Let’s face it - there’s a lot more that goes into double unders than just swinging a rope around and jumping. So I want to take a second to talk through something that may seem simple, but is super important...
When most people string together their first few unbroken reps, they default to double under jumping styles that aren’t necessarily energy efficient. Not to mention, they can make you look absolutely ridiculous.
Let’s take some time to look at the two biggest mistakes...
The pike jump. This is when someone jumps and keeps their legs locked out and straight, with their feet pointed. A pike jump also forces the feet forward, so that basically the entire body is slightly folding forward in order to rebound, instead of remaining straight up and down.
This may be due to some kind of unexplained idea that bringing your feet forward help to avoid the rope that’s passing under… which isn’t actually the case.
In truth, there is barely any height difference at all when comparing a pike jump to the correct double under jump form (which I’ll get to a little further down) - the feet actually come up to about the same level above the ground in both cases.
And the downside is, piking is very inefficient. It creates a ton of unnecessary forward and backwards movement, wasting your precious energy during a workout.
The donkey kick. This is what I call a double under jump when I see athletes lifting their feet up behind them, and tucking them towards their butt.
The reason why someone might default to this is again, the thought process of the higher you bring your feet, the more clearance for the rope. Makes sense, however it’s again a huge waste of energy, specifically for your hamstrings.
On top of that, donkey kicking sets you up to be in a bad landing position. You don’t just jump straight up and down with a donkey kick, your feet are also moving back and forth.
It may give you some extra of hang time, but the extra exertion just isn’t worth it.
It’s what I call the ‘pogo stick position’.
Compare all the extra movement described above to the more compact pogo stick jump, which keeps your legs and feet underneath your center of gravity. It’s simply a smoother movement. Pogo stick jumping should keep you in a vertical position, with a slight bend at the hips as well as the knees.
This type of double under jump also helps you absorb yourself back into the spring, so that when you jump up the spring extends, and when you come back down the spring loads.
(Think: body position transitioning from a straight line, to a bendy line)
An added plus is that the pogo stick jump form allows you to land with more brace and control, as well as less noise.
Good DU jumping form = softer landing = less stress on your body.
Don’t get me wrong, jump height is also an important factor when it comes to double unders. If you find yourself pogo stick jumping, but still tripping on the rope, try switching back to single-unders, and practicing a slightly higher jump.
Take a big jump, and pass the rope under your feet once. This helps to mimic the rhythm of a double under jump with the correct form, so that all you need to do moving forward is increase your wrist speed.
These may seem like tiny, nit-picky details, but they truly do make a difference when it comes to bettering your double unders and becoming more efficient. Take some time to study what your double under jump form looks like, and adjust as necessary.
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Be sure to leave us a comment and let us know what your biggest double under sticking points are. We are here to help!
The CEO and Head Coach at WODprep, Ben is passionate about helping fitness athletes of all abilities get their competitive edge and learn new skills! He's currently living in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and two dogs, and whenever possible the two love to travel and explore new places around the world (and meet new WODprep athletes).
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