If you are new to CrossFit or the Functional Fitness craze in general, you’ve probably come across Double Unders, and it is likely that you are very frustrated about not being able to do them.
Like every skill, it takes time and purposed practice to become comfortable at this particular exercise. To help you along your journey here are 8 things to keep in mind while you try and master the craft. One of the most important parts of being able to do a double under is having the proper speed rope. Don't have one, check out our options here.
Set Your Rope Up Right
As a beginner, getting the right cable length on your speed rope is key. Step on the cable of your rope with two feet and then raise the handles of the rope up to your sternum so they are even and parallel to the floor. This is the length I have my athletes set when they first start learning DUs and where I keep my rope adjusted permanently. If you start practicing and the cable hits the ground before passing underneath your feet, it’s too long. If you are whipping yourself in the ankles and shins on each attempt, it’s probably too short.
Set Your Body Up Right
Just like with your lifts, gymnastics, and any other movement, where you position your body is key. Think neutral spine, making sure that you are not overextended in your back and focus on crunching slightly down in your abdomen. Legs and feet should be kept together throughout the exercise.
Elbows To Your Sides - Keep Your Wrists Near Your Hips
The position of your arms during DUs directly coordinates how much “room for error” you have on your cable for each rep. Focus on keeping your elbows close to your torso and your wrists at about the same level as your hips. This is essential to prevent your forearms from burning out and to maintaining the correct amount of slack on your rope.
Before you begin, think about trying to maintain your breath and your heart rate. As soon as you become tense, your rhythm will be thrown off and it will become exponentially harder to achieve and/or maintain good reps.
Less = More
The rope only needs a few inches to pass underneath your feet so don’t jump a foot in the air. A lot of times the problem is not that you can’t move the cable quick enough, but that your feet are in the air too long. If you're having trouble syncing up the cable speed with your jumping, lose the rope and try jumping in place for a minute only leaving the ground an inch each time.
It’s All In The Wrists
The wrists determine the speed at which you propel the rope. Period. If your forearms are burning out or you are getting exhausted just from practice, there is a pretty good chance that you are not using your wrists at all. Instead, you are basically trying to do ridiculously fast arm circles. For all my musicians, think playing maracas.
Slow It Down
As stated before, your wrists determine your cable speed. The faster you move them, the faster you have to jump. Slow your wrists down and you won’t have to jump nearly as fast, which allows for good practice and an easier time of figuring out the rhythm.
Relax - Again
Once you begin to string enough together there will definitely come a point where you begin to fatigue. This is the time when most people tighten up and, again, things become that much harder. Relax, focus on your breath, and you’ll find you will be able to do a ton more!
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