CrossFit Open Technique Tips: Double Unders

Double Unders are the most commonly programmed exercise in the history of The CrossFit Open. They have appeared 8 times, and continually trip competitors up when it comes to going RX in the various workouts that crop up each year. 

Aside from the obvious conditioning and fat-loss benefits, the double under can also greatly improve:

  • Speed
  • Coordination
  • Accuracy
  • Power
  • Endurance
  • Body control
  • Strength, particularly if you use weighted ropes

CrossFit Open – Check out these technique tips for double unders from Ben at WODprep. 


  • Hands in front of torso
  • Hands rotate from wrist
  • Good up and down bounce
  • Jump when rope is about to hit the ground
  • Practice linked singles, alternating single and Double-Unders, and then linked Double-Unders
  • Practice plyometric bounce with feet to develop the footwork/ jumping technique necessary for a double under



The proper length for a Double Under rope is determined by your ability level.

The idea is to get the rope turning around your body with as little effort as possible while maintaining maximum rope control. A jump rope that is too long will be sloppy and take too much effort to turn.

A consequence of a jump rope that is too long is poor form: you move your hands out from your sides to spin the rope fast enough. When you shorten your rope, you’ll find you need to improve your form. The jump rope you choose should match the speed you are able to jump up and down for your double under height.

bodyweight workouts crossfitter double under
Master your technique!

For example, an accomplished young jumper may be able to jump up and down very quickly. A cable speed rope is perfect for that. But a 50+ year old does not typically jump as fast, and a speed cable rope may be too fast for them; by the time they land on the ground after the first jump, the rope is coming around and hits them before they are able to take off again.

With double-Unders, consistency is important. Get your own rope so you can practice with the same one every time. Don´t just grab the nearest rope at the Box. Not only is it different from the last one you used, but it isn’t sized properly. Even slight changes can mess with your timing. Using the same rope will help your body and mind to quickly become familiar with the mechanics of the movement.


If you’re swinging your arms like two windmills, there’s no way you’ll be able to get the rope around twice per jump. The key is learning to move the rope more efficiently.

It’s all in the wrist. Start off with the single bounce (one jump per revolution of the rope) to get comfortable. A quick flick of the wrist should be all you need to keep things moving for single jumps. Once you’ve got that down, try flicking faster and developing consistent swing timing. Trying to overcompensate for a slow wrist movement by jumping high won’t work for beginners, so be sure to get a fast flick down before experimenting with your jump height.

Watch this world record (164 Double Unders in one minute) by Shane Winsor to see how little he moves his wrists during the exercise

CrossFit Open – Rotational-Mechanics Drill to learn to feel the correct isolated wrist movement

double under mechanics drill crossfitSource: CrossFit Inc.
Drill to improve hand positioning and movement during the Double Under

  • Position a 5-gallon bucket on each side of the athlete. Each bucket should be on its side and propped up on boxes to sit at waist level.
  • The athlete holds a 2-foot PVC pipe in each hand and tries to paint the insides of the buckets in a smooth, continuous movement using only the wrists.
  • Position the boxes and buckets to create correct posture, and ensure the end of the PVC is just touching the inside of the bucket.

It’s surprisingly difficult to make a smooth, round shape. People will start going ‘clank, clank, clank, clank’ as they bang the stick into the bucket, Newman states. The goal is to relax and release your wrist, letting the stick make a full circle.

Check out the last 3 tips on the next page…

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