Remember the good ole days when you could pick up a jump rope and playfully skip in the schoolyard. Or you and your friends taking turns swinging those long ropes for some double dutch. You didn't over think it. You didn't worry about perfect technique. You were relaxed. You enjoyed it. It was like second nature.
Now you have joined this cult and we are telling you to take this plastic torture device, swing it as quickly as possible and get the rope to pass under your feet 2 times for every 1 jump. Oh and by the way it is going to make you feel like someone kicked the wind out of you, it's possibly going to lash you to death, and one more thing....we are going to time you.
Why in the hell would anyone want to put themselves through this? This can not be healthy? It can't be that much more beneficial than single jumps?
To the contrary, there are TONS of benefits to adding double unders into your training program. There are few movements that can tax both of your energy systems fully (anaerobic and aerobic) while improving your nervous system at the same time.
In theory it seems simple. "I can jump rope. Really all I have to do it just spin the rope faster, right?" Unfortunately this is easier said than done. It requires alot of movement, timing, coordination and balance. So this means that the best way to get better at double unders is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
Here are a few helpful tips and tricks to help you along this jump roping journey.
- Find a rope that works for you. A thin plastic rope that will spin quickly is ideal. You can get these types of ropes at a number of places but I recommend www.AgainFaster.com. This is where I got my rope and I love it. They are about $13. Very reasonably priced.
- Make sure that your rope fits you. This is why I recommend getting your own rope. You can customize it to a length that will set you up for success. When you step into the middle of the rope, the handles should come up to your armpits. Some prefer a little longer or a little shorter but straying too far from this will hinder your ability to be efficient. Also using the same rope all the time will give you a sense of consistency and ultimately help you become better.
- Keep your weight on your toes. Yes, you heard me right. In CrossFit we put such a focus on weight in the heels but for this particular movement I WANT YOU ON YOUR TOES!!! Landing too hard or jumping flat footed is definitely going to hold you back.
- Keep your head up. When you are looking down you begin to lean forward and this throws your entire body off balance. You want to remain in a stacked upright position at all times while jumping.
- Smaller jumps are best! This will eliminate unnecessary body movement and help you maintain balance. The key is to jump higher by springing off the balls of the feet. Don't lift the knees. Don't kick your feet back. Don't pike your feet forward. Although you may be able to perform some reps, these extra body movements will tire you quicker and certainly limit you in stringing multiples together.
- Turn the rope with your wrists. Use small fast turing motion. You are able to spin the rope much faster this way. Bigger circles using your arms will cause you to miss the jump more often than not.
- RELAX!! The worst thing you can do is become frustrated and tense up. I can promise you (because I have done it) that the moment you lose your head and become frustrated it's over. You will definitely not be able to do double unders with any sort of efficiency.
By following these steps you will improve your ability to do double unders. However ultimately the responsibility is on you. Your coach or trainer can talk and teach until the grass fed cows come home but you have to be determined and continue to practice them all the time. You can do double unders everyday in some capacity without affecting your training program. So get out there and get to jumpin!