The Quiet Workout: A Killer Home Routine That Won’t Annoy Your Neighbors

This 30-minute, total-body circuit is both effective and super quiet
Staff Writer

This story first appeared on  

Erin Kelly—Between an insane work or school schedule, a freak thunderstorm, and crowded locker rooms, exercising at home can easily trump trudging to the gym. While sweating it out in your living room may seem like a surefire way to fit in a workout—no long commute or shower line in sight—sometimes it doesn’t turn out quite as well as you'd hope.

Like that time when our downstairs neighbor banged on the front door mid-squat jump, or when our roommate threatened to kick us out after the fifth burpee. Bottom line: Noisy workouts aren't worth the risk of alienating our roomie (or angering our neighbors). So we asked the experts, Lacey Stone, certified personal trainer and Flywheel instructor, and Erin Nemeth, certified personal trainer, for a solution that doesn’t involve taking your workout to an overpriced gym.

This 30-minute, total-body circuit involves static holds and bodyweight-only moves for a seriously effective workout that targets every major muscle group. And your roommate won't hear a peep (unless you're playing Pitbull way too loud.)

Ready to sweat without making a sound? Complete three rounds of the following circuit. (Scroll down for detailed descriptions of each move.) For a competitive flair, time yourself and try to shave seconds off each round. Or for a social twist, Stone recommends challenging your roommate to a friendly face-off—just keep the smack talk to a low whisper.

1. Plank
30- to 60-second hold
To warm up all the muscles in your body (and home in on that core!), start in a plank: Place your palms on the ground about shoulder-width apart, aligning elbows below shoulders like you’re about to do a push-up. Ground your toes into the floor, squeeze your glutes, and look to a point on the floor in front of you. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds without compromising your form. For a challenge, pass a medicine ball (or basketball) between your hands.

2. Air Squat
15 reps
Stand with feet hip-width apart, pointing toes slightly outward, arms by sides. Bend knees and push your butt out and down as if you were sitting into a chair. As you bend down, raise arms out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Keep the majority of your weight in your heels, making sure your knees never go past your toes. Lower yourself as far as possible without compromising your form before straightening your legs and squeezing your glutes to rise back up, lowering arms back to your sides. For an added challenge, pause for one second at the bottom of each squat. (If you have a bed—or a couch or coffee table—that’s low to the ground, try to have your butt touch the surface before standing.)

3. Triceps Dip
15 reps
Sit on the edge of your bed (or couch), keeping your hands just outside your hips. Lift your body up and walk your feet out until your knees are above your heels. Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle as you lower your hips to just above the floor. Extend your elbows, pressing your body back up.

4. Lunge With Hold
10 reps per leg
Stand with feet together. Take a big step forward with your left foot, and lower yourself straight down so your left knee tracks right over the top of your left foot. Pivot on the toes of your right foot as your back knee hovers over the floor. Hold for 3 full counts before returning to the starting position. Alternate legs.

5. Superman
15 reps
Lie facedown with arms and legs extended. Keep your head facing the floor for a neutral neck position. With core engaged, lift arms and legs up toward the ceiling, forming an elongated “U” shape with your body. Pause for 3 seconds at the full extension of the exercise before lowering back down.

6. Russian Twist
15 reps per side
Sit on the ground. Bend knees so heels are about a foot away from your butt, then lean slightly back (without rounding your spine) and lift feet a few inches off the ground. (Crossing your ankles may help with balance.) Place arms straight out in front of you and clasp hands together, bending elbows slightly. From your core, rotate as far as possible to the right, allowing arms, shoulders, and eyes to follow while legs remain in the starting position. After extending as far as possible, change direction without pause and mimic the movement to the left. For a challenge, hold a medicine ball (or heavy textbook) in your arms.

7. Glute Bridge
15 reps
Lie faceup with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Your hands should be at your sides, palms down. Raise hips until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Hold here for 2 seconds before lowering back to the ground.

8. Wall Sit
30- to 60-second hold
Stand about 2 feet from a wall, facing away from it. Lean back against the wall and slide down as if sitting into a chair. When knees are at about a 90-degree angle, contract your abs, making sure your knees stay directly above your toes. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.


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