This CrossFit-style 'chipper' workout challenges the whole body in 24 minutes — and you only need dumbbells to try it

Man performing a renegade row push up with dumbbell
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’ve never tried a chipper workout, you’re missing out. These challenging sessions are popular in CrossFit and involve doing a high amount of reps of each exercise in the workout, resting as required as you chip away at the total.

This dumbbell chipper workout was put together by Callum Osbourne, personal trainer at F45 Cambridge, and involves two different chipper blocks, one that targets the lower body and one that targets the upper body.

You’ll need a set of dumbbells for the workout, along with a yoga mat to protect your floor during the renegade row exercises. Given the high amount of reps you have to do for each move, a lighter set of weights is probably the smart choice, or if you have a set of adjustable dumbbells you could start with a heavier weight and reduce it as required.

What is the Dumbbell Chipper workout?

The workout is broken up into two 12-minute blocks, the first mainly targeting the upper body and the second mainly hitting the lower body. With each block you work through the exercises as described, completing all the reps of an exercise before moving onto the next one.

In the first block you rest for however long you have left of your 12 minutes after completing the exercises, before moving onto the second block. You can rest whenever you need to during the chipper workout, but Osbourne has included a sneaky kicker for both blocks, which is that every two minutes you stop doing whatever exercise you’re one and do five burpees before returning to that exercise. 

Given how many reps you have to do of each move this burpee break might be welcome, which is something I never thought I’d say about burpees. Osbourne suggests doing a five-minute warm-up to prepare for the workout.

For this it’s best to do some dynamic stretches of the muscles you’re going to use, and maybe work through a short set of each exercise in the session using very light weights to fire up the target muscles.

The details of the workout are below, and Osbourne has also given form guides for each exercise, which you’ll find beneath the workout.

Block 1: Upper-body chipper

You have 12 minutes to complete the three upper-body exercises below, then resting for the remainder of the 12 minutes. Remember, every two minutes you need to do five burpees.

Block 2: Lower-body chipper

Once again you have 12 minutes to complete the three moves below, stopping to do five burpees every two minutes.

Exercise guides

If you're not sure how to do any of the moves then you can find guides for each below.

Floor press

Lie on the floor in a bridge position with your hips off the floor, holding your dumbbells by your chest. Engage the glutes and press the dumbbells away from the body. Lower them back down so your elbows drop level with your chest for a full range of movement.

Dumbbell snatch

Writer Sam performing a dumbbell snatch in a gym using the Bowflex SelectTech 552i adjustable dumbbell raised in the air overhead with right arm raised

(Image credit: Future owns/ Sam Hopes)

Start with one dumbbell on the floor, bending at the hips to reach down and grab it. Drive through your feet, brace your core and lift the dumbbell so it tracks close to the body as you bring it up to your chest, then flip your elbow underneath it and press the weight overhead. Alternate arms for each rep.

Renegade row

Start in a high plank position with your hands on the dumbbells. Row one dumbbell up to your hip, keeping your core tight and hips straight and not rotating the body. Then put it down and row the other dumbbell. The wider the feet, the easier for balance and stability.

Burpee

From standing drop into a high plank position and lower your chest to the floor. Push back up, stand up and then jump into the air reaching your hands above your head.

Lateral lunge

Start standing holding a dumbbell in each hand. Take a large step to the right and hinge forward slightly at the hips as you lower towards your right foot, moving the dumbbells so they are either side of your right knee. Then push back up and lunge to the other side. Use light weights for this and focus on having a good range of motion.

Dumbbell thruster

Man performing dumbbell thrusters outdoors on grass with dumbbells on shoulders

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Start in a squat position with the dumbbells racked on your shoulders. Your knees should be parallel to or below your hips. Use the power from the legs to drive up and push the dumbbells up so your arms are fully extended over your head. Return to a squat with each rep.

Reverse lunge

Stand with a dumbbell in each hand. Take a step back and lower your knee to the floor, then drive back up through the front foot. Alternate legs with each rep.

What are the benefits of chipper workouts?

Doing so many reps of each exercise in a chipper workout helps to build strength and endurance in the target muscles, and because you are working for such long periods chipper workouts also help to improve your cardiovascular fitness. They are also good workouts for building mental fortitude, because it’s daunting to tackle such high rep counts and it takes mental strength to keep at it until they are done.

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Nick Harris-fry
Senior Writer

Nick Harris-fry is an experienced health and fitness journalist, writing professionally since 2012. He spent nine years working on the Coach magazine and website before moving to the fitness team at Tom’s Guide in 2024. Nick is a keen runner and also the founder of YouTube channel The Run Testers, which specialises in reviewing running shoes, watches, headphones and other gear.

Nick ran his first marathon in 2016 after six weeks of training for a magazine feature and subsequently became obsessed with the sport. He now has PBs of 2hr 27min for the marathon and 15min 30sec for 5K, and has run 13 marathons in total, as well as a 50-mile ultramarathon.

He runs 50-80 miles a week and races regularly with his club, which gives him a lot of opportunity to test out running gear: he has tested and reviewed hundreds of pairs of running shoes, as well as fitness trackers, running watches, sports headphones, treadmills, and all manner of other kit. Nick is also a qualified Run Leader in the UK.