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Double Your Unders, Double Your Fun


Double Your Unders, Double Your Fun

If you’ve done a WOD at Modig Fitness recently, you’ve likely noticed the huge white board posted on the wall…no, not the one with your maxes, the other one. The one where everyone gets to write the goals they want to achieve by December 31, 2012.  Not surprisingly, double unders is a common goal for many people. For some its to increase the number they do in succession, but for many it’s simply just to be able to do a couple in a row. The following is a combination of a blog posted by CrossFit Southbay and Rx Jump Ropes for tips on how to improve your double unders. Double your unders, double your fun…enjoy.

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Let’s talk about double unders.  Many of you are still working towards you first one.  Others are working towards making them more consisent. Wherever you are in your double under progress, there are a few basic fundamentals that will help you develop or improve this skill.

1. Relax. It’s a lot easier to maintain rhythm and timing when you’re relaxed. And you won’t get tired as quickly. The rope doesn’t need to travel at the speed of light, just fast enough to make two revolutions per jump. Also, if you tense up while trying to spin the rope faster, chances are you will change the shape/length of the rope and hit your feet.

2. Use your wrists to spin the rope. I’m not saying your arms shouldn’t move at all, but the movement should be driven primarily by the wrist. It’s a lot easier to change the speed of the rope with your wrists rather than your shoulder.

3. Maintain a neutral body position.  Hop on the balls of your feet and let your heels “kiss” the ground on each landing. Try not to break at the knees or hips. It’s not only inefficient, but also likely to cause you to mess up.

4.  Focus on a point in front of you and stay in one place. Try not to rotate or hop backwards or forward. This, too, increases your chances of hitting your feet with the rope.

(Source: CrossFit Southbay)

Here are some additional tips from Rx Jump Ropes on how to double under:

Turning the rope

Use your small muscles to turn the rope. The most efficient rope turns are generated with a light elbow snap to quick wrist circle. Similar to cracking a whip. The ideal arm positioning is with elbows in close to your ribs and forearms angled out and slightly forward.  The motion should be quick and relaxed with a light grip.

As fatigue sets in it is common for  the elbows to begin to straighten and the bigger muscles come into play. Shoulder turns are less efficient but still adequate enough to keep the rope turning. 

Use the best muscles for the job. Bigger is not always better.


Visualize your rope as a hamster wheel as it circles around you. Your hands should be positioned at the center point of the wheel. This would place most people’s hands right at belt height with your elbows in close to your sides. 

With the proper sized rope this should allow approximately 10 to 12 inches of clearance overhead. Lowering your hands below the belt line will reduce your overhead clearance and create too much slack at the bottom out point on the ground.

For the proper bottom out point 10 to 12 inches in front of your toes move your hands slightly forward of your front pockets. Positioning your hands directly at your sides will increase your chances of pulling the rope into your toes. Which is where most misses occur.

Here are a few common mistakes and how to fix them:

Scare Crow Arms

The figure below shows poor arm positioning where the elbows are out and away from your ribs and hands held higher than your horizontal axis. This will also lead to premature shoulder fatigue.

Let your arms hang down relaxed at your sides. Bend your elbows and bring your hands up to about waist height near your horizontal axis. This is the optimal position to make tight wrist circles.

Stiff Wrists and Handles Up

This is a very common fault where your wrists are kept firm and handles are kept predominantly upward or straight out to the sides at all times. This will reduce the clearance at the bottom-out point before the toes.

Let your wrists act as the primary swivel always rotating around and most importantly pointing downward as the rope reaches the bottom-out point.  Imagine the same snappy wrist action that you’d use to cast a fishing rod or crack a whip.

Anchor Point Behind Your Body

Your hands act as both the anchor and axis point to the rope. Where you position them dictates where the bottom-out point in front of your feet will be.  Hands behind the centerline of your vertical axis will pull the bottom-out point into your toes.

Try to keep your hands anchored closer to your frontal plane just outside your pockets. This will help ensure that the bottom out point remains consistent at about 12 inches in front of your toes, which will allow ample time to bound out of the way as the rope passes under your feet.

 (Source: CrossFit Southbay)