Apartment-Friendly Workouts That Won’t Tick Off Your Neighbors
No banging, no thumping, no noise that will drive your neighbors crazy. Just a lot of heart-pounding, strength-building fun in this five-move sweat session.
For many fitness lovers, working out at home is the ultimate in convenience, flexibility and versatility. On-demand shadowboxing class, virtual bodyweight strength programs and 20-minute interval training on a treadmill are a few ways to get fit from home—just lace up those running shoes and go.
But for apartment dwellers and college students in dorms, there’s one tiny consideration to keep in mind during your at-home workouts: Your neighbors. Popular HIIT moves, like burpees, squat jumps or high-knee running, might get your heart rate up, but they’ll almost certainly lead to angry knocks on your door (especially if your building has thin walls or hardwood floors).
A little compromise goes a long way towards keeping the neighborly peace. Lucky for you, there are plenty of apartment-friendly workouts you can substitute for wall-shaking, floor-quaking plyometrics. Prepare for these no-jump moves with stabilizing training shoes and a thick, cushioned yoga mat to further pad the noise between you and your neighbors. Then, get started here.
The Swap: Burpees for Modified Squat Thrusters
Burpees are full-body, full-effort movements that pop up often in cardio and strength workouts. But while you might love the burn of the plank/pushup/squat/jump combo, your neighbors are probably counting down the minutes until your workout is over.
Get the full-body benefits of burpees without the ruckus with squat thrusters. By removing the vertical jump aspect of a burpee while maintaining the horizontal extension and contraction, you get a similar workout without the loud thudding. Bonus? Jumping your feet from a plank to your hands torches your core.
How to do a squat thruster: Stand with your feet hips-width apart. Lower into a squat and place your hands on the floor, keeping your back flat and chest up. Jump your feet back into a plank (if your neighbors are extra-sensitive to noise, step your feet back instead of jumping). Hold for a second before jumping (or stepping) your feet back to your hands. Stand up, squeezing your glutes at the top.
The Swap: Squat Jumps for Wall Sit
Fitness instructors love the way squat jumps work your glutes, lower abs and legs. But no matter how lightly you try to land, chances are your neighbors are going to hear about it. For a similar burn, switch to a wall sit instead. Challenge yourself to hold the wall sit (with proper form!) for 30 seconds and build from there. Feeling extra strong? Hold a dumbbell—or two—on your lap.
How to do a wall sit: Start by standing with your back about two feet away from a wall, feet shoulder-width apart. Lean back against the wall. Slide down the wall until your hips are in line with your knees and your knees are over your toes, forming a 90-degree angle. Keep your entire back (shoulders through hips) in contact with the wall at all times. Hold, focusing on your breath as you start to feel the burn.
Feeling really brave? Lift your right foot off the ground a couple of inches and hold for 10 seconds; repeat on opposite side. This engages your core and challenges your stability.
The Swap: High Knees for Mountain Climbers
High knees are popular in athletic training for a reason: They’re cardio-intensive, they engage your core and they promote agility and coordination. Plus, they get your heart rate up. Unfortunately, they’ll also annoy your neighbors instantly. Mountain climbers target the same muscles (they also require you to drive your knees into your chest) while adding a cardio burst to your workout. You might be cursing your trainer under your breath, but you’ll be thankful you did them.
How to do mountain climbers: Start in a high plank position (arms extended, shoulders over wrists). Lift up your right knee and drive it towards the center of your chest—think “knee to nose” here. As your right leg moves back to its starting position, alternate and drive your left knee into your chest. Once you’ve got the hang of it, pick up the pace.
Top tip: To target your obliques, drive your right knee towards your left elbow, and vice versa.
The Swap: Lunge Jumps for Lunge Pulses
Lunge jumps are a dynamic lower-body move that helps build explosiveness, balance and agility—all while blasting your quads and glutes. They’re also pretty loud for anyone who lives below you. Instead, try lunge pulses. You’ll lose the plyometric aspect of the move, sure—but the isometric hold in a deep lunge will challenge your muscles in a whole new way, similar to what you might feel in a barre or Pilates class.
How to do lunge pulses: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot forward and bend both knees to a 90-degree angle (right knee in line with right hip; left knee hovering a few inches above the ground). Keeping both feet where they are, slowly straighten and bend your legs a few inches, over and over. (Stay low to the ground the entire time.) Do 30 seconds on the right side, then switch and repeat on the left.
The Swap: Skater Jumps for Lateral Lunges
Skater jumps build lower-body strength and increase your stamina with dynamic lateral explosion—at your downstairs neighbor’s expense. But with lateral bodyweight lunges, you get the benefits of working your inner and outer thighs, as well as your gluteus medius, minus the pounding. Plus, it’s good for your body to practice moving in directions beyond just forward and backward.
How to do lateral lunges: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step your right foot wide to the right side, bending your right knee as you lower into a side lunge. For good form, make sure your right knee doesn’t extend past your toes and keep your left leg straight. Push off through your right foot, straighten right leg and return to standing. Repeat on the left side. Do 10 reps on each side; rest. Go again for a second set.