The New Year is here, which means it’s time to whip that post-holiday-feasting body back into shape. If you’re maintaining a hectic school or work schedule (or both), working out at home might be the only way you can squeeze in some exercise, especially when you factor in commuting to a gym or battling the crowd in a public locker room.
The only problem with sweating it out in your apartment is that you’re sharing walls, ceilings or floors with your roommates or neighbors, which means that you have to be careful when choosing what exercises you’re going to do. After all, your downstairs neighbor may not appreciate your newfound enthusiasm for burpees and jump squats. Below are some highly effective but non-noisy exercises that can give you a full-body workout without your neighbors hearing a peep.
1. Push-ups (10 reps) – Yes, this classic sculptor of arms, shoulders and chest muscles is almost always at the top of any at-home training regimen, and it’s a very quiet, non-impact exercise to boot. You can perform push-ups in the traditional manner with legs straight, but if you’re not quite ready for that yet, you can modify the exercise by keeping your knees on the floor and letting them serve as the fulcrum for the entire movement.
Just be sure to keep your back straight during the exercise, and try not to flare your elbows out too far to the side when lowering down to the floor. As far as hand placement goes, keep them a little bit wider than shoulder width.
2. Air Squats (20 reps) – This exercise works several major muscle groups, and is especially effective for shaping up those thighs and glutes. Stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing at a slight outward angle. Your arms should be resting down by your sides. Bend your knees and perform a sitting motion, keeping your back straight while engaging your hamstrings and glute muscles.
As you’re bending down, extend your arms in front of you; some people form an “X” with their forearms, while others clasp their hands in a “prayer” position at the bottom of the squat (just do whatever feels most comfortable for you). As you perform the squat, you should try to focus on keeping your weight on your heels, and keep your feet flat on the floor throughout the entire movement. Try to lower yourself enough to where your thighs are parallel with the floor (or as close as you can get), then begin to straighten your legs and lift back up. As you return to a standing position to complete the movement, lower your arms back to your sides.
3. Planks (2-3 rounds) – Planks are one of the most intense exercises you can perform without making a lot of noise, or taking up a lot of room. Assume a push-up position, but put keep your forearms and elbows on the floor instead of using just your hands for support. Your arms should be about shoulder-width apart. With your toes holding your legs up, lift up your midsection to form a straight line (a.k.a., a “plank”) with your body. Try to hold this position, without allowing your back to bow or your hips to sag, for 30 to 60 seconds
4. Bear Crawls (2-3 rounds) – This is a low-impact exercise that can provide you with a full-body-blasting workout. Get on all fours and crawl from one side of your living room to the other without allowing your knees to touch the floor. Much like the movement of the bear, try to keep your arms and legs on each side moving roughly in sync with each other (i.e., left arm moves forward with left leg, and vice-versa).
5. Wall Sit (2-3 rounds) – Stand straight up with your back against a portion of a wall with no pictures on it. Now take one small step forward and plant both feet about shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees as if you’re going to sit in an imaginary chair, and lean back to where your back is against the wall for support. Slowly lower your body down, with your back sliding against the wall, until your thighs are perpendicular to the floor. Hold this sitting position for 30-60 seconds.
So there you have it–all of the above exercises will provide a solid workout for all of your major muscle groups (especially your core), and all of them can be done without disturbing any neighbors or roommates. Now get to it!