Double unders are a must-have skill for any CrossFitter. They’re a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness and coordination. They are also a lot of fun!
But let’s be honest, they can also be really frustrating when you can’t seem to get them right. That’s why I’m here to give you three tips that will help you improve your double under technique.
Three tips to improve your double under technique are:
- Don’t jump like a dummy
- Use your wrists and forearms
- Check your rope
Ready? Great, let’s break down the details.
Tip one: Don’t jump like a dummy
My first double unders tip is don’t jump like a dummy!
I know it seems crazy, but for whatever reason, when people have a jump rope in their hand, their jump mechanics go completely out of the window.
If I told you to jump up and down repeatedly, the chances are you’d do it by jumping up vertically about 5 inches into the air - that’s how it’s meant to be done.
But throw a rope into the mix, and this basic form gets completely derailed for some athletes.
I’ve seen pike jumping, donkey kicking, and just about everything in between.
So, how do you avoid this?
All you need to do is jump like you normally would.
To not jump like a dummy:
- Keep your torso vertical
- Look straight ahead
- Bend your knees slightly
- Keep toes pointed at the ground
By allowing your toes to stay pointed at the ground, you can rebound really easily. Keeping your knees softly and tucking them slightly with each jump also enables you to set yourself up for the next rep.
If you can do all of this, then you have what it takes to jump for double unders; you just have to make sure that once the rope is in your hand, it doesn’t go out the window.
Tip two: use your wrists and forearms
Tip number two in our double under breakdown is to use your wrist and forearms to spin the rope - not your shoulders.
A common problem that people run into when they do double unders is they immediately tense up, widen their hands, and they try to spin the rope by flailing their entire arms around - moving your arms like this is exhausting.
To get the right action out of the rope, stay relaxed and avoid fatiguing too quickly; instead of straight arming the rope, make sure your elbows stay bent with your shoulders relaxed. Then to get the rope to spin, you just need gently move your forearms and wrists up and down.
To get the double under cadence right, you need to do this in twos, with a very slight pause between each of these doubles.
Your hands and forearms positioning should be slightly in front of your body. At no point when you’re doing double unders should your hands go behind your hip bones.
If you’re spinning the rope properly, and you have the right control over it by focusing on just your forearm and wrist flick, you should be able to whip that rope around without much effort and without needing to flail your arms around crazily.
Tip three: check your rope
Tip number three is you need to check your rope.
The length of your rope is the thing that will usually be the thing that matters the most about your rope jump.
Too short, and you could end up tripping. Too long, and you’re going to struggle to keep your double unders efficient, and it can come back up and hit your feet or just drag across the ground for way too long, messing up your jump.
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to rope length - regardless of how tall you are or how long your arms are, it doesn’t really matter because everyone’s different.
As a general rule, your rope should click the ground ever so slightly as it hits the ground a few inches in front of you - listen out for it.
If it doesn’t, or you have a hard time getting it to make contact with the ground, it’s probably too short. If your rope slaps the ground really hard every time it travels round, it could be too long.
The more efficient you are at jump rope, the shorter your rope will be because your hands will be really low. So if you’re starting out, you may need to opt for a slightly longer rope.
As well as listening for that clicking sound, I would recommend filming yourself in ultra slow motion - something you can do on pretty much every smartphone nowadays. This will help to give you a much better idea of whether your rope is the right length for you.
Another thing to look out for when watching yourself jump in slow motion is to check if your rope has an arc shape. It should maintain a nice, tight U-shape as it spins around your body.
If you’re noticing that the rope is losing its shape and going crazy as you’re spinning it, that means that you’re probably not keeping tension on the rope, and it could mean that you need to go with a rope that has a slightly heavier cable.
And there you have your three tips for mastering your double unders! Give them a go, and I guarantee you’ll be well on your way to perfecting your double unders.
If you’re someone that wants to improve your double unders even faster, we have a completely free double unders training guide for you.Or, if you’re ready to take your double unders to the next level, I have a fanatics course called double unders unleashed. This is a full-blown coaching course where we guarantee you’ll learn and improve your double unders in eight weeks or less - check it out!