Keep your dumbbell exercises subtle during the workday.
Exercising at the office is an ideal way to keep your body active during the workday, especially if you work long hours and don't have time to visit the gym. Some people perform stretches to maintain flexibility while sitting at their desk, but it's possible to also boost your strength by performing a series of exercises with a pair of small dumbbells.
Dumbbells can help build the strength in your arms, even at the office. Dumbbell curls target your biceps, while dumbbell extensions work your triceps and wrist curls strengthen your forearms. To perform curls, for example, stand or sit upright with a dumbbell in each hand and alternate raising the weights toward your shoulder. A perk of curls and extensions is they're possible to perform while seated, which won't draw excess attention to yourself at work.
Dumbbells aren't just suitable for building your arms. With the right approach, you can also use them to increase the resistance of a number of lower-body exercises. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and perform weighted squats and lunges to strengthen your quads. To target your calves, hold a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your feet flat and lift yourself onto your toes before slowly lowering your heels back to the floor. Although calf raises are ideal to perform with your feet on a ledge, this setup isn't necessarily possible in an office.
Your office might not be conducive to core exercises, but if you're comfortable with using the floor, a set of weighted crunches are effective. To execute a weighted crunch, hold the dumbbell against your chest as you lift your upper body off the floor. Bent-over rows, which target your back muscles, are ideal if you have an armless chair or bench in your office. If you're able to lie on a bench or the floor of your office, a set of dumbbell bench presses can help strengthen your chest.
Your boss likely doesn't want the office to take on the appearance of a gym, so speak to your supervisor about performing some basic dumbbell exercises before you attempt to do so. Large dumbbells help you build muscle faster, but small dumbbells are easy to store in your desk drawer and shouldn't cause you to grunt loudly enough to disturb your colleagues. With each exercise you perform, aim for around 10 reps and, if possible, perform three sets of each exercise over the course of the day.