Stuck in traffic? Believe it or not, there’s time for fitness

You face it every day—that seemingly endless five-minute traffic light near your home, one of several you endure while driving to work. Or perhaps you lose a half hour sitting in traffic waiting until an accident is cleared or to get into that popular local car show.

Instead of fiddling with your phone, why not fit in a couple quick workout routines while waiting for traffic to move?

We asked personal trainer Jim White, owner of Jim White Fitness Studios in Virginia Beach for a few exercises that anyone can do while fully stopped in a car. White isn’t your average trainer. In addition to running multiple fitness studios, he’s a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a contributor to Men’s Fitness, Oxygen, GQ, Shape, and Men’s Health magazines.

This might be why White delivered an impressive in-car workout regimen for those periods of time that might otherwise go to waste. Take a look, and get ready to workout.

Leg squeeze

in-car workout
Kyle Smith
If a water bottle is unavailable, a small coffee can will work in a pinch.

Works: Inner thighs

What you do: Take the water bottle sitting in your center console and place it between your legs. Keeping abs contracted, squeeze the bottle gently. Hold for five seconds and release.

Reps: 8

Backside lift

in-car workout
Kyle Smith

Works: Your glutes

What you do: Stop texting. Instead, with a firm grip on the steering wheel, tighten your upper leg muscles. Hold for five seconds.

Reps: 10

Steering wheel grip

in-car workout
Kyle Smith

Works: Forearms and grip strength

What you do: This can be done at a long traffic light as well as when fully stopped. Since both hands are already on the steering wheel, grab it and tighten your grip for 10 seconds and release.

Reps: 5

Side bend

in-car workout
Kyle Smith

Works: Obliques

What you do: Not moving for a while? Try this. Remove your hands from the wheel and put them behind your head. Now, lean to one side, holding for three seconds, then the other, holding for three seconds. Be careful not to hit any windows.

Reps: 12–15

Toe raises

in-car workout
Kyle Smith

Works: Calf muscles

What you do: If you haven’t already, shift the car into park so you can remove your feet from the pedals and place them flat on the floor. Then lift your heels, holding for five seconds. Repeat.

Reps: 12–15

Arm circle

in-car workout
Kyle Smith

Works: Shoulders

What you do: This one works best in convertibles or a wide vehicle, but is effective. Put your arms straight out and rotate in circles. Be sure not to inadvertently wallop fellow passengers.

Reps: 12–15, and then reverse directions.

Abs squeeze

in-car workout
Kyle Smith

Works: Upper body

What you do: Put your arms behind your head and lean forward, contracting your abs and stomach. Hold eight seconds. Release. To others, it may look like you’re throwing up, but you’re actually working your core.

Reps: 12–15

Side crunches

in-car workout
Kyle Smith

Works: Obliques

What to do: Think you can’t do crunches in a car? Guess again. Place one hand on your stomach. Put your other hand behind your head. Using the arm that is behind your head, bring your elbow to the opposite knee. Hold for five seconds. Switch hands and knees and repeat.

Reps: 10–15

When you're finished: Sit up tall, and be sure to skip the drive-through.