Still struggling with double unders?
I used to have trouble as well. When they came up in a WOD, I always took the option to scale by jumping singles. That meant I would have to do double or triple the amount of jumps, but I didn’t mind. I didn’t have any trouble with singles, and I was more concerned with finishing the WOD than improving my skills.
Then about a year ago I wasn’t given the option to scale.My assistant coach said there would be no scaling. Everyone had to try.
I struggled. I don’t think I finished the first round.
Embarrassed and frustrated, I left the gym a little miffed at Jeff and Zach, but I also left with determination.
I decided that would NEVER happen again.
I went home and practiced. I set aside time at least twice a week, often more, and I practiced. I set a goal. I started with trying to do two in a row. Then three. They started to come more easily. And then it happened — I finally was able to do a WOD with double unders.
It took months. It took practice. Maybe it will be faster for you, but if it doesn’t, I don’t believe you CAN’T do them. If I can learn, so can you.
How to practice
- Set aside time
I set my stopwatch to 10 minutes at first, 2 or 3 times a week. If I couldn’t reach my goal in 10 minutes, then I was done. If I had time left, I went for more double unders.
- Set a goal
It doesn’t matter what your goal is, but make it realistic. Starting out, you might set a goal of 30 total or maybe try to string two in a row several times. Over time, increase your goal to keep pushing yourself.
- High-five yourself
When you reach your goal, celebrate! I used to run inside and tell my husband. He always gave me a big hug, because he knew it was important to me. But even if I didn’t reach my goal, I would look at what I was able to accomplish and celebrate that. The important thing to remember is not to get down on yourself.
Don’t wimp out on a WOD. Once you’re able to string a few in a row, do double unders in the workout. It’s OK if you don’t finish. The clock will push you harder than practicing on your own.
- Don’t cheat
There’s no need to count attempts. The whole point is to become proficient with double unders, and counting attempts isn’t really helping you there.
I’m still finding ways to improve every time I work double unders. I’m up to just over 20 in a row, and I know I can do better.
- Fix your gaze
I’ve found that finding a fixed object really helps me focus, but watching other people moving around only distracts me and causes me to trip up. When I do double unders, it’s often dark, so I look for a star or a light to focus on.
You can give yourself more time to swing the rope if you jump higher off the ground.
- It’s all in the wrists
You’ll move the rope faster if you turn the rope at the wrists rather than the elbows. Don’t waste your energy, and try to just move your wrists.
- Find a good rope
I’ve tried 4 or 5 different jump ropes over the past 10 years, and my favorite is the $5 jump rope I bought through Kung Fu. It’s not fancy.
But you have to find the rope that works for you. You may want a lighter rope with a smoother turn. You may need to try a few out to find one that works for you. Just make sure you can cut it to the right height. There’s nothing worse than a rope that’s too short or too long.
Good luck! Tweet me photos or videos of you doing double unders. I’d love to see them!