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By Victoria Wolk

You’ve done more squats and leg extensions than you can count, but no matter how hard you try, you just can’t firm up your thighs. It might be your genetics—unfortunately, some of us are just born with more fat cells and fewer muscle cells than Jillian Michaels, says Wayne Westcott, PhD, director of exercise research at Quincy College. But even if that’s the case, don’t kiss the dream of dynamite thighs good-bye. Avoid these 7 common mistakes, and you’ll sculpt some gorgeous curves.

1. You’re being unrealistic
You can’t resize your thighs with just a few workouts. “People think they can go to the gym for 2 weeks and see all the muscles in their legs,” says Thrive trainer Sean De Wispelaere, “but it doesn’t work like that.” If you strength-train your lower body 3 times a week, expect to start seeing changes in about 4 to…

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