It’s happening again. You want to exercise but can’t make a lot of noise. You may have a napping infant nearby, sensitive downstairs neighbors, or even a freak storm keeping you indoors. We’ve got you covered with these quiet, toning apartment exercises. There’s bound to be one — or more — that will work for you and your environment.
“Exercising at home is effective, comfortable, and economical,” says fitness expert and certified personal trainer, Joan Pagano, author of Strength Training Exercises for Women. Hey, she should know! She conducts the bulk of her training in her clients’ space-challenged Manhattan apartments.
Experiment with some of our favorite, low-key apartment exercises!
The following exercises will help prime your entire body for action no matter what workout you’re doing.
Start your workout by engaging your core with a trainer favorite, the inchworm. Sometimes referred to as the “walkout” exercise, this move will start the burn and keep things quiet in your apartment (when’s the last time you heard an inchworm making noise?).
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Keeping your core engaged and back flat, hinge forward at your hips and place both palms on the floor. Bend your knees slightly if necessary.
- Walk your hands forward until you assume a high-plank position. Your wrists should be directly under your shoulders and your body should be straight from head to heels.
- Reverse the movement, walking your hands back toward your feet, to return to the starting position.
Make it harder: Inchworm push-up: Once you reach the high-plank position, lower your torso until your chest is within a few inches of the floor, and then push back up before returning to the starting position.
Upper Body Exercises
If you associate upper body exercises with trying to place dumbbells back on the floor as quietly as possible, we have good news. Handy, stretchable resistance bands come in varying lengths and strengths for all fitness levels.
For a quieter workout, swap your dumbbells for these soundless props, then hit it hard with the following exercises for your shoulders, chest, back, triceps and biceps.
- Stand in the middle of the band with one or both feet and place each hand in a handle. Brace your core, and keep the band in place with your feet.
- Maintaining a slight bend in your elbows, raise your arms directly out to your sides until they’re at shoulder level (your palms should be facing downward at the top of the movement).
- Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position.
Make it easier: Use bands with less resistance, or try a scaption: Instead of lifting your arms out to your sides, lift your arms to shoulder level at a 30-degree angle from your body.
3. T push-up
- Assume a push-up position with your feet hip-width apart, your body straight from head to heels, and your hands in line with (but slightly wider than) your shoulders.
- Keeping your elbows tucked, lower your chest to within a few inches of the floor.
- Pause, and then push back up, rotating up to your left and pivoting onto the sides of your feet as you raise your left arm straight towards the ceiling (your body should form a sideways “T”).
- Return to the starting position and repeat, this time rotating up to your right. Continue alternating sides.
Make it easier: Elevate your hands on a box or bench.
Make it harder: Perform the move while gripping a dumbbell in each hand.
4. Seated triceps dip
- Sit on the floor with your legs together. Bend your knees, place your hands on the floor behind your butt, and press the soles of your feet into the floor.
- Slide your feet toward your butt and lift your hips off the floor.
- Keeping your elbows tucked in toward your body, bend them to lower your hips until your butt is a couple of inches from the floor. Use your triceps to quickly straighten your elbows and lift your hips.
- Continue to use your triceps to lower and lift your hips in a quick, pulsing motion until all reps are complete.
Make it harder: Lift one foot off the floor or place both feet on an elevated surface.
5. Resistance row
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart on the center of a resistance band. Wrap one end around each foot and cross the handles.
- Bend your knees slightly, hinge at the waist, and lean your chest forward slightly, keeping your back straight.
- Keep your core engaged and your back straight as you pull your hands up to your rib cage, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top.
- Release your arms and repeat.
6. Resistance band biceps curl
- Lay a resistance band on the floor and assume a staggered stance with your right foot on the center of the band. Grab a handle in each hand, and raise them in front of you with your elbows at your sides until there is tension in the band. This is the starting position.
- Keeping your elbows tucked, curl the handles toward your shoulders as far as you can.
- Pause, and then return to the starting position. Switch legs halfway through each set.
Lower Body Exercises
These exercises should hammer the front and back of your legs — the quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves — while keeping you as quiet as a mouse. Try glute bridges and split squats for challenging apartment-friendly lower body work.
7. Glute bridge
- Lie on your back, arms down by your sides. Bend your knees and plant your feet flat on the floor.
- Pull in through your navel to brace your core muscles and then squeeze your glutes to press your hips up so your body forms a straight line — no arching — from knees to shoulders.
- Keep your head on the floor and eyes focused on the ceiling.
- Hold the position for a beat, and then lift and lower and repeat.
Make it harder: Try a single leg glute bridge for an extra challenge. Or, to activate the calves and hamstrings more, place your feet up on the edge of a chair, instead of the floor with your knees bent. Alternatively, you can place just the balls of your feet on the edge of the chair to further increase activation in your calves.
- Stand facing away from a chair, couch, or elevated surface holding a dumbbell in each hand. Place the toes of your left foot (or if it’s more comfortable, the top of your foot) on the surface behind you. Make sure the standing leg is far enough away from the surface so that the knee stays in line with the toes when bent.
- Keeping your torso upright, lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the ground (don’t let your left knee touch it).
- Pause, and then push back up to the starting position. Do equal reps on both legs.
Make it easier: Perform the exercise with just your bodyweight.
Make it harder: Increase the pause at the bottom of each rep, or add a jump at the end of each rep, landing softly and transitioning immediately into your next rep.
Keep your lower back strong and your abs tight with easy-to-do moves like these. There’s nothing noisy about a bicycle crunch, plank, or dead bug exercise, except for your occasional grunts and groans, that is.
- Lie on your back with your legs out straight. Interlace your fingers behind your head, gently resting your head on your fingers. Keep your elbows pointed out to the sides and try to relax your neck.
- Press your lower back to the ground, engage your core to lift your shoulder blades off the ground and bring your right knee in toward your chest as you rotate your torso to bring your left elbow toward your right knee. Keep your left leg straight.
- Reverse the motion by straightening your right leg as you bend your left leg and bring it in toward your chest as you rotate your torso to bring your right elbow toward your left knee.
- Continue to repeat, and once you have conquered the proper form, begin to switch legs and rotate faster to add in a cardio element. Still, your lower back should stay on the floor for the whole movement.
10. Forearm plank
- Assume a push-up position, but with your weight on your forearms instead of your hands (your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders).
- Feet should be together, but if you want to make the move a bit easier, you can separate them slightly.
- Squeeze your glutes and brace your core (imagine someone is about to punch you in the gut) to lock your body into a straight line from head to heels.
- Hold this position for up to 90 seconds. Rest for one minute. Repeat three to five times.
11. Dead bug
- Lie on your back and seal the space between your back and the floor by pushing your lower back down. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and lift your feet from the floor. Reach your arms straight to the ceiling.
- Lower your right arm behind your head and, at the same time, extend your left leg long in front of you. Hover both your arm and your leg off the mat.
- Return to the starting position. Aim to complete 10 reps before switching to the left arm and right leg.
Try a BODi Program
BODi members receive access to our entire library of workouts that can help you lose weight, get strong, and reach your fitness goals. You can even receive live instruction from our certified trainers. And if you’re looking for quiet apartment exercises, these programs might be perfect for you:
- Barre Blend — Sculpt a lean, long, dancer’s physique with Elise Joan’s signature barre series. These fun 30- to 40-minute routines combine body sculpting barre moves with fat-burning cardio to help you lose weight and build strength.
- XB Pilates — Enjoy a modern presentation of this popular workout, also presented by Rogers. Achieve a tighter, leaner body in just 21 days without any equipment.
- Yoga52 — Supplement your workout routine with a weekly session, or take a daily yoga program. You’ll lose weight, build strength and flexibility, and reduce stress all without a pricey studio membership.