Here are 10 common reasons why you might suck at double-unders, along with some tips to help you get better...
1. You Suck at Single Unders...
The first step in having great double-unders is having great body position, and mastering the single-under.
In the same way Mr. Miyagi made Daniel-san get good at painting a fence before he could block front kicks, you need to start with the basics before wildly flailing your way to a bad-habit-ridden double under.
Swallow your pride, and spend some time practicing your singles!
-Focus vision on one spot...straight ahead, or slightly down
-Generate jump from your calves
-Toes pointed down
-Elbows in tight
-Hands under shoulders
-Generate movement from wrists
-Push up and down on the handles with your thumbs
-Slightly forward leaning torso
2. You never practice!
Micheal Jordan didn't wait until game time to practice his jump shot, and you shouldn't wait until the WOD starts to practice your dubs. Spend some time at the end of your warm up, or after the WOD 3-4 times per week practicing your DUs. You'll be amazed by how fast your PR improves.
3. You don't do Double Unders in WODs!
We get it...It sucks doing double unders when you know you could just scale it to single unders and get through the workout. HOWEVER, at some point you're going to have to make the transition. If you're on the fence about whether to stick with double-unders for the workout, here's an easy question to help you decide...
-Is this an AMRAP?
If the answer is yes, and you've got a few dubs under your belt, then STICK WITH DOUBLE UNDERS! You may get a crappy score, but you'll RX the WOD, you'll finish the same time as everyone else, and you'll be better for it!
If it's a chipper WOD with 300 double-unders in it, and you know you'll have to take a personal day at work to finish...stick with your singles and concentrate on an efficient body position.
4. You jump like a dolphin / donkey!
If you are guilty of piking, or an excessive knee bend, there's good news! One simple tip can help both of these issues.
Try pointing your toes DOWN at the top of your jump. This will help you resist the urge to bend at the waist if you're a dolphin, and help you stop bending at the knees if you're a donkey.
5. You don't relax!
If your double unders look a lot like someone getting electrocuted, you need to remember to relax. Breathe, loosen your arms & shoulders the same way you would if you were running, and stay calm.
6. You're freaking PISSED OFF at Double Unders!
I had a basketball coach who would warn me not to play angry when I was a kid. He said people use a different part of their brain when they're angry. I don't know how true that is, but anecdotally, I can see a direct correlation between someone's level of frustration, and how much they learn in a practice session.
If you're going after your double-unders with the same attitude you would use in a fist fight, you're not going to make much progress. Pick up the rope you tossed...take a deep breath...relax...smile...and try again.
7. You jump too fast!
When you first start trying to do double-unders, a high, sloooowww, bounding jump will give you the hang-time you need to get that rope around twice.
If you've been stuck on singles for a long time, it can be hard to wrap your head around a different rhythm.
Try doing some looonnnng...sloooowwww...loooping single unders (with your toes pointed down of course). Then switch back to double under practice with that same rhythm in mind.
Eventually, your double under jump won't look much different than your single-under jump, but until you can get the hang of the timing, give yourself some extra time in the air.
8. Your rope is too long.
Having a long rope allows you to continue to have bad form. If your arms are sticking out on each side like you're about to take flight, you're jumping in a very inefficient position. Holding your arms out to the side leads to more shoulder and arm fatigue...which leads to less precision...which leads to a lower PR.
9. You just started this!
Give yourself some grace! The last time you jumped rope, you were probably in elementary school, so don't expect to go into this whole double-under thing like a boss. Be OK with sucking at double unders for a while.
10. You don't own your own rope!
This may sound like the part where we try to sell you a jump rope...and I guess it sort of is...but if you don't own your own rope, you're diminishing the return on the effort you're putting in.
Double unders are a very finely tuned movement. Using multiple ropes is like asking your brain to juggle a tennis ball, a chain saw, and a bowling pin. It's possible...but it's hard.
Click the image below to design your own rope, and add some consistency to your practice!