-exercise-lateral-raise_n_1677038.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect lateral raise here.</a>

  • Lateral Raises: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/16/how-to-exercise-lateral-raise_n_1677038.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect lateral raise here.</a>

  • Crunches On A Ball: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/31/how-to-exercise-fix-your-form-ball-crunches_n_1719734.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect crunches on a ball here.</a>

  • Crunches On A Ball: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/31/how-to-exercise-fix-your-form-ball-crunches_n_1719734.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect crunches on a ball here.</a>

  • Bench Press: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/07/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-bench-press_n_1747599.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect bench press here.</a>

  • Bench Press: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/07/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-bench-press_n_1747599.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect bench press here.</a>

  • Bicycle Crunches: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/13/fix-your-form-how-to-bicycle-crunch-abs_n_1772855.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect bicycle crunch here.</a>

  • Bicycle Crunches: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/13/fix-your-form-how-to-bicycle-crunch-abs_n_1772855.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect bicycle crunch here.</a>

  • Bridge On A Ball: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/21/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-bridge-ball_n_1811672.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect bridge on a ball here.</a>

  • Bridge On A Ball: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/21/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-bridge-ball_n_1811672.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect bridge on a ball here.</a>

  • Leg Press: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-leg-press_n_1833521.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect leg press here.</a>

  • Leg Press: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-leg-press_n_1833521.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect leg press here.</a>

  • Lat Pulldown: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/04/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-lat-pulldown_n_1846635.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect lat pulldown here.</a>

  • Lat Pulldown: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/04/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-lat-pulldown_n_1846635.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect lat pulldown here.</a>

  • Torso Rotation: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-torso-rotation_n_1870821.html" target="_hplink">Find out why you should stop using the torso rotation machine here.</a>

  • Torso Rotation: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-torso-rotation_n_1870821.html" target="_hplink">Find out why you should stop using the torso rotation machine here.</a>

  • Chest Press: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/18/how-to-exercise-fix-your-form-chest-press_n_1884554.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect chest press here.</a>

  • Chest Press: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/18/how-to-exercise-fix-your-form-chest-press_n_1884554.html" target="_hplink">Find out how to do the perfect chest press here.</a>

  • Assisted Pull-Ups: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/25/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-pull-up-machine_n_1909397.html">Find out how to do the perfect assisted pull-up here.</a>

  • Assisted Pull-Ups: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/25/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-pull-up-machine_n_1909397.html">Find out how to do the perfect assisted pull-up here.</a>

  • Triceps Extensions: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/02/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-overhead-triceps-extension-press_n_1929249.html">Find out how to do the perfect overhead triceps extension here.</a>

  • Triceps Extensions: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/02/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-overhead-triceps-extension-press_n_1929249.html">Find out how to do the perfect overhead triceps extension here.</a>

  • Seated Fly: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/09/how-to-exercise-fix-your-form-seated-fly_n_1948942.html">Find out how to do the perfect seated fly here.</a>

  • Seated Fly: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/09/how-to-exercise-fix-your-form-seated-fly_n_1948942.html">Find out how to do the perfect seated fly here.</a>

  • Reverse Fly: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/16/how-to-exercise-fix-your-form-reverse-fly_n_1967258.html">Find out how to do the perfect reverse fly here.</a>

  • Reverse Fly: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/16/how-to-exercise-fix-your-form-reverse-fly_n_1967258.html">Find out how to do the perfect reverse fly here.</a>

  • Abductors/Adductors: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/22/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-hip-abductor_n_2001455.html">Find out why you should stop using the abductor/adductor machine here.</a>

  • Abductors/Adductors: The Fix

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/22/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-hip-abductor_n_2001455.html">Find out why you should stop using the abductor/adductor machine here.</a>

  • Row Machine: The Faux Pas

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/08/fix-your-form-how-to-exercise-row-machine_n_2089918.html">Find out how to use the row machine properly here.</a>

Photos by Damon Dahlen, AOL

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