6 Exercises To Do (Safely) While Stuck In Traffic

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We hit traffic more than we hit the gym sometimes, so why not get a little workout in while sitting behind the wheel? With these 6 exercise moves, you can burn a few calories, stave off ‘road rage’, and concentrate more on your body than the annoying delay.

Trainer’s Tip: Since your main focus should be on the road, you should only do these moves in stand-still traffic with your car in ‘park’ or while waiting for your family to finish up at the rest stop. (See me performing glute raises pictured left.) Keep in mind that you can also do many of these moves while you’re in the passenger seat—and you can even do them while you’re sitting on a plane using your tray.

Ab Crunches

While seated behind the wheel, engage and contract the abdominals (pretend someone is punching you in the stomach) and bring shoulders closer to your hips. Work obliques by crunching the left shoulder towards the right hip, and the right shoulder towards the left hip. Straighten back up to sit tall. That makes one rep. Do 3 sets of 20 reps. Stretch by sitting tall and turning torso to the right, hold for 3 seconds, then left. Next, sit tall and grab your head rest with elbows up, elongate your abs, and arch your back slightly while pushing hands into the headrest.

Wheel Push-ins

These work the same muscles as a push-up – the pectorals and arms. Put hands at 3 and 9 o’clock on the steering wheel. Squeeze the wheel with hands pressing in towards each other to work chest. Hold for 1 second. Do 3 sets of 20 press-ins. Stretch by sitting tall, interlacing your fingers together behind your hips, pushing your chest forward and shoulder blades together. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.

SEE: 8 Ways to Get In Shape for Zip (or Almost)

Bicep Wheel Pulls

Place hands at 5 and 7pm on the wheel with palms facing you. The wheel should be between your hands and you. Pull isometrically against the wheel (the wheel won’t move, you are just using it as resistance). Hold for 1 second and release. Do 3 sets of 20 reps. Stretch by lengthening arms, palms up, and pushing fingers toward the floor with your other hand.

Upper Back Presses

Place hands gently on the wheel at 3 and 9 o’clock. Push your shoulders and upper back into the seat behind you and hold for 1 second to engage your trapezius and rhomboids. This move also improves your posture if it suffers while sitting behind the wheel driving. Repeat 3 sets of 20 reps. Stretch by interlacing the fingers in front of you and pushing the palms toward the windshield.

SEE: 5 Ways to Switch Up Your Workout For Best Results

Calf and Glute Raises

Sit on the seat and put your feet on car floor. Lift and lower heels while putting weight in the balls of feet and toes. Lower heels to the floor and engage your glutes to lift your butt off the seat. That makes one rep. Do 3 sets of 20 reps. Stretch by straightening legs off the floor and flexing the feet, then pointing the toes, repeat for 10 seconds. You can also stretch by placing the right ankle over the left knee and gently pressing the right leg toward the seat with your hands. Repeat on other side.

Tricep Dips

When you arrive at your destination or at a rest stop, you can do mini triceps dips in your 
seat. Place hands by hips with fingers pointing in front of you. Lift and lower your butt off the seat by bending and straightening
 elbows for 1 rep.

 (Make it harder by opening your door and placing feet on the ground with legs straight.) Do 3 sets of 20 reps. Stretch triceps afterwards by placing one arm behind head, elbow up, and fingertips down the back. Push the elbow toward the back of the car with your other hand. Hold for 20 seconds, switch sides.

Before you know it, you’ll have a traffic-stopping body! If you’d like a more intense travel workout, check out my NikkiFitness Fit Travel Workout video.


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Nicole Glor is a fitness expert based in NYC, author of The Slimnastics Workout, and the star of 8 fitness DVDs. You can search for “NikkiFitness” on Facebook and Twitter.

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