double-unders-400x277

Jump To It: Double Unders 101 by Tabata Times

Every CrossFitter has a goat (or two) – could double-unders be yours? The answer is “yes” if your heart jumps into your throat whenever “Annie” shows up on the whiteboard at your box. While some CrossFit movements require development of strength or flexibility, double-unders require nothing more than lots of coordination and good old-fashioned practice time. Let’s check in with some experts for helpful hints on technique that you can use now to go from no double-unders to some, or from some to unbroken sets.

“I do not have double-unders (yet)…”

The 10-minute lesson

Jon Gilson presents a comprehensive overview of jump-roping technique in this slightly longer instructional video. With James Hobart modeling the movement, this video is ideal for beginner athletes who are starting from scratch and learning the rhythm of singles first. Some points Gilson emphasizes include:

  • Hands in front of torso
  • Hands rotate from wrist
  • Good up and down bounce
  • Jump when rope is about to hit the ground
  • Practice linked singles, alternating single and double unders, and then linked double unders
  • Practice plyometric bounce with feet to develop the footwork/ jumping technique necessary for a double under

The 5-minute lesson

If you are a little shorter on time, check out Carl Paoli’s basic tips on how to get started with double-unders:

  • Practice power jumps with single unders with a flow to your jump (to develop the footwork/jumping technique & timing for a double under).
  • Maintain a hollow body position while jumping (don’t kick your heels back, etc.).
  • Remember: a double under is just a power jump with rope passing under the feet twice.

Carl P. offers a few more tips and tricks, too:  

  • Fold the jump rope in half and practice the wrist rotation needed for double unders one hand; repeat with the other hand.
  • Progress to performing the same drill with one jump rope in each hand.
  • While turning a folded rope in each hand, practice jumps and power jumps to coordinate the two movements.
  • Comfortable? Put it all together and go back to practicing with one rope.

And one more for good measure…

Chris Spealler shows you how to improve your double-under efficiency. (He’s a double-under pro; have you seen him do “Annie”?) If you already feel comfortable with performing single unders, it is time to progress to double under attempts, followed by improving unbroken sets. A few pointers to guide your journey:

  • Check your rope length: stepping on the rope, the handles should be armpit height
  • Hold hands close in tight and out in front (wide hands makes the rope shorter)
  • Rotate (or “spin”) the rope from the wrist (NOT the shoulders)
  • Find focal point in front
  • Try to jump up and down in roughly the same spot (traveling leads to tripping)
  • Avoid excess movement, like piking – keep it smooth

 

Carl P. offers a few more tips and tricks, too:  

  • Fold the jump rope in half and practice the wrist rotation needed for double unders one hand; repeat with the other hand.
  • Progress to performing the same drill with one jump rope in each hand.
  • While turning a folded rope in each hand, practice jumps and power jumps to coordinate the two movements.
  • Comfortable? Put it all together and go back to practicing with one rope.

And one more for good measure…

Chris Spealler shows you how to improve your double-under efficiency. (He’s a double-under pro; have you seen him do “Annie”?) If you already feel comfortable with performing single unders, it is time to progress to double under attempts, followed by improving unbroken sets. A few pointers to guide your journey:

  • Check your rope length: stepping on the rope, the handles should be armpit height
  • Hold hands close in tight and out in front (wide hands makes the rope shorter)
  • Rotate (or “spin”) the rope from the wrist (NOT the shoulders)
  • Find focal point in front
  • Try to jump up and down in roughly the same spot (traveling leads to tripping)
  • Avoid excess movement, like piking – keep it smooth

These are hard! Tell me again why double-unders are important, please.

Three reasons to develop your double-unders:

    1. accuracy
    2. coordination
    3. balance

So why do double unders? If I can spin the rope twice under my feet, how does this make me fitter? If you remember the 10 physical skills which CrossFit develops, they include accuracy, coordination, and balance — double unders develop all three of these essential skills. In fact, Carl Paoli explains how they are a gymnastic skill, given that one must maintain a tight, neutral hollow position while performing them.In a CrossFit Journal article with Kelly Starrett, he refers to the hollow body position as being “the position” and double unders as a good starting point for developing the midline stability required of it. As any CrossFitter knows, midline stability is central to nearly every single movement performed in a WOD. In other words, developing a strong midline leads to better overall fitness. Double-unders are also practice in opening up the hips explosively, needed for cleans, push press, and Olympic lifting in general.

One thing is certain: not practicing double unders will not lead to improvement — so face your goat head-on and become a better athlete in the process!
Workout 12.6.13:
Skillwork: Pick one or two skills to focus on: double unders, muscle ups, kipping, rope climbs, etc OR:
Make up a missed lift
WOD:

“Don’t hate me”
400 meter walking lunges