Gym closures during the pandemic have driven many of us to start working out at home. While home workouts can be convenient, it's easy to push yourself too hard and forget form when you're on your own and don't have a fitness professional to coach you.

Here are 5 at-home workout mistakes you could be making:

1. Not warming up, cooling down or stretching

Your body performs best when it's warmed up and stretched out. It's important to get your blood flowing and increase your heart rate to prepare your body for the work it's about to do, especially if you've been sitting at a desk all day.

Warming up, cooling down and stretching are important to help prevent injuries. Try warming up with dynamic stretches (stretches where you are moving), and cooling down with static stretches (stretches where you hold a pose).

2. Doing too much HIIT training

Many people don't have the right equipment at home, so they end up doing mostly high intensity interval training (HIIT). But if you don't have weights, don't worry. You can still build muscle at home with targeted exercises.

HIIT workouts are great for cardio endurance and calorie burning. To build strength, focus on resistance training with any equipment you do have, even if it's just some resistance bands, water bottles or heavy books. 

3. Not pushing yourself to failure

Without a designated workout space, it can be hard to stay focused or get into the right mindset for a good workout. The same happens when we don’t have enough equipment. It can be hard to push ourselves to failure.

While it's important to always listen to your body and not push yourself past your limits, it's also key to push yourself a bit further each time if you want to see progress. 

4. Not having a plan or routine

Sticking to a well-structured plan and having a consistent routine is key to achieving your goals. Of course, any workout is better than no workout, but if your goal is to strengthen a specific muscle or make changes in your body composition, structure and routine are key.

There are a range of exercise ideas and workouts on the GoodLife blog or app that can be compiled to create a fitness plan. Try building in lots of compound movements that include different muscle groups. Add some isolation moves and aim for 3-4 workouts per week, adding more when you feel ready.

5. Not adding progressive overload

Without weights at home, it can be difficult to effectively introduce progressive overload (a steady increase in the amount of resistance you lift). But there are other ways to introduce progressive overload. The volume, intensity and rest periods of your workouts are also great indicators of progress and you can monitor this by tracking reps, sets and timing of rest periods.

Try to increase the volume of your workouts and monitor your rest periods every week for best results. For example; if you did a plank for 30 seconds last week, see if you can increase it to 40 seconds this week and so on.