If, like me, your living room floor is directly above someone else’s bedroom, you’ll understand my reticence at tuck jumping my neighbours awake in the mornings. Or knocking the dust off their roof as an unwanted reminder that they’re well overdue a spring clean. But sometimes, like in the busy lead up to Christmas, the only time we can squeeze in a workout is at home, sandwiched between our work, personal and social commitments. That’s why I’ve developed this no-noise high-intensity workout to make sure you’re taking as much care over your waistlines as you are over that gargantuan Christmas to do list.
How’s it work?
Instead of jumping around, I use compound movements to maximise the blood flow around the body and get your heart pumping without setting off the neighbours. By incorporating light dumbbells, you’re also working against resistance and calling your deep inner abdominis muscles into action (the ones that provide a nice flat base for your six-pack). As an added bonus, the low-impact nature of the routine also means it’s gentle on your joints – useful when you’re packing a few extra pounds after inhaling that Christmas turkey.
More to come
If you want a little more, I’ll be posting a second no-noise high-intensity circuit at the same time next week, which works great as an addition to this one or performed on alternate days.
Let’s get started
Perform each move in the full-body circuit below for 45 seconds, and leave no rest between exercises. When you’ve completed the circuit, rest for 30 seconds and repeat twice more. If you don’t have a set of light dumbbells (I’m using 1.5kg), fill up a couple of 500ml water bottles instead. It should take you roughly 20 minutes – just enough time to counterbalance that extra mince pie.
Side steps with lateral raises
This move will warm up your cardiovascular (read: fat burning) system and switch on the muscles in your core, shoulders and arms. As you take two steps out to the right, raise your arms out to the sides, staying in sync with your feet. Repeat to the left. The longer and straighter your arm extensions, the greater the challenge and benefit.
Squat with overhead press and leg extensions
Holding your dumbbells in front of your shoulders, drop into a mid-stance squat. Think about pressing your butt directly back and down, while keeping your core engaged so your chest remains facing forward. As you come up, take most of your weight in the left leg and extend your right leg out to the side. Press the dumbbells directly overhead at the same time. Simultaneously lower your leg and the dumbbells, and repeat on the other side.
Reverse lunge with bicep curls
Assume a wide reverse lunge stance, holding the dumbbells by your side. Bend your front leg and drop your back knee towards the floor as you curl the dumbbells into your shoulders. Keep everything above the elbow completely still, isolating the contraction in your lower arms. Return to standing as you lower the weights.
Reverse lunge with robin hoods
Assume the same wide reverse lunge stance on the opposite leg. This time, as you lower your back knee towards the floor, raise one dumbbell long and straight out in front you and row the other one up and in to your shoulder. You should look like you’re stringing a bow. Lower your arms and return to standing, then switch arms for alternating reps.
Speed walking burpee
A traditional burpee is likely to shake the chandeliers below, but that’s not necessary when this variation is perfectly effective at spiking your heart rate and recruiting multiple muscle groups. From a high plank position, step one foot up to your hand on the same side, then repeat with the opposite foot. You should be in a low squat position. Now explode up and reach your hands to the ceiling. Return your hands to the floor and walk each respective foot back into a plank. The key to this move is speed and control.
Standing oblique crunch with overhead press
From standing, hold one dumbbell directly overhead on your right side and contract your obliques as you lower your elbow and bring your right knee out and up to meet it. Lower your leg and extend the dumbbell with control. Repeat for 45 seconds on one side, then repeat for a further 45 seconds on the other side.
Squat hold with arm punches
To complete the circuit, lower into a squat (thighs parallel with the floor, please!) and hold your dumbbells in front of your chest. Holding your lower body absolutely still, punch the right dumbbell across your body and quickly follow with your left. This should be fast, but not so fast that you lose control and can’t feel the twist through your core.
Well done! Take a 30 second break, then run through the whole thing twice more.
Come back next Monday for the second no-noise high-intensity workout, and feel free to leave feedback in a comment below. (PS. I’ve only just discovered how to create GIFs so I promise to make the exercise demonstrations a little more fluid going forward!)