Jul 03

Double Trouble – Nailing Double Unders

Skipping, jump rope, speed rope, many names but the same principle. On the whole, it’s pretty simple to swing the rope and jump over it. 90% of people can do it no problem at the first time of asking, so much so that it features at primary school sports days (at least it did back when I was at school). Yet with all things CrossFit we have had to step it up slightly… enter the double under. One jump, two revolutions and a whole lot of frustrations. Why is it that it seems to be such a gargantuan leap from singles to doubles?

Doubles are a staple of the CrossFit Open and feature across CrossFit competitions of all levels. It’s one of the clearest markers of transitioning from “beginner” to “intermediate” CrossFitter and once you can complete them in a workout they will add a newfound intensity to your WODs.

It doesn’t have to be years of slashed legs and broken ropes. Work smarter and you can nail doubles in a few sessions. Here’s how it needs to go down.

Jump Higher

This one is simple. The higher you jump the more time there is for the rope to pass under your feet twice before landing. People who tend to be very good at “skipping” tend to struggle at doubles, because they’re used to performing the smaller quicker jumps that we see boxers using.

We need to break that movement pattern. Practice tall, slow singles. Jump as high as you can and try to “hover” in the air between each one.

double unders

It’s a pretty impressive double if I do say so myself…

Jump Straighter

There’s a trade-off here. In the pursuit of jumping higher and hovering for longer people can lose their form. As with everything we do in the gym we need to maintain our virtuosity. The two biggest mistakes we see with regards to jumping in double unders are piking and donkey kicking. Neither are conducive with efficient doubles and you’ll end up limiting how many you can complete unbroken. The shortcut may help you get singles here and there, but it’s not going to get you 50+ unbroken doubles. This is CrossFit, we want efficiency.

Think like a pencil, be the pencil…? Or something else inspiring (you’ll probably remember this more though).

Once you can complete 20 tall, slow, unbroken singles we can start thinking about throwing some doubles in the mix.

It’s All In the Wrists

Speed is king. The faster you spin the rope, the quicker it comes around, the shorter your jump needs to be. This will make your reps quicker and easier on your calves. Obviously, we do not want to burn out on our shoulders by wasting energy on the rope, so we need to generate the rotation from elsewhere.

Keep your shoulders down and relaxed, looking directly at a point in front of you. Keep your elbows close to your sides and generate the rotation from the wrists and forearms. Your arms should not be moving above the elbow!

Nail this and you’ll be able to double all day.

Perfect Practice makes Perfect Performance

Get minutes under your rope. The only way you can expect to progress and continue to nail doubles consistently is to practice regularly. They’re somewhat like riding a bike but you still need to keep your eye in. Use it or lose it!

It takes time to build up to doubles, don’t be disheartened if things don’t immediately fall into place. Video your attempts, analyse and improve.

Anyway… who needs to get triples?!

About The Author

Hi, I'm Jordan, a 22 year old pharmacy student/CrossFit L1 trainer working at CrossFit Norwich in the UK. I've been coaching for over a year now, I'm always striving to learn more and applying it in the gym, I hope you enjoy reading my musings and thoughts.

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