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Break a Sweat With 17 Quiet, Bodyweight Cardio Moves That Won't Annoy Your Neighbors

05/04/2020 - 03:25 PM

Want to crank out a cardio workout in your living room? It's doable, but depending on your living situation, you might have a few other factors to consider. Will it disturb your housemates or neighbors if you're stamping and thudding your way through burpees [1]? Do you have enough space for moves that require jumps and leaps? No matter what your space's limitations, I'm a firm believer that you can get in a good cardio workout no matter where you are. You'll just have to get creative — and go fast.

To increase the difficulty of an exercise, you'll need to do one of two things: increase the resistance (with weights or resistance bands) or change the tempo, said Sean Alexander, ACE-certified personal trainer and cofounder of Model Trainers [2]. "Since adding weight is out, playing with tempo is your next best option." Essentially, you can squeeze extra cardio juice out of bodyweight moves by upping the pace (or, for really challenging exercises, decreasing it and holding in the positions that burn most).

So which bodyweight moves should you go for? Keep reading, because we asked certified trainers that exact question, and they responded with their 17 favorite quiet, at-home, no-equipment cardio exercises that are effective for spiking your heart rate without making a racket or bothering the neighbors. Warm up [3] and grab some water; these moves don't make much noise, but they'll help you work up a sweat in no time.

Bicycle Crunch

"This move is awesome because it really targets your entire core," said Devan Kline, NASM-certified personal trainer and CEO of Burn Boot Camp [4]. "It doesn't take long for this move to get your muscles burning." You can up the tempo for more of a cardio challenge, as long as you maintain proper form.

Mountain Climbers

"The mountain climber is a fantastic low-impact aerobic exercise that is great for everyone from novices to total pros," said trainer Sarah Ray, ACE, NSCA, of Volt Athletics [5]. "It has tons of modifications that make it work for everyone." And you get a ton of bang for your buck: Sarah said mountain climbers target your core, back, and shoulder stability and hip flexor strength while pumping up your heart rate.

"This move is really what you make of it," Kline added. "You can choose to go slower and focus on building the core and shoulder strength, or you can speed it up to get your heart pumping!"

Plank Jack

The plank jack is "great for focusing on total body strength," said WITS-certified personal trainer and CrossFit Level One coach Ashley Rademacher [6], "but it's primarily focused on engaging the shoulder, core and glutes." The jumping motion will get your heart rate up as well. "The faster you move, the more challenging it is!"

Side Kick

NASM-certified personal trainer Holly Roser [7] said she loves this simple but effective move for quiet, indoor cardio.

Alternating Reverse Lunge

"This is a great exercise to target your glutes and hamstrings while also using your abs and back muscles as stabilizers," said Bri Hardy, ACE, group exercise director at VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa Cinco Ranch. "The more you do, the higher your heart rate will go!"

Elevated Tricep Dips

"This exercise is sure to get those stubborn triceps a great burn while elevating the heart rate," Hardy told POPSUGAR. You can use a sturdy chair or low table as your elevated surface.

Sliding Mountain Climbers

This tough mountain climber variation "will challenge your upper body strength while working your quads and targeting your abs," said Jenn Cino [8], NASM-certified personal trainer. "Your heart rate will be up in no time." You can use sliders or substitute towels, washcloths, or paper plates.

Lunge Pulses

Increasing the tempo of bodyweight lunges is a great way to up your heart rate and the burn in your legs, Alexander told POPSUGAR. He suggested a five-five tempo: "five seconds on the way down and five seconds on the way back up. To increase difficulty even more, try adding between five and 10 seconds of small pulses at the bottom of each rep!"

Alternating Mountain Climber

Want to make mountain climbers more of a challenge? Get creative with your knee placement, Rademacher said. "Add in a crossbody rotation by bringing the right knee to the left elbow. Or, optionally, bring the right knee to the outside of the right elbow for a challenging low core and hip mobility exercise." You can do one variation at a time or combine them as shown below.

High-Low Plank

This move strengthens your upper body and core, said Lauren Griffith [11], ACE-certified group fitness instructor. You'll find that at a higher tempo, the dynamic, compound movement will get your heart rate going as well.

Wall Sit

The wall sit is a step up from a traditional air squat, said Amanda Murdock [12], ACE-certified personal trainer and director of fitness at Daily Burn [13]. "See how long you can hold it," she suggested. If you want even more of a challenge, hold weights or weight substitutes while you squat.

Alternating Side Lunge

"This exercise is great for the hard to reach inner thigh and outside muscles of the leg," said Heidi Jones, a certified personal trainer at Performix House [14] in New York City. It combines strength and mobility for a move that will work your muscles and get you sweating.

Squat With Side Kick

This compound move hits all the muscles same muscles a squat: quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, inner thigh (adductors), and core, said personal trainer Misty Tascoe, NASM. Plus, "you are left standing on when leg when you kick to one side, so this also challenges balance and stability." Push the pace while maintaining control to feel your heart rate increase.

Kettlebell Swing

"This is one of my favorite total-body exercises, which addresses core strength, posture, and endurance," said personal trainer Cindy Lai, NASM. If you don't have a kettlebell, Cindy recommended using a bag of laundry, a backpack with books, a water jug, or a bag of rice. "Make sure you are able to pick up the weight safely with your lower body before attempting to swing it."

Sumo Squat Punch

"This is a great total-body exercise to get your heart rate up without noise," Lai told POPSUGAR. Bonus: "It's also easy on your joints." The lower you drop into your squat, the more muscles you'll use, she added. "Make sure you keep abs and glutes engaged at all times for maximum efficiency and to avoid any lower back pain."

Plank Walkout

The plank walkout (aka inchworm) is a full-body move you can get creative with, said Jill Brown, a certified functional strength coach and personal trainer. From the plank position, she said, you can "add a push-up or a variety of planks like leg lifts, knee tucks, knees to elbows, swivels, the scorpion, hip lunges, and so on." Here's how to do the basic move.

If you have space: instead of walking your hands back to your feet from plank, walk your feet forward to your hands and continue moving forward in a straight line.

Speed Squat

"Using the largest muscle group in the body, the speed squat is an awesome way to light our legs on fire and increase the heart rate," Hardy said. The cues are the same as for a traditional air squat, but you'll move at the fastest tempo you can while maintaining proper form.


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