How to work out in hotel rooms and apartments (and take it easy on joints)

If you've got joints, shin splints or just easily-aggravated neighbours, these low-impact moves are for you

man doing a plank
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We share a lot of home workouts on our Instagram channels and our site, and they're normally excellent HIIT workouts or yoga flows for you to follow along at home. But too often, you might live on a top-floor flat, find yourself in a hotel room, have a partner on a night shift or a young baby who's just gotten to sleep, which makes high-impact HIIT workouts difficult to perform. 

In addition, these kind of exercises – including burpees, jump squats and more of the best exercises for weight loss – are taxing for people who have spin splints, bad joints or are very overweight. 

Low-impact workouts, which don't involve jumps, running or any joint stress, are the order of the day to solve these problems. Rather than jog on the spot or jump to burn calories, these workouts usually feature bodyweight movements which tax our muscles like walk-outs, squats and stationary lunges. These require either a gentle step, such as reverse lunges, or no foot movement at all. 

Anyone that thinks you can't work up a sweat with low-impact movements has never tried to do a set of 50 squats inside of two minutes. 

The other kind of exercise you'll often see in these sorts of workouts are isometric exercises. These don't use your joints at all: you stay still and contract a group of muscles. Exercises like planks (see our guide on how to do a plank for more on this) or wall sits work in this way: you get into a position which forces you to contract a group of muscles to hold it, and you hold it as long as you can.

Isometric training is considered a "safe" way to train. It reduces pain and risk of injury in older adults, according to research, because it strengthens muscles without putting them at risk. if you have a low range of motion or weak joints, which can make conventional exercise a problem, isometric training is a good answer. It's also quiet because you're not moving much, making it great for hotels and top-floor apartments.

Instead of weights, you can also use a set of the best resistance bands to incorporate  resistance training without the repetitive thunks of dumbbells hitting the floor. 

In the video above, we've linked a great 16-minute workout video from the Body Coach himself, Joe Wicks. He uses ab walkouts, push-ups, reverse lunges and more in a tough HIIT-inspired circuit to work up a sweat without noise or joint stress. 

Matt Evans
Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.