crossfit athlete double unders

Who Here Cannot Do Double Unders? (And How to Fix That)

Find out how to finally get your double under technique sorted!

Double unders is a movement that I can’t seem to get to work for me.

18.3 CrossFit Open Workout

Common knowledge

The Struggle With Double Unders

Because I’m so stubborn I always try my best to do the double unders. Sometimes I want to cry and throw the jump rope away, and do. Then, before I can start again, I must do a little meditation. Calm myself and find a spot that I can put all my focus on.

Often I only get one double under before I hit myself like a whip lash and that hurts all over. Especially when I keep hitting the same spot, which is usually my elbow. And all over my left hand. My right hand is usually lash free, but not always.

That is the hardest part, to take on these lashes – and to explain them to other people.

I have gotten questions about my striped arm, people might think I have some self-destructive tendencies.

I also hit myself on the front of my legs and on the toes. That does not hurt as much and isn’t as visible to other people. Other times I hit myself in the back and that is way worse, so it’s good that this doesn’t happen that often. I now understand why people used whip lashes as torture in the old days, it hurts so much that I can’t breathe for some time after, I just go into shock and want to lie down.

After a couple of those hits I tend to give up rope skipping for that day. But I can’t avoid them forever, so I sought out double under advice.

Double Under Advice

The fitness community is ready to help those in need, and I really need help with my double unders. Everyone kept giving me advice on how to improve: keep my legs straight, don’t go too fast, practice without the jump rope, just jump higher and swing the rope slower. I have also watched videos on how to get better, but my body doesn’t seem to be able to coordinate these movements of jumping higher and turning the jump rope faster.

The double under is like normal rope skipping but you rotate the rope twice under your legs in one jump.

  1. The jump must be high enough and efficient, not using too much energy to drain yourself too quickly. Double unders and single unders mostly use your calve muscles.
  2. Jump always on the tip of your toes, don’t land on the whole foot, as it makes it harder to jump up again.
  3. The wrists must do all the rope turning, not the shoulders. That is a common mistake, if you engage your shoulders too much they will lift the rope higher, resulting in the band hitting your legs, because the circle it makes doesn’t reach all the way down after you’ve lifted the rope higher with your shoulders.
  4. Keep your forearm a little bit in front of your body, don’t align your arms to your hips.
  5. Use your own jump rope, that has the perfect length for your height, you are used to and know the weight of. New jumping ropes are not ideal for improving to start with.
  6. It is better to use heavier ropes to start with. With them you can better feel the movement of the rope.
  7. Listen to the rope. When the rope hits the ground, it makes a noise. Find the rhythm and jump according to it. If you cannot hear the rope hit the ground, you must lower your shoulders.
  8. Keep the rhythm in jumping and breathing, like when you run.

There are days when I can do rounds of 7, 8 or even 10 in a row and finish the number I’m supposed to do in an okay time. But the next day or next week I only get singles. Then it’s better for me to go for time, like doing double unders for 2 minutes, not a number like 50, because that will take me 7 minutes with breaks to cry and have a tandrum.

It is also so frustrating to have your workout partners finish these high numbers of double unders unbroken and overtake you by so much time in only this exercise. But, I’m using this as a motivation to get better.

Different Jump Ropes

The jump rope itself is important on your double under journey as well; the thickness of it, the handles, if it is coated or not, it is all important. I haven’t yet decided which is best for me. The old time jump ropes that were actually weaved ropes or leather ropes are definitely not ideal.

To be able to swing it fast enough to get it twice around yourself while you jump once. The speed ropes seem to be doing good, but not for me, they just hurt even more. The thinner the rope is the faster it goes and therefore the harder it hits you.

It is good to have you own jump rope and adjust it to your height to make it easier to jump over.

The best advice I can give is to keep trying, one day we’ll be like those who breeze through 50 double unders unbroken.