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How to Do Double Unders for your CrossFit WOD
A challenging CrossFit skill that probably takes more patience than any other is the double under. The double under is a jumperope technique wherein the rope passes twice under the feet during one jump. This is one of the few skills that you practice wherein you get whipped when you do it wrong. It’s great negative reinforcement, but it can make the most soft-spoken, gentle person curse like street thug. It can be frustrating. I hope this guide below will minimize your frustration when learning to do double unders.
Sizing the Rope for You
You need to have your own rope measured to fit you. To measure your rope, stand in the middle of the cable with both feet together. The tip of the handles should touch inside your armpit. You can make a longer rope work, but if it is fitted to you, your technique will be more efficient. A speed jumprope with a steel cable is much better than a leather, poly or plastic jumprope.
First you will practice the fundamentals of jumping and spinning the rope. Then you will put it together and work on a progression until you can link multiple double unders together.
Practice the Jump
1. Jump in place like you are jumping on a single under, then add a higher jump. Don’t change your body position. Keep your body upright and tighten your abdominal muscles.
2. Jump higher on single - do the same as above, but do it while doing single unders.
Practice the Rope Spin
1. Hold both handles of a jumprope in your right hand and practice spinning the rope with only your wrists. Spin the rope with tension and speed. Spin it first at the speed of the single under and then spin it really fast. Listen to the difference in sound.
2. Do the same as above in your left hand.
3. Hold 2 jumpropes, one in the right hand and one in the left. Spin the ropes in sync. Spin them at your single under speed and also spin them faster.
Putting it Together
Again, while holding 2 jumpropes, spin the ropes, but this time practice jumping while spinning them. Combine your short jumps with the single under speed, then combine your high jumps with the after speed. This will help you coordinate jumping and spinning the rope together.
After you feel comfortable with the movements above you will start working on the timing and movement in the progression below. Focus on each part until you are comfortable then move to the next step.
Double Under Progression:
1. Practice until you can do consistent single unders with an efficient jump and spin.
2. Practice getting just one double under. Pay attention to the sound of the rope. Try to land softly.
3. Practice alternating single unders and double unders without stopping or tripping on the rope.
4. Learn to string multiple double unders together. Keep practicing and pay attention to the key points below.
One of the most important things in improving your double unders (and any skill) is to practice them frequently. I find that the skill can be perishable. If you don’t stay fresh in your double under practice, your skill may diminish a bit. I recommend you practice double unders as a part of your warmup for each training session. Make it a goal to do 10, 20 or 30 double unders in the warmup. Try to string together as many as you can.
When you are still learning double unders in our CrossFit class, we count bona fide attempts at double unders. You will still get a good workout and the desire to finish the WOD may just help you string together more than you ever have before.