How to Program Chipper Workouts

How to Program Chipper Workouts

Programming Chippers 

Writing effective and creative exercise programs is a craft. You develop this craft by sculpting your skillset and technique through hours of practice. To refine it even further, you experiment with variation in your prescriptions. Getting caught in a rut of writing the same programs can be easy to fall in to but can halt your positive growth. The key to keeping your craft fresh and inspired is to introduce new variations to the way you write programs.

One variation you can use when designing metabolic conditioning is the chipper. This article is going to lay out three different ways to prescribe chippers to provide you with plenty of creative inspiration. 

What you prescribe in chipper variations will depend on a client’s capabilities and starting point. Learn the OPEX Assessment to gather this information in the free guide Assess Like an OPEX Coach. 


Chippers are workouts with multiple exercises back to back. The exercises are completed in the order in which they are written. These workouts challenge a client’s ability to self-pace because the pacing strategy will change from exercise to exercise.

A client must learn to break each exercise movement, when necessary, into sets with short rest to complete the chipper as efficiently as possible. Creating variations in workouts will continuously give you new tools that you can bring with you into any design structure. More variation in training experiences will lead to greater development for you as a coach. 



For time:

60 Calorie Row

50 Double Unders

40 Wall Balls

30 Push-Ups

20 Turkish Get-Ups 

10 Overhead Squats

5 Muscle-Ups 

This chipper variation decreases the number of repetitions per set while increasing the difficulty of the skill in each movement. The client will be challenged by more complex movements as they work through the descending piece. 

This style of chipper challenges a client on two levels:

  1. Their ability to plan how to break up each movement pattern, knowing each movement will be more challenging as they progress 
  2. Their ability to accomplish complex movements while under fatigue


For time:

10 Strict Pull-Ups

15 Strict Handstand Push-Ups

20 Strict Knee to Elbows 

25 Kipping Handstand Push-Ups 

30 Kipping Pull-Ups 

35 Kipping Ring Dips 

40 Ring Rows

45 Push-Up 

This chipper variation increases the number of repetitions while reducing the skill complexity in each movement. The muscle contractions involved in each movement transition from slow and tough to fast and easy. 

This style of chipper challenges a client’s muscle fatigue threshold, as each movement will become more challenging as the fatigue curve rises.

Down and Back:

For time:

80 Double Unders

60 Air Squats 

40 Burpees 

20 Calorie Assault Bike 

10 Rope Climbs 

20 Calorie Assault Bike 

40 Burpees 

60 Air Squats

80 Double Unders

This chipper variation has a client work through different exercises with descending repetitions, followed by ascending repetitions back to the first exercise.

This style of a chipper is a great way to challenge a client to match how they paced the first half of the workout during the second half. They will have an idea of what each exercise will feel like and can use this experience to implement a plan as they work their way back to the starting point.

Exercise program design takes time to perfect, we get it! But by always learning and refining your craft you will slowly get better over time. That’s why we created the Professional Coaching Blueprint–a free course designed for coaches looking to improve their programming skills. Sign up now and become the coach you’ve always wanted to be.


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