I never thought there would be a day when I was giving advice on how to do double unders. At one time, my double under ability, or actually my lack of double under ability, was quite notorious in the CrossFit community. I even had jump rope guru Buddy Lee try to get me to do double unders, but I still couldn't conect them together.
It was all mental. I was a wrestler and a fighter, so I spent time jump roping during training from the time I was 13 years old. In all that time I never did double unders. Single skips were just burned into my memory. It took some practice, but I definitely don't dread double unders anymore when they come up in a workout.
There are some simple ways to improve your double under skills.
Stay on the balls of your feet! Everything else we do in CrossFit is almost always about being on your heels and driving through your heels, but you have to stay on the balls of your feet to be good at jump roping. Ninjas move on the balls of their feet. Be a badass ninja.
Get good at singles. I'm not talking double skipping and singing songs while you jump rope. I'm talking fast rotational jump roping. Ideally, you should barely be coming off the ground when you jump. Quality jump ropes are very thin. You don't need to jump like you are doing box jumps. Keep your jump height and the rope rotation consistent.
Once you get good at singles, start working on the double under. The trick is to jump just like when you single but jump higher. Not a lot higher, just higher. If you are lifting your knees higher rather than actually jumping higher, you may get okay at double unders, but they won't be efficient. You'll tire quicker, and you likely won't be able to string them together for longer rep schemes.
You can work on the rhythm of the rotation and the height of your jump by holding the jump rope handles in one hand. Practice the higher bounding and rotate the rope two times around per jump. Once you get the timing down, try it with two hands.
Don't think of a double under as a single definitive movement. I often see people jump high, rotate the rope two times around, and then land flat footed without jumping again. (This was my specialty when I first started doing double unders.) Doing double unders one at at time will make a workout with double unders in it a long and miserable experience.
The black rope is a heavy pvc rope that you can get at any sporting good store. In my opinion it is the best rope to learn double unders with because the weight makes it very forgiving when you clip your feet or get a little off rhythm. This is the exact rope I used to learn double unders. Added bonus: it cost about $10.
Second from the left is a Buddy Lee jump rope. We sell them at the gym. They are fast and awesome if you are good at jump roping and want to have your own quality rope in your gym bag. Unfortunately, just because you buy a Buddy Lee rope, you are not going to immediately be able to jump rope like Buddy Lee. You also won't be able to magically do double unders (trust me....I know this for a fact). Keep that in mind before you spend $40+.
Third from the left is the wire rope from Rogue Fitness. If you get really good at double unders, this is the rope to get. It is super fast, and if you get good, you barely have to leave the ground for this thing to get around twice. If you aren't good at double unders, I would not recommend it becuase it hurts like hell when you miss and whip your back. It's too damn fast for me, but there are a lot of people who are good at double unders using this rope.
Fourth from the left is my favorite rope. It's the Buddy Lee trainer rope. We buy them in bulk for the gym. They cost about $5 and in my opinion, are not much different than the high end Buddy Lee rope. If you are a gym owner, I recommend this rope for your gym if you are going to buy ropes that people can use during workouts.
Like all skills, you need to practice jump roping if you want to be good at it. It is a great conditioning tool which is why you often see double unders in our workouts. Why not make an effort for 2012 to get better at double unders? Hit me up at the gym if you want some tips.
I'm not sure what happened to the relationship between CrossFit and Buddy Lee. Buddy was doing some CrossFit jump rope seminars for but a minute a few years back. I was fortunate that I was invited to the trial run. Buddy Lee is one BADASS MOFO! An olympic wrestler and definitely skilled with the rope:
Buddy Lee is a trick jump roper. If you like something not so fancy but still impressive, you gotta love Ross Enamait of rosstraining.com. Ross is LEGIT! This is still one of my favorite training videos of all time. Gotta love this caption in the video: "Practice is the mother of all skills and training is a virtue."
MAKE-UP DAY 1/4/2012
Make-up a workout you missed in the last cycle....OR....do the Power Hour....OR work on a skill (practice those double unders)....OR....rest!
POWER HOUR 1/4/2012
- Back squat 4 x 6 (as heavy as possible)
- Find your 3 rep max weighted pull-up