Sitting in Westwood traffic is the worst. It’s monotonous, time-consuming, and worst of all can make you feel like you’re wasting time that could be spent getting things done.
This doesn’t have to be the case!

For you multitaskers out there, your daily commute is a fantastic time and place to squeeze in a quick Pilates workout. It’s certainly not as ideal as working out with the help of an expert like Sheppard Pilates for a guided class or even in the comfort of your own home, but if you’re stuck in traffic with nowhere else to go, it’s a great and discrete way to improve your physical fitness.
These exercises are simple to do, easy to remember, and most importantly, won’t interfere with your driving. Being stuck in traffic may not be fun, but there’s no reason you can’t be productive while you’re there.

We all know pilates and working out is great, but sometimes you can’t escape the daily grind (especially for those of us living in LA). Since we spend a lot of time in the car and sometimes that seems like the only time we have to ourselves, here are three Pilates-related exercises you can do while driving in the car.

(One note of caution – please be sure that the performance of these exercises does not take your eyes or focus off the road.)

How to Work Your Glutes and Abs While in the Car

Sitting on your butt for long stretches can be hazardous to your health. You won’t find yourself in many situations where you’re sitting for a longer time than in traffic. It’s critical to stave this off with some well-placed glute exercises, which is an area Pilates can assist with.

It’s also important from a health perspective to consider your glutes during your workout. Here’s a simple Pilates exercise you can do while in the car:

  1. Grab the steering wheel with your hands in the 2 and 10 position.
  2. Slowly but firmly squeeze – and release – your glutes 5 times in short bursts. If you’re doing this correctly, you can feel yourself rise up in your seat as you squeeze each time.
  3. Once completed, lean back in your seat, contracting your abs. You should feel as if your sucking your belly button towards your back. You should NOT rise in your seat on this activity. Do this three times.
  4. Alternate between the glute and ab activity for three sets.

The great thing about this exercise is that you don’t necessarily need a steering wheel for this one – if you ride the bus every day, grabbing the seat in front of you is a fine substitute. It can be completed anywhere you happen to be sitting. For example, if you’re in a cubicle at work all day, you can lay your arms on your desk and perform the exercise there. It’s a simple, easy motion that no one will notice you performing.

How to Loosen Your Back While You Sit in L.A. Traffic

Sitting in traffic can be one of the biggest culprits behind increased stiffness in your back. That’s why it’s important to stretch your back out when you get a chance to do so – another great reason to do Pilates in the car.

One simple exercise you can do is sitting up straight, stretching your spine upwards. Move your belly button towards your lower lumbar area. Keep your back anchored to the lumbar support of your seat. To begin, hold this pose for several counts of ten, then relax. Remember to breathe throughout.

Pilates can work wonder for a bad back. Establishing this type of activity as a habit will help you feel results within a few days of starting. Along with strengthening your core, this can be the first step in improving your posture as well.

How to Use Pilates to Improve Your Posture

There are several different activities you can do to improve your posture while seated in the car waiting for traffic to dissipate:

  1. Once you’ve concluded doing several sets of the back exercise, keep sitting in the upright position. It’s easy to stay slumped over while driving, and doing this exercise helps you focus on improving your posture.
  2. Another posture-improving exercise is to suck your gut in, towards your back. Then drop your shoulders, relaxing your neck. This is less an exercise you can repeat as a stance you should try to adopt as much as possible.
  3. A final, quick way to help your posture is to make sure that at each stop light – or if you’re on the freeway, each time you’re stopped behind another vehicle – is to rest your weight evenly on both buttocks. Then ensure that your shoulders are squared up over your hips each time.

Maintaining good posture has many health benefits. Turning your commute into an opportunity to work on your posture helps you focus on an activity you may not think about as much during other parts of your daily routine. Taking active steps to sit up straight may feel weird or foreign at first, but if you develop it into a habit, your back will definitely thank you (in the form of less pain and tightness).


Incorporating these small, subtle exercises into your daily commute can help you stay limber in a place and position where it’s easy to feel stiff and uncomfortable. It can also help you ease the stress of being in a car for long stretches of time. This may not be a substitute for time in the Pilates studio, but it will help. While these exercises don’t replace a full Pilates workout, they help you make the best of a bad situation.

If you’re looking to further explore the benefits of Pilates beyond the ones you can gain while sitting in traffic, you’re in luck. Sheppard Method Pilates offers Pilates classes and workshops. Additionally, our website features multiple Pilates resources including blogs with tips and tricks and more information on the history of Pilates.

For more on how we can help guide you through making Pilates a regular part of your life, contact us today!