Double unders are tricky. You can’t just muscle your way through them, they take patience and skill. We have so many people that have been getting their first few double unders lately and it is always so exciting to see!
I struggled a lot with double unders. Funny enough, I picked them up pretty well at first – so much that my very first Rx Benchmark Workout was Annie. My time was 9:38 – nothing to brag about. But, I was the top of the leader board because I was the only one at the gym that could do double unders at all.
But then I just never really progressed. I was good enough to get through them in a workout, but only 10 or so at a time.
I tried a lot of different ropes thinking one of them would magically work. I tried a lot of different lengths of the rope thinking a certain length would magically work. Nothing magically worked.
I spent a summer in my driveway committed to finally getting double unders. A few minutes every day. Video taping to see where I was going wrong. I cried. I swore. I threw the rope. A lot. It sucked.
Frustration is the only emotion you can’t use in a workout. You can channel that anger to lift heavier. You can look at that sadness and find a reason to keep pushing through. But once you get frustrated, things go downhill. And quickly.
I was trying too hard. I was overthinking it. I knew I could do them well enough once. I wanted to be better and I was trying too hard.
Now that I have been coaching for a few years, there are a few common things I see when people are working on getting those first few double unders.
Think about these the next time double unders show up in a workout. Those first reps may be a lot of extra work and super inefficient, but once we can get you doing double unders consistently, we can then work on making them easier and more efficient for you.
Try using a rope that is a little bit longer.
This gives you some room for error. Even if your arms go up as you get excited and tired, the rope will still be long enough to hit the floor so you can jump over it and the rope won’t hit your feet.
Keep your elbows glued to your hips.
We get excited and our arms go up. This makes the rope shorter and therefore more likely we’ll catch it on our foot instead of jumping over it. If you need to, wrap a purple band around body in the elbow crease to force those arms in place.
Aim for the rope to hit the floor in front of you.
Make a conscious effort to bring that rope down and in front by aiming for the floor a few feet in front of you. This helps keep those arms down and ensures the rope is hitting the floor so we can clear it. You should hear the rope hit the floor each time. This is great in practice and warming up, but in a workout the music is too loud and you won’t be able to hear it.
Use your wrists, not your arms to spin the rope.
In order to spin the rope fast enough to get it around twice, you will have to use your wrists in small circles. Using your arms is too much work, it isn’t fast enough, and you will wear yourself out very quickly. Make sure it is a wrist movement.
Jump higher than you think you have to.
This isn’t really efficient long term, but we need to be able to get a few double unders, and then get them consistently, and then we can work to make them more efficient. So, jump high and clear that rope!
Now go out there and get some double unders!