Quiet HIIT workouts: how to do neighbour-friendly home exercise

Posted by for Strong Women

Home workouts are still on the agenda for many of us, but that doesn’t mean your whole block of flats wants to hear about it. Here’s how to do a HIIT workout that will get you, but not the neighbours, hot and bothered.  

“You sound like you’re going to come crashing through the ceiling,” my mum moaned at me when I went home last Christmas and bought my workouts to my childhood bedroom. I thought I had been light footedly lunging, but it turns out that the thin walls meant the whole house was practically shaking as I jumped.

This is an often-experienced dilemma in Team Strong Women. Our fitness editor, Meriam Ahari, has also received complaints about her home HIIT workouts

“I’m a very routine person when it comes to my workouts (and life in general), so I’ve been working out at 7:00 AM on the dot for years. A few months ago, new neighbours moved in next door and shortly after, I received an email informing me that my workouts were so loud that they woke them up. Also, that my movements were so heavy-footed that her room would shake a little. 

“She asked that I work out at more acceptable hours, between such as 8:30AM and no later than 9:00 PM. Fair enough, not everyone is an early bird. But I was actually pretty devastated to rejig my routine that had been so effective for 15 years. Since then, I’ve had to work out at 5:00 PM daily, but I’m always paranoid that my high-intensity HIIT workouts might elicit another email from my neighbour.”

It’s a complaint that’s become even more common since lockdown, when those of us without the luxury of grand houses or even ground floor flats were stuck having to jump on the ceilings above our flatmates, neighbours or families. So how do we do a workout without the whole world having to hear about it? 

Core workout
Core workouts are great to do at home

“There are plenty of moves you can do in your home that don’t involve landing heavily, but are still exhausting enough to build your heart rate,” says personal trainer Veowna Charles. “For a HIIT circuit to be effective, aim to work to your maximum intensity for 20 seconds, then rest. Just because you aren’t jumping it doesn’t mean you necessarily have to make the set longer, it’s just about trying to squeeze in more repetitions in each set.”

Here, she shares her favourite quiet, no-heavy-jumping circuit you can do at home. 

Squat to tiptoes

Rather than doing squat jumps, Veowna recommends that you lift your heels and push onto your tiptoes as you come out of the low squat position. This adds a lot of power to the move without any loud impact, she says. 

Forward to reverse lunge

Again, remove your jump from the jumping lunges and opt for taking your foot from reverse to forward lunges, keeping the other foot on the ground. This isn’t quite zero impact, so it still requires a lot of stability, but it is much lighter on the ground. 

Inchworm

“Anything that works up and down in one movement is exhausting,” says Veowna. Start in standing position and walk your hands out so you are in a high-plank position, then walk your feet in to meet your hands. “Adapt that to your own difficulty level by adding a lunge rotation to the end or a press-up in the middle,” Veowna adds. 

Plank to sit

Dynamic core work is a great way to up the intensity without upping the volume. For this move, start in a high plank position. Lift your right hand off the floor and twist to the left hand side, all the way round so you come into a seated position. Press through your left hand and your core to come back to the starting position and repeat on the other side. 

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