There is no such thing as I don’t have double unders, there is just I don’t have double unders…yet!
Double unders are those elusive things that, in theory are easy to do, just jump and spin the rope under you twice, easy right? Wrong. You jump and spin, and it just doesn’t work, you end up tangled, or even worse, whipped.
Double unders incorporate almost all of the 10 Crossfit general physical skills;
They are an amazing tool for increasing your fitness, and when you get an unbroken set, you do feel a little bit ace.
Here are our top 5 tips on how to improve your Double Unders
Make sure you rope is the right length.
Stand on your rope with both feet and the end of the handles should come up to your arm pits.
If your rope is to short, you end up cutting yourself of at the shins with each jump, or you make the jump with one foot and not the other, length is crucial, make sure you check the length of your rope before you start jumping!
If you want to get more technical and down to the inch specific. Here is a link for the Rx jump ropes page about correct rope length
Keep your elbows tucked in.
Start with your elbows tucked, and keep them there.
As you start skipping if you elbows come out from your sides, you are widening your grip and therefore, shortening your rope, and you end up in the exact same predicament as if you had got a short rope in the first place.
This will absolutely mess with your co-ordination when you try it, because you will be focused on the paper, and not the actual jump, but even try some singles and see what happens, it’s just a training tool and will help you to realise if and when your arms start to get wider and wider.
A good way to see if you are doing this is to try some single or double unders with something tucked in between you elbows and ribs, something like a tissue, or a piece of paper works well, that way as soon as it drops you know your elbows have come apart.
Jump up and down, keep it simple!
Avoid jumping into a pike position, or a donkey kick position where your feet are behind you, you want to jump and try and keep your feet underneath you. This will help you to absorb the impact better and you will also be ready to rebound faster, which will help to get those unbroken sets.
Also try to put your heels down at the bottom of the jump, again this will help to absorb the impact through the foot, and it will also mean that your ankle joint will go through more range of movement and help to slow down the process of your calves seizing up.
Rotate the rope from your wrist.
Don’t use your whole arm to spin the rope, just use your wrist.
All that’s necessary it a flick of the wrist, yes, it’s a fast flick, but that is all that’s needed.
If you are rotating your whole arm to get that rope around, the rope may be too heavy, or more likely, you are creating a slow rope turn, and you will never get it around twice whilst doing one jump.
We want the rope to move efficiently, so you can maximum output, by using the least amount of energy.
Timing is everything.
Every person has their own unique timing with DU’s, but in general, the rope movement has to be fast, and the jump needs to be high and a little slow.
Timing is important for both when trying to get your first double under, or even trying to link them together.
If you can do one DU here and there, but it ends in big flat footed jump that you couldn’t link together with anything, try and find a rhythm of a few singles and then a double, then straight back into the singles without stopping, keep the rhythm, keep the timing. As you progress you will start doing fewer a fewer singles in between the doubles.
If all else fails in regards to timing, talk to a coach and have them video it for you. Watch it back in slow motion frame by frame with your coach and see if you can spot the fault. For such high speed movements like the double under this is an extremely useful tool. We use a few different apps for this although most common is Coaches Eye. Here is the iOS app download link and here is the Android app link.
Now, keep in mind these things are all just a guide, nothing is set in stone, and at the end of the day, the way to improve on your DUs is by doing them! But if you can keep these things in mind, they may help you to get your first double, or even link a few together or do 100 unbroken, who knows!