Double-unders can be a real bitch. Most people go through a period of frustration and self-mutilation before mastering this skill. Some people give up and get comfortable with singles for life. Others jump around like spastic toddlers. And a rare few pick it up quickly. Regardless of where you are now, here are a few helpful hints to double-unders done right.
Don’t try so hard.
I often find that athletes overthink and overwork the movement. While technically double-unders might pose some challenges, they are more easily overcome with awareness. The athlete needs to be aware of the rope and aware of his or her body, but eliminate the 20 thoughts that fly through his or her head with each attempted rep. Every person will have a unique rhythm, so it’s about listening and feeling and being alert. Relax.
Use a speed rope.
Heavier ropes are harder to rotate fast. They’re a much more challenging workout, so if that’s what you’re going for, a beaded rope is super stellar. But in most circumstances, you’ll want a rope that can rotate well for you. Get a speed rope of your own to up your game, and customize it to fit your height for best results.
Make the first rotation count.
Double-unders are fast. And trying to rotate your hands and wrists numerous times in a matter of seconds is serious business. So don’t. Do yourself a favor and put all the effort into the first rotation. Whip the rope into the ground as hard as you can on the first time around, then let it coast. You’ll find the speed is better, the rhythm is maintainable and your hands get a very brief but necessary moment to pause.
Do small jumps with minimal movement.
Double-unders are not box jumps. Just to be clear. So don’t jump super high. It’s a waste of energy and lacks efficiency. Think of the jump in a double-under like a bunny hop … just enough energy to get off the ground. If you’ve mastered speedy singles, the additional height you need for a double-under will be pretty minimal. Quick on your toes and just a few inches off the ground is your best bet.
Keep your arms low.
Holding your arms out to the side for extended periods is tiring. Add some rotation and cardio and it’s even more trying. So bring your elbows as close to your body as you can and extend your forearms for the movement. This will minimize your arm effort and allow you to continue for longer periods before you feel that burn that burdens us all.
Tighten your stomach and butt.
Might sound strange, but it’s key. Pogo box jumps, handstand push-ups, sound Olympic lifts … they all require a tight core. Double-unders are no different. If you’re hopping with a limp middle, your body control will suffer and, consequently, so will your movement. So breath but maintain that engaged stomach and buns for beautifully bouncy double-unders.
There’s no perfect way to learn double-unders. Everybody has their own pace and unique skill sets. But if you habitually work at a few best practices, you will improve your performance. Commit and progress. Now go.