Double Unders are a pretty core part of Crossfit, and something that needs to be mastered if you take your Crossfit semi seriously.
What is a double under?
A double under is the act of skipping where by the rope passes under the feet twice in a single jump.
Sounds simple, but anyone who's new to them may quickly realise they're tricky to master.
Here's some handy tips to break down the parts of your skipping to find out what's stopping you progressing. After all, we break down and analyse parts of a squat or deadlift, so let's do the same for these.
1. Use a rope that's the correct length
Firstly, you'll need your own rope. Don't go to the box and grab the first one you come to because it's likely it'll be either a set length, or an unknown length.
Get your own rope, and set it perfectly.
But how long does it need to be?
This is a very personal thing. You want it to be long enough that it clears your feet with a little room to spare, but not too long where it touches the ground or comes too close. A rough guide is to stand on your rope, feet together, and hold the handles under your armpits. This gives you a rough idea, but you may find as you practice more you need to adjust it by simply a couple centimetres to dial it in.
That's why the Murgs Pro Rope comes with an Allen key in the base of the handle to allow you to adjust the length without having to remember a tool kit.
What diameter cable do I need?
Cable diameter isn't the more important factor, and causes come mild controversy. Some say the thinner cable can whip around much quicker and easier, while some argue the thicker cable carries more momentum so once it's moving requires less effort to keep it moving.
That's why with our Murgs Pro Rope we give you the option. It comes with a 3.4mm cable as standard and you get the choice of an additional 2.5mm cable, or another 3.4mm. Give both a go and see what suits you best.
2. Work the wrists, not the arms
Because the time it takes for the rope to fly below your feet and over your head twice is rather little, you need to be moving that cable around in the most efficient and quick way possible.
Hold the handles slightly in front of the centre line of your body and keep them in a relatively fixed position. Flick the cable around using the handle as a lever and the only joint causing the handles to move should be your wrists. Your wrists need to move the handles round in a complete circle, and deviation causes the rope to move in a jerky way and can ruin your flow.
The nature of double unders requires these small delicate movements to be perfect time and time again.
3. Jump straight up
All too often people jump up and end up either pulling their feet and lower legs forward, or kicking out behind. The jumping should be straight up and down as you'd do if you had no rope at all. This keeps everything tight, in place and provides least energy expenditure for the most efficient DU's possible!
Double unders require alot of calf endurance as that's the only thing launching you up, so if you're getting smoked after a few, practice some standing jumps. See how many you can do without complete fatigue and work on increasing this number. If doing 15 is your limit, you certainly won't be doing more than 15 double unders. Increase calf explosive power and endurance and it'll pay dividends.
4. Getting whipped? Lose the shorts...
No. We don't mean do it with no pants at all, that's a recipe for an embarrassing disaster!
If you find that the thing holding you back is the fact that one tiny slip up means getting whipped with a thin nylon cable going incredibly fast, put the bare legs away and don some joggers or pants. Red lines across your calves are not pretty, so cover up and take the edge off that sting.
You'll need a pair that aren't baggy to mimic real skipping as fitted ones will be more representative of wearing shorts, but these certainly take the sting off. And as we've found personally, the learning process can be painful.
Practice makes perfect. Seriously.
There's nothing better than consistently trying to perfect this skill. Like anything else, it requires work, time and effort to nail. Luckily however it is one of those skills that once you nail it, it's hard to forget. The only thing that may reset your patterns is using a different rope setup, so its advised to get one you like and stick with it.
Practising for just 15 minutes a day, every day will have you an expert in no time (That's just 1% of your day). We can't give you an exact time frame because it depends on your coordination, ability and experience, but trust us, it'll take less time than you imagine.
Hopefully that gives you a little insight into mastering the illusive Double Unders, but in reality they're simply a skill that with a little guidance and practice you can master in no time.
We're happy to announce we've been added to the OriGym Best Skipping Ropes list - Click Here
We all have those days. You wake up in the morning and just don't feel like dragging yourself to the box for another gruelling WoD, or it's been a long day at work, and you know for a fact it's not going to be a good session.
What can be done on the days when your heads not in the game?
We all know some of the things we should be doing, but then again, they're easy to forget.
Here's a little nudge to stepping your game up whether in the gym, or just everyday life.