Nobody likes chippers. I don’t know one person who says “Oooooh! Great! A chipper!” No. The chipper is a putrid string of tasks that you somehow manage to get through. It’s hard and ugly. But that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed out of hand.
People rail against the chipper. They like to talk about what a horrible time it is and how it’s bad programming. And those critics are right … if you just throw shit together and that’s all you do. But a well-designed chipper has its place in the CrossFit pantheon — the same way the couplets, triplets, slow lifts, fast lifts, time domain, task domain, and single modality workouts have their places.
Now if you program chippers all the time? 4, or 5, or 6 times a week? Then you’re just beating down your people. You are probably guilty of the infamous “Any Asshole” programming that we warn about at the Level 1 Seminars. (Although some folks get this confused and think if you program a chipper once a month, that you are guilty of the same thing.)
The chipper is not short and sexy. It’s not strong and hot. The chipper is long and slow and grindy and it beats you down. But you keep fighting, you keep slogging, and you finish it. See? The chipper is most like life.
Life doesn’t come at you in rounds of three movements to repeat. Nor is it one lift, rest, lift, rest, lift, rest. And it’s sure not a 10 min AMRAP. No, most of life is a long series of unrelated tasks that beat you down and grind you into the ground. So you just keep chipping away at the list, the tasks, everything, until you get where you want to be. And then you keep going.
Maybe that’s another reason the chipper is important. Maybe the benefits are more pyschological than physical. Maybe you learn more about who you are in a chipper.
Do this one thing. Then the next. Chip away. Keep going. You’ll get there.