Friday, May 17, 2013

Be a Double Under Pro

So, you suck at double unders, huh? Don't worry, you're not alone. I received a lot of emails and comments from my last post, asking for help on becoming more proficient at the double under.

Don't worry if you're not the best, even Mikko Salo needs some training tips. :)

First of all, I am not an expert in double unders, but I can share with you some helpful advice that has helped me in my own pursuit of perfecting the double under, as well as proven helpful to classes I've coached and clients I've trained. I learned almost everything I know about double unders from a training seminar by Molly Metz. She holds the world record for double unders, and can kill 153 double unders in one minute. She's an awesome girl!

Watch the video here.

I actually used the rope she's using in the video in her seminar. It's the R1 speed rope. And still way too fast even for me. On my R2 Training rope, I have no problem getting 200+ though.

Image by Nicole Bedard

I started with a really thick, "slow" rope rope made by Nike. You can see it here. It had a thick cable and even thicker (weighted) handles. I see too many people starting off with thin, fast, ropes. The trick with fast speed ropes is YOU need to be fast to be able to use it, otherwise you're just going to end up beating the shit out of yourself (insert red welts everywhere.)

If you're not fast enough, you're not fast enough. A fast speed rope will not help you, it will only exacerbate the problem. 

Get yourself a beaded jump rope for practice. 

These ropes are heavy and allow you to "feel" yourself, so to speak, and give your slow butt a chance to get that rope around for a few revolutions. And, it doesn't hurt like a mofo when you miss. And if you're tired, they give you a little more room for error.

The length of the jump rope can make a difference. Here's a good starting point - stand with one foot on the rope directly under you, you want the handles to come up to your armpits.But don't fool yourself, I can do double unders with any rope you hand me, too short, too tall, heavy, fast, etc. Too many people think the rope "needs to be perfect" when really, the athlete just needs to learn how to move more efficiently. 

I love the R2 rope from Jump N Rope, it's the rope I use.

I love it because it doesn't hurt when it whips me, and it's adjustable. I can tie knots in it to shorten it if needed. The shorter the rope, the faster you can go. So on a WOD like 'Annie', I tie two knots in it. When I'm just jump roping for practice, I take one knot out. If I'm really tired and my form has gone to shit, I'll probably take both knots out, this gives me a little more room for error as I fatigue. 

When we fatigue, out hands start to drift away from our body (this is also why your shoulders burn out). As our hands drift away from our body, the rope shortens. And then, you start missing it. This is why you can probably get 3-5 in a row, and then you start missing. So, having a little bit longer rope helps with this. But, when you're feeling fresh and the workout is relatively short and I want to GO FAST, like in 'Annie' - it helps me to have a very short (competitive fit) rope to knock them out. If you're new, a little longer rope may be beneficial, so add an inch or two past your armpits.

It's all about the wrists. Too many athletes use their shoulders. If your shoulders start to wear out, relax them! Pull them down, and flick your wrists. Practice in front of a mirror if you can, or have a coach video tape you. Keep your arms close in and a little in front of your body, have a gentle bend at the elbow, relax your shoulders back and down (think open chest), and FLICK, FLICK, FLICK. Like you have a marker in your hand, imagine you're drawing a straight line up and down on the walls next to you. You're not drawing CIRCLES, you're drawing lines, straight up and down flicks, not circular flicks. Have someone tie your arms to your side if you are really shoulder dominant. It forces you to learn to use your forearms and your wrists.

Practice single unders. You need to be very comfortable at single unders before moving on to double unders. Jumping rope is about coordination and neuromuscular efficiency. Having someone that's uncoordinated jump right to double unders is a disaster. So, spend some time getting comfortable just jumping rope: hop on one foot, hop on the other foot, jump in a "cross" motion (forward, backward, side to side). If you're not coordinated enough for this, you know where you need to practice before moving on to double unders.

If you can, attend a Jump N Rope seminar. At least check out their website, and order a few of their ropes! Taking tips from the girl who holds the world record in double unders seems like a smart idea if you're struggling.

Here's a few great articles for further reading if you're interested: 
Now, how about them triple unders? ;)


  1. Triple unders. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!

  2. Good call on the "thick" rope to start out. I JUST got 20-30 DUs strung together (after MONTHS of trying) and I'm still on my thick rope. Looking to get a thinner one that doesn't whip the shit out of me. I'll check out your links!

  3. Ugh, I SUCK at DUs! I definitely needed this. That trick about making a line not a circle is the first time I've heard that, definitely going to try it out. Thanks girl!

  4. This is a great help. I have such an issue with it at the gym and now I know why! Thank you.

  5. Total coincidence on reading this post as I got the chance to actually attend a JumpNRope seminar just today at my box!! I've recently joined Crossfit and was a little skeptical on going since I've never done (or attempted) double unders in my life, but I'm SO glad I did-what a great opportunity to learn the basics and form firsthand from a pro! Molly was amazing-great personality and enthusiasm, and SERIOUS SKILL! Totally glad I went!

  6. Thanks, I just strung a few together for the first time. I never properly tried before because the DU jumping had always hurt my head before lol

  7. I am just now reading this one and you just made it all "click" in my head with this: FLICK, FLICK, FLICK. Like you have a marker in your hand, imagine you're drawing a straight line up and down on the walls next to you. You're not drawing CIRCLES, you're drawing lines, straight up and down flicks, not circular flicks.

    Thank you!!!!!!! I have been struggling with DUs for so long and only recently started getting them (every third jump system) but can't string together.

  8. Nice Article, If you haven't already had a go of one of my ropes, heres a special 10% Discount off Total Sale. Use code DUJR2014 offer ends July 31st. based in the UK - shipped worldwide - you won't be disappointed

  9. Excellent content that you have loaded in this site of you so thanks a lot for letting this unique content. Normally i have benefited by read out this content. Practice single unders one of the great way to me.
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