Are you making any of these common workout mistakes in your routine?

Whether you’re a dedicated runner, weightlifter, or cross trainer, even just a few common workout mistakes can derail your progress.

The wrong habits can slow you down, set you back, and increase your risk of injury. Check out a dozen of the most common workout mistakes below and see if they are interfering with your physical fitness routine.

#1 Not taking a rest or recovery day during the week.

Your muscles need rest to heal the microscopic tears that strengthen them. Rest may include a day off from working out or include a restoration day of yoga or stretching.

Taking a day off does a body good. It reduces stress hormones, lowers heart rate, and gives your body time to heal and build muscles.

#2 Working above your target heart rate zone.

Working out increases your heart rate, like revving the RPMs on a car engine. Too low and your workout may not be doing enough. Too high and you’re overexerting yourself.

According to the American Heart Association, you can find your target heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. That’s the sweet spot for your heart. As you continue to exercise, your resting heart rate will go down and it will take more effort to reach your maximum heart rate.

#3 Performing exercises that are too hard on the joints.

Did you know that there are shoulder exercises physical therapists wish people would not do? Some of these exercises are featured in home-workout videos. They stress the joint and heighten the risk of injury more than they provide health benefits.

#4 Working out with poor form.

Unless you are working out in front of a mirror at a gym or with a trainer, you risk working out with improper form. If you are not feeling the workout in the targeted muscle groups or if you experience muscle strains, check out your position during the movement. Poor form may be to blame.

#5 Failing to warm up.

Warm muscles are less vulnerable to injury. Warming up also helps you make the most of your workout and lowers the risk of injury.

#6 Doing the same workout day after day.

Your body is smart. It has muscle memory, which can make your tried-and-true routine less effective. Some people vary their workouts over the course of the week, focusing on legs one day, arms on another, and cardio on a third. And while that is good, the workout should differ from workout to work out to make the most of your time.

#7 Only focusing on cardio.

Strength training should be part of every workout plan. It provides many benefits. A strong core aids in holding proper form. Firm muscles require more fuel to survive, boosting your metabolism and endurance.

#8 Not drinking enough water.

According to the University of Michigan, your muscles are 75 percent water. They need hydration to function at their best. When you work out you lose water through sweat. According to the University of Michigan, people should drink 17-20 ounces of water two hours before exercise, up to 10 ounces for every 20 minutes of exercise, and 16-24 ounces of water for each pound lost because of sweating.

#9 Using weights that are too heavy.

Working out with weights that are too heavy can throw off your form and cause serious muscle strains, and ligament or tendon sprains. It’s best to start with no weights and work up in poundage. Adding more weight is a way to vary your workout.

#10 Being inconsistent with your workout.

Avoid taking a week or two off and then trying to resume the workout at the same level. If you must take time off because of illness or injury, start again slowly using lighter weights, fewer repetitions, or taking a shorter run.

#11 Not using the proper gear for your activity.

You wouldn’t run a marathon in soccer cleats or play football in dancing shoes. Yet, working out without the correct gear puts you at a higher risk for injury and makes your workout less effective.

#12 Skipping the cool-down and post-workout stretch.

The cool-down phase is important as you work out. It brings your heart rate down to a normal level. Adding static stretches at the end of the workout helps increase range of motion and flexibility, leading to better movement.

So, how did you do?

Does your workout include any of the most common workout mistakes? Does it pass the test? If not, make a few changes and get your workout back on the right track for the best health of your life.

If you experience strains and muscle aches when working out, make an appointment with one of Bone & Joint’s sports medicine specialists or physical therapists. They can offer guidance and help you perform at your best.