Double unders are one of the most rewarding movements in functional fitness. I mean, how cool does it feel when they finally start to click?
That said, they can also be among the most challenging, elusive, and frustrating movements in the gym. Even experienced athletes sometimes go through phases when their dubs go MIA.
Whether you’re new to double unders or they’re just hit or miss for you, one little mistake could make the difference between mastery and self-flagellation (AKA, beating the crap out of yourself).
So, what is this mistake? We’ll get there in a second. First, let’s review what double unders are for those who aren’t familiar.
What are Double Unders?
Double unders are a more advanced progression of jumping rope (which we call single unders in CrossFit world).
With double unders, the rope simply passes under the feet twice with every jump.
That’s not to say double unders are simple. Mastering dubs requires a solid technique and timing, plus a decent engine.
Your body position is also very important. This means:
- posture is upright
- neck is long
- chest is tall and proud
- shoulders are pinned back but relaxed
- elbows are tucked in
- wrists are slightly forward of the body, with hands at pocket level
- core is tight (think hollow body)
Even subtle deviations from this position can trip you up. For example, having your hands too far forward causes the rope to hit the ground early and forward of your body. Hands that are too high effectively shorten the rope, meaning you have to jump higher to clear it.
This is part of why double unders can be frustrating for rookies and veterans alike: There are a lot of moving parts!
Dubs and Rope Rage
While technique and position and timing are super important for double unders, your mindset is just as important.
Your response to trip-ups and misses makes a big difference in your success for the remainder of your workout.
It’s super tempting to drop some F bombs and throw your rope when it’s not going your way, but that’s the worst thing you can do.
Think about what happens when you get mad. Your body tenses up. Your shoulders clench upward. Now, think about what happens when you tense up your shoulders.
Your hands creep upward! And what happens when your hands creep upward? You have to jump higher to clear the rope, making you more likely to keep missing.
Angrily tensing your shoulders also makes you more likely to use your shoulders and elbows to turn the rope, rather than using your wrists. This leads to a similar fate: more misses, more frustration, more anger.
What to Do Instead
Whenever you feel like chucking the rope across the gym during double unders? In the words of Taylor Swift, “you need to calm down.”
Take a deep breath. Do a little dance. I like to laugh when mine aren’t clicking.
Get your mind right, then get your body in good position before starting back up.
Will this guarantee that you hit 200 unbroken double unders? Nope. As I said, lots of factors go into stringing together big sets. But I can guarantee that it’ll significantly increase your odds of success if you tend to get PO’d when you miss.
Try it out and see if it helps! And if not, we can help! Click here and fill out the form to learn more about one-on-one skill sessions.