Still struggling with double unders? It’s not you; it’s the rope. Well, actually, it’s kind of you, too. If you’re frustrated by double unders, it’s time to take control of your outcome and master the skill. You’ll likely get there in less time than you think if you set yourself up for success. Here are five common reasons people have trouble learning double unders.
1. You’re using ropes from the gym. The jump ropes supplied by the gym are a solid option—if you’ve ALREADY MASTERED double unders. But, if you’re still struggling with dubs and you’re grabbing a community rope, this means you aren’t practicing on your own. I’ve been a coach for 5 years, and in my experience, members don’t become proficient at double unders without a little personal investment. Unlike technical movements that are learned through progression, such as HSPU or pull-ups, double unders are a skill learned through practice. So, we don’t schedule “double under practice” into the programming. That means it’s up to you. Here’s a favorite video to help you.
Watch it over and over. Slow it down. Listen and practice. We’re guessing you’ll be able to get a double under within 20 minutes—and from there, you’ll quickly be able to string two together. Then, you’re on your way!
2. The length of the rope needs to be adjusted. A second problem to using a rope from the gym (before you’ve mastered dubs) is it’s likely not the correct length. Too short and you’re going to get tripped up; too long and your timing is going to be off, so you’ll still trip, plus you’ll be putting in a lot more work, since you’ll have to hold your arms wider (incorrectly) to compensate.
3. You’re treating it like a box jump. Double unders don’t require a lot of lift. There’s no need to kick your butt with your heels and no reason to tuck your knees. This wastes an extraordinary amount of energy! Think in terms of a relaxed, straight line. The jump is a smooth, light movement.
4. You aren’t relaxed. Relax your body; relax your arms; it’s all in the wrists. When you tighten your body, the rope become sporadic instead of moving in a smooth arch. Plus, tight, tense arms tend to fan out away from the body, shortening the rope.
5. You aren’t listening to the cadence of the rope. The sound of the rope spinning in the air and flicking the ground gives an artificial urgency to the movement. It sounds fast and furious (especially in a class with athletes jumping), but once you have the movement mastered, you realize the rhythm is not done at a red-line pace. The wrists move fast, but the jump is smooth and calculated, as it is when you jump singles. Your jump is slightly higher, but not necessarily faster. Don’t believe it? Go watch the video again. And give yourself two 15-minute blocks of time.
Oh wait … you’re going to need a rope: roguefitness.com