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Double unders are one of the base CrossFit exercises. They increase cardiovascular and respiratory resistance, stamina – or muscular resistance, and coordination.
While double unders (DUs) aren’t one of the skills you learn on day 1, there are still many athletes after years of training who haven’t yet mastered double unders. You might already be in great shape, but if you have a WOD with DUs, either your time or the amount of work will be directly impacted if you cannot complete them efficiently.
Most boxes have speed ropes for their athletes to use, however, these ropes are the length of the general population of the CrossFit gym. This isn’t bad, per se, and if you aren’t having any trouble mastering doubles, then maybe they’ll work for you. But if you’re having difficulty, it’s time to focus on the details and get a personal rope that is fit to your body.
Invest in a good speed rope, it does not have to be ROGUE to be quality, but it does need to have a good rotating system, handles and to feel good in your hands. The rope must be cable and the most important is that you can adjust it to your needs.
Start by stepping on the center of the rope with one foot and, with the 2 handles parallel to the floor, touch them to your sternum. Cut the cable, leaving about 10 cm slack on each side for future adjustments.
Every athlete is different. If you jump with your hands narrow, the rope will be longer and the cable will hit the floor hard and lose speed. On the contrary, if you jump with your hands wide, you’ll need a longer rope so that the cable does not hit your feet with each jump.The idea is that your elbows are close to your ribs and your hands approximately at the height of your pelvis. But this position is simply a theory, each body is different. If you have questions, ask your coach for advice.
Practice 5 to 10 min before and/or after each WOD to improve your doubles. Start jumping singles high and slow.Feel the movement and get used to it, this rhythm will be the rhythm of your first doubles. Align your body so that your feet do not go to the front or back in each jump. Squeeze your buttocks when you are in the air. In this way you will land on your toes and keep your body aligned.
Once you have a rhythm, stop completely and begin to practice the swing that will accelerate the rope to pass 2 times below your feet in each jump.Take the 2 handles with your left hand and hold the cable with your right hand between your thumb and forefinger. Then open your right arm out of the pelvis, simulating the single jump.
Now begin to move the rope imitating your simple jumps (you’re not jumping only moving the rope with your right arm). Once in motion, accelerate the rope from the wrist. Find the characteristic sound of the double under. Do not change hands until you get it; once it sounds like a double, repeat this with the opposite hand. Once you get the sound with both hands it’s time to assemble the jump and the swing.
The double under is a reaction exercise that your body automatically learns. Double unders are like magic, “the hand is faster than the eye”. Your brain can’t tell your body: “jump, look at the rope and when it goes down, increase the speed so that it passes twice in less than 1 sec” and so on repeatedly. That’s why you need to start with high and slow single jumps. Then, when you’re ready, speed up the rope and your first double under will magically happen.
It’s important that you do not stop, but continue jumping high and slow singles and repeat twice when you feel ready again.
Once you can perform double unders intermittently, begin by setting short goals like jumping 4 singles followed by a double, when you mastered that, bring it down to 3 singles and 1 double, then 2 × 1 until you can finally connect 2 doubles in a row.
Once you start connecting your first doubles it is very likely that you’ll get stuck after 5 reps or so. This is probably because you didn’t slow down the acceleration of the rope, causing the rope’s speed to break the rhythm and hit feet.
It’s important to note that no matter how fast the doubles are, there is a slight pause between each one.
If the cord gets stuck by this unbroken acceleration of your wrists, go back to step 5 and try now to make 5 singles and 2 doubles immediately returning to singles or alternating between the two jump types. These speed changes from singles to doubles-doubles to singles, will help your body control the speed of doubles.
Being able to control the speed of the rope for Double Unders is fundamental to excel in the varied and unknown WODs that are programmed in CrossFit. If the WOD consists of just a few reps you can attack it at maximum speed, but if it’s one with 100 reps or more, you’ll be able to maintain a constant rhythm without the rope getting stuck or spending all of your energy in the first round.
Head Coach Bahía CrossFit