Fitness and Training: Chipper Workouts

Chippers are a style of workout that I’ve been playing with for a year or two, although I only learned the name this week. What can I say? I’m a little slow. A chipper is a style of workout comprised of many different movements, which are performed in high volume sets. You complete all the reps for each exercise before moving on to the next. In essence, you “chip away” at this workout in manageable chunks, taking short breaks whenever you need them. The idea is to find a pace that is challenging but can still be maintained for the duration of the workout. Record your total time so you can challenge yourself to do it faster next time!

What does this have to do with hiking and backpacking? Chippers are often loaded with leg- and core-strengthening bodyweight movements, which will help you increase your muscle endurance. They will also get your heart rate up and give you a decent cardiovascular workout. I enjoy doing chippers both with and without weights. There are limitless variations of these workouts, so they never have to get stale or boring. I rarely do the same one twice (unless it’s as a benchmark to see if I’ve improved). Chippers can include bodyweight movements, weighted movements, and even running.

Example 1: Bodyweight Chipper

Example 2:Chipper w/Weights and Running – The weights listed are suggestions for those in good physical condition. You should adjust the weights up or down to fit your abilities. Use the heaviest weight with which you can maintain good form for the entire set.

Example 3: Bodyweight Chipper w/ Running

  • 100 Burpees
  • 100 Pushups
  • Run 1 Mile
  • 100 Squat Jumps
  • 100 Sit Ups

I often use chippers (especially Bodyweight Chippers) as just one part of a longer workout, but you don’t have to. This type of workout can be brutal on its own. Chippers can be used as part of your normal routine or just to mix things up when your workouts get stale. Remember to keep the tempo challenging, but not so fast that you burn yourself out early. Don’t overdo the weights either. You want to be challenged, but it’s also important that you are able to complete all reps with proper form. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to get hurt! Practice the form before your start using any new movements. As always, if you are unsure of your current condition, always consult a doctor or fitness professional before starting a new workout routine.



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