When double unders are done correctly they look so easy but if you don’t have double unders they might be the most frustrating movement we do in CrossFIt. For those of you that don’t have them yet please don’t quit and automatically do single unders every workout. While it can take a long time to understand the movement and get the timing down, I do feel everyone is capable of doing doubles. While I won’t name names there are some great examples of people in the gym that had to work on doubles for a long time but now do them regularly in workouts so don’t give up!
Keep in mind like most movements we do there is a progression to achieving them. Double unders are no different, the obvious prerequisite to double unders are single unders. However, these singles must be smooth, not take much effort, and the technique must be highly repeatable. If you can’t do 100 consecutive singles staying in the same place with your eyes closed (literally…it helps you feel the weight of the rope and its location in space) and finish with little to no fatigue you need to keep practicing singles before worrying about doubles.
However, if you are ready for double unders I have bad news for you…there is no magic trick to doing them. The people in the gym with the best doubles have simply practiced and continued to refine their technique. My most important tip is to make your process very repeatable by minimizing wasted movement. The jump for double unders must be vertical, no donkey kicking and minimize any piking. Keep your elbows very close to your ribcage which keeps the rope the proper length. Your hands should be slightly in front of your body. If your hands drift behind your midline you are pulling the rope into your feet, conversely if your hands are too far in front of your body the rope hits the ground in front of you and bounces into your feet. If your elbows drift away from your ribs you are shortening the rope and pulling it into your feet. From there it’s all in your wrists and not swinging the rope from your elbows. Make sure you stay in the same place when jumping rope or you are only making it more difficult.
Varying from any of the points above does one thing, makes it hard for you to repeat your successful double under. There is no doubt you could donkey kick or let your elbows drift from your body and do doubles but I promise they will be much more fatiguing than they should be and your ceiling for consecutive doubles with be considerably lower than doing them correctly. Check out the videos linked below for more hints and some visual representations of what I’ve already talked about. Finally, carve out 5 minutes every time you’re in the gym to practice doubles no matter how many times you fail or whip yourself and you will have them much sooner than you expect.