You've done a few double unders, but now you feel stuck, now what?
How can you achieve the goal of achieving 100 unbroken and start crushing big sets in your workouts?
This article is about how you can learn to go from 10 to 100 plus unbroken, double unders in five steps.
So the five things I'm going to cover will help you learn how to do double unders. It doesn't matter whether you're going to be competing, practicing in your backyard, or doing them at the local gym.
If you want to break into big, unbroken sets of 50 or 100 plus, this article is for you.
Tip 1: The Learning Curve
So the first tip that you need to know to learn 100 plus unbroken double unders is that learning double unders is not linear.
So we've all seen the classic learning curve; many people think you start at the bottom and end at the top.
And progress should be made linearly, so I'm getting better every time I practice double unders.
The fact of the matter is, especially with something like double unders, which are very temperamental, the learning curve looks like a tangled web, where you eventually end up better than you started.
But it is a very twisty, turny, very sometimes demoralizing thing.
When I was learning to do double unders, there was one day when I could do a bunch unbroken. I hit 30 or 40, unbroken, which was a huge PR for me.
And I thought for sure that I was off to the races. I was like, 'I finally unlocked the code. I can do double unders.' And then I remember that the next time I came to the gym and tried double unders, I was back to seemingly square one, where I could only do a couple in a row.
That was extremely frustrating.
So the first thing you need to know before embarking on this journey to 100 plus unbroken is you will have days to hit 100 unbroken or 50 unbroken.
But then you might come back the next day, or the next time you practice double unders, and you can hardly get a couple unbroken.
So please understand that and internalize that before you embark on this journey.
And now that we've learned that your progress is not linear, your learning is not linear.
Now it's time to talk about everything you can do to help get those 100 unbroken and stay there.
Tip 2: Adaptability
So for this tip, you need to practice adaptability.
And what I mean by that is you need to practice with different styles, elements, ropes, and fatigue levels.
Too often, I see people who can do double unders only do them under certain conditions; they can only do them with their specific rope when they're very fresh, have no shoulder fatigue, and are not out of breath.
Like they have to have all these conditions perfectly aligned for them to do sets of double unders; that is a lousy way to learn. Because if one of those conditions is off, let's say you have a workout that fatigues your shoulders a little bit more than usual, boom, your double unders are out the window.
Or let's say you had to borrow a friend's rope, or maybe even the competition you're going to is like, 'Nope, you have to use our rope,' which I've seen several times; guess what? Poof, your double unders are gone.
So you need to practice adaptability on your road to 100 plus consistently.
You need to make sure that you're changing the rope, you need to make sure that you're borrowing your friend's rope, you're trying speed ropes, you're trying heavy ropes, you're trying ropes that are slightly longer, slightly shorter.
Not only is that going to help you fine-tune which rope is perfect for you. But you'll also build in some resiliency and adaptability, so I know that if someone hands me their jump rope, and they're not taller than six foot four, I'm probably going to be able to do double unders with their jump rope regardless of what it is.
Because I can change my pace, cadence, and arms, I know how to adapt my double unders to fit the situation that I'm in.
I've practiced numerous times under extreme fatigue. I know how to do double unders when my shoulders are tired. I know how to do double unders when I'm cold. I know how to do double unders when I'm exhausted or feeling fresh.
On your road to learning double unders, I encourage you to change the variables.
Don't always practice at the end of your session.
Don't always practice at the beginning.
Don't always practice with the same rope.
So there are a bunch of different factors that you can change, but I've mentioned a few.
Suppose you change a few of those factors and get good at doing double unders with things slightly out of whack. In that case, I assure you, that's going to make for a much more robust double under, and your road to 100 plus consistently will be much, much smoother than the people who must have the same rope with the same conditions under the same fatigue with the same shoes and the same everything.
And the problem of those people is that with one variable change, poof, they're double unders disappear, and that's not what we want.
Tip 3: Relax and Breathe
So this tip is all about learning how to relax and breathe.
You can do 20, unbroken holding your breath. But it's true mastery when you can do 100 unbroken because there's no way someone's getting to 100 plus double unders in a row consistently without being able to relax and breathe.
So relaxing and breathing are two significant obstacles that prevent people from breaking into those more extensive sets.
They maybe can do 10, 15, 20, perhaps even 50 double unders, but they get so tense, their shoulders are blown up, and they're flailing around like crazy, and they forget to breathe.
Once you get to that 50-plus mark, the wheels completely fall off the bus.
So what you can do to practice relaxing and breathing, I'll introduce a couple of different drills.
Number one is I want you to practice double unders without counting.
And what I mean by that is, rather than sitting there and doing double unders, like '1 2 3 4,' and having that internal count in your head, which a lot of people don't realize causes them to hyperventilate.
Instead, I'm going to ask one of my friends to be like, 'Hey, can you come to count these double unders for me? I'm not going to count. I'm just going to focus on breathing and spinning.' And then you can focus on doing double unders, and you can settle into the rhythm and focus on things that you otherwise wouldn't be able to focus on.
Like, 'are my shoulders relaxed? Am I taking nice, deep, controlled breaths?' Because you don't need to hyperventilate when you do double unders, you can take substantially controlled breaths.
That's why for many people, the CrossFit Games, the double unders look like a rest because it is just jumping up and down and barely flicking the wrist, and they're taking nice, deep, controlled breaths.
If you eliminate counting from the equation and let someone else do that for you, you don't worry about counting at all; you can focus on the finer details of the movement of your foot positioning and where your hands are.
You can practice applying them without having to worry about counting.
That's the first thing I like to do when it comes to relaxing and learning how to breathe, saying, 'hey, try not counting for a little while; let someone else do it.'
When you stop counting, you'll be amazed at how many other things you start to notice, like jump positioning, risk positioning, and cadence.
And then next, what we can do to help us relax our shoulders, is maybe you're the kind of person that likes to do double unders tense and you've got that tense neck, you got the tense shoulders, everything's tense, your arms are straight, but you can still do a lot of double unders.
Well, let me introduce you to your least favorite thing, which is the band.
So with athletes who are too tense, too uptight, or fatiguing themselves in the double unders. I take a band, just a simple jump stretch band, I fold it, and I'll have them step into it. And then I'll have them wrapped.
They can wrap the band around each arm, or you can honestly, if that's not tight enough, you can put both bands at both ends around the arms.
So once you have your arms in the band, you can practice awkwardly and frustratingly to spin the rope.
What happens is that when your arms are banded down, you physically cannot use your shoulders to expand your arms.
So no longer can you muscle jump up through its motions by using your shoulders, which causes a lot of fatigue and tenses up your neck.
Instead, with a band, you're forced to use your forearms and wrist to spin the rope. So it's really a crutch.
But once you learn how to spin like this, it allows you to relax your shoulders, neck, and breathing, which will help you get into those more significant sets of double unders.
So if you find yourself getting really tense and tight during your double unders, introduce a band, and it's going to suck. You're not going to be able to do very many, but once you learn how to do double unders with a band around your arms, it helps you relax your shoulders and do more extensive sets unbroken.
Tip 4: Variable Speed
This is one of my favorites and something I don't hear many people talk about, and that's variable speed double unders.
Often I see athletes who have one speed and one speed only. Usually, it's fast, so basically, when they do double unders, all they can do is one speed, and it causes them to trip.
To develop true mastery in double unders, learn how to vary your speed.
So inside one of my full-blown double under programmes, double unders unleashed, we talk about variable speed double unders.
So what that means is, can you do slow double unders? And fast double unders? Without tripping?
When I do my double unders at my average speed, I am like, 'can I slow it down? And then, can I go faster? And then, can I slow it down? Right, how slow can I make it?' So a true double under master can vary their speeds from really slow, controlled and relaxed to fast; they can do that all without tripping.
So if you find yourself stuck in a rut where you're not able to hit 100 plus consistently, then you should practice sets of double unders where you start slow, go really fast, and then come back down.
It's like what sprinters do.
There are a lot of times when runners and sprinters go fast, slow down, really, really fast, slow down, and vary their speeds.
This is a valuable and underutilized tool when learning how to do double unders. If you can only do double unders of one speed, and then if anything is messed up, you will trip.
But to the people who can modify their speed, they can adjust the speed of their jump, the height of their jump, the speed of their wrist, the width of the rope, all those things, when you can modify those things, and not trip and go from slow to fast to slow to medium. Then you have much more resiliency in your double unders.
The chances of you hitting 100 plus unbroken will be much higher because often, on these more extensive sets of double unders, I like to start slow, and then I pick up the pace. Or if I'm fatigued, I may slow down in the middle of a set; sometimes, I start sets really fast.
And then I settle down and calm down, and I move slower.
But if you are comfortable varying your speeds in the middle of sets, you will hit 100 plus unbroken consistently, much more easily.
Tip 5: Start and End with 100
The last and final thing I want to teach you on your road to 100 plus unbroken double unders consistently is I like to either start or end every session with 100.
I don't care whether you do it at the beginning or the end; I suggest varying it.
But once you can hit 30 or more double unders consistently, which, if you're reading this article, you might be close and only be hitting 10 or 20.
I want you to begin or end every training session with 100 double unders.
I don't care how long it takes you. I want you to try to hit 100 in as few sets as possible.
So all you're doing is saying, 'alright, I'm going to start the clock to 100, 3,2,1 Go. And I'm going to try to do the biggest set possible to get to 100 double unders,'
You might find that it takes you ten sets, and sometimes, you might also find that one of those days, one of those sessions, poof, you're going to do all 100 unbroken, and that's going to be a great day.
But the consistency is the training mindset, like, 'alright, you know, I'm done with my workout today. So let me pick up this rope 3,2,1 go', and I'm just trying to do 100, for most people, especially if we're talking about doing 100 unbroken here.
That kind of volume should be okay for most people.
But if you're reading this article, you probably can do 100 plus.
So the way to grease the groove on those skills is to apply everything we just talked about and either end or begin your training sessions with 100.
See if you can shave it down to only two sets.
At first, it might be four or five sets.
And one day, you might have 20 sets. But eventually, it's only going to take you two, maybe three sets.
And at some point, boom, you're going to be able to hit that first set of unbroken 100.
And it's going to come out of nowhere, and then I don't want you to stop; I want you to keep going. How many? How many training sessions in a row? Can you do all 100 unbroken? Because what that's going to do will help grease the groove that helped build that resiliency, can you fresh hit 100? Can you fatigue at the end of the session and hit 100?
That's the mark of a true double under master.
And if you're reading this, and you're like, 'Hey, Ben, I can maybe do ten on a good day,' then you can change that. And instead of making it 100, maybe make it 30 or 50; you can take it however you want.
But before or after, not before and after, I don't want you to do it two times in one session, but before or after each training session, or at a minimum two times per week, just hit that benchmark number, however long it takes you to get there.
Then you have that benchmark to compare against yourself, and eventually, you will knock out that set unbroken every time.
So I hope you liked this article and it helps you understand what it takes the mindset and the fundamental skills to go from ten or so unbroken to 100 plus consistently, every single time.
I also have a free double unders guide I would love to send you.
If you're someone who might say, 'Hey, Ben, I love your coaching style. And I'm really invested. I'm ready to learn double unders.' Then we have a new double under training course that you can buy from WODprep when available or join WODprep Academy, which gives you access to all of our training courses.