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Mastering double unders

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Double unders are an important element in the CrossFit program but aren’t as easy as they look to execute – even for the most coordinated, fit individuals. But as with any other fitness skill, the key is in an effective breakdown to allow a smooth progression to success.

The Technique

To complete a double under, increase the height of your jump and the speed of turning your wrists so the rope goes under your feet twice in one jump. Takeoff and land on the balls of both feet and use small, quick wrist motions to turn the rope.

Double Unders: How To

Practice the jump without the rope – slow and high with a light landing. Next, add the rope but put both handles in one hand and turn the rope by your side in the double under motion (Hint: Watch in a mirror to makes sure the rope is going around twice in one jump). Once you’re comfortable, start with several regular jumps to establish rhythm, then attempt a double under.

Consecutive Double Unders

To progress to consecutive double unders, start with one followed by four regular speed jumps.  Once you can do 4-5 of those in a row, lessen the number of regular speed jumps until there is only one jump between each double under. The next step is to do as many double unders in a row as you can.

Double Under Common Errors and Corrections

Body Positioning:

Kicking the feet forward (piking) on the jump, jumping stiff legged and hunching over are common body position errors.  Focus on keeping shoulders back and jump leading with the top of the head, a straight back and a soft bend in the knees.

Jumping Too High:

Correct your jump height without the rope first.  The height of the jump should be 15-20 cm off the ground. Keep practicing without the rope until this height is reached and then add the rope.

Raising Arms: 

Raising the arms will cause the rope to get caught on your feet as the rope is lifted. Focus on keeping your hands at the same height as when you are doing basic jumping. If you are still struggling, try a longer rope. You will need to turn with more power as the rope is longer, but the added length will compensate for the raised arms.

Rope is too short:

Having a rope that is too short will cause the rope to get caught on your feet, due to less clearance for the rope to pass under the feet. To correct this error, focus on keeping your hands closer to the body.  If you are still struggling with this action, try a longer rope.

Tips to Increase Your Double Under Speed

1)      Try a rope with a ball bearing. The bearing will ease your turning motion and allow your hand to keep up with your feet. Caution: Your technique needs to be mastered before using a ball bearing rope.

2)      Switch to a wire rope. The wire is light but keeps the arc when turned quickly.

3)      If possible, gradually shorten your rope. A shorter rope has less cord to turn and therefore has less drag allowing you to go faster.

4)     Do some double under interval training with a heavier rope to increase forearm strength and muscular endurance.

Related Categories: Highlights

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