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Double unders can be a struggle if you don’t know where to start. Many times, people will try to use the most expensive equipment to learn double unders, and that’s honestly unnecessary. Most of the time the expensive ropes are great for competitive athletes (jump rope or CrossFit) but if you’re just learning, starting with a cable rope isn’t the best option. Let’s talk about where to actually start!
First things first - make friends with your rope!
What we mean by that is you have to actually feel out your rope and become really familiar with it before you dive right into double unders. Here are several basic skills that we recommend doing as a warm up to get connected with your rope:
· 50 Single Bounces (2 Feet)
· 10 Side Straddles (Bottom part of a jumping Jack)
· 10 Skiers (Side to Side)
· 10 Forward Straddles (Scissor the legs)
· 20 Speed Step (jog step)
*Repeat this for 3 or 4 rounds or until you feel nice and warm!
Choose the right kind of rope!
When you first start double unders we recommend beginning with a beaded rope and then progressing your way through to a wire rope. Here is the progression of rope types we recommend:
What is it? --- A beaded rope is made of a thin rope strung with light weight beads that are usually 1 or 2 inches in length.
Why use it? --- Jumping with a beaded rope helps because there is even weight distribution throughout the entire rope. The weight of the beads helps to give you constant feedback while you’re jumping. In other words, you can easily feel what the rope is doing in the air, and your body will begin to naturally “calibrate” to control the rope more effectively with practice.
Who should use it? --- Jumpers of ALL skill levels can and should use this type of rope. We recommend this rope for all types of jumping for beginners. For more advanced jumpers, this type of rope can offer a great boost to any workout (because it’s heavier than many other ropes). It can also be great for learning new types of skills (because of the constant feedback!).
What is it? --- Licorice ropes are one of the most basic and inexpensive kinds of ropes available. This rope is also known as a plastic or “PVC” rope.
Why use it? --- Licorice ropes are a great “bridge” rope between the beaded rope and the wire rope. This kind of rope is still pretty easy to control, but it moves a little faster through the air than a beaded rope and requires less effort because it’s a bit lighter.
Who should use it? --- This rope can be used by jumpers of all skill levels. However, remember to start by getting comfortable with a beaded rope if you’re brand new to jumping!
What is it? --- Wire ropes are typically made of a coated cable with a ball bearing handle which allows the rope to travel very freely and move very quickly!
Why use it? --- These ropes are very light and cut through the air very well.
Who should use it? --- These ropes are for competitive athletes who are looking to complete double unders VERY quickly and/or conserve energy while doing double unders. To effectively control this rope, you’ll need a good foundation (preferably with licorice & beaded ropes) and some practice with the wire rope so that you can adjust to its light weight.
**As you move through each one of these ropes, we recommend doing the same warm up routine in order to become more familiar with the rope and how it moves. After warming up well, it’s time to begin double unders!! At this time, focus in on these key points:
This means allowing your whole body to elevate upward. Most people will only pull up their knees or kick their legs back, but that which doesn’t necessarily give you any extra time in the air. In order to effectively jump high, think about elevating your head to hit an imaginary button on a ceiling. That way, your entire body is rising which will help you have enough extra time in their air to complete the double under!
Flick through your wrists.
When performing your double unders you’ll need to fully finish the second revolution of the rope. Many times, athletes will flick well with their wrists to complete the first revolution but then become too relaxed on the second revolution. This causes the rope to stop in front of their feet before passing underneath. To fix this, use your wrists to fully turn the rope through both revolutions. Think about making the rope whistle twice, so that it’s moving fast throughout the whole double under!
Pause the rope.
Once you’ve completed the double under, it’s really important to give yourself enough time to LAND and JUMP UP AGAIN before the rope starts moving fast for the next double under. If you do not pause between doubles and continue to rotate your wrists too fast, the rope will hit your fit before you leave the ground again. To fix this problem, think about a 1,2,__,1,2,__1,2,__ rhythm in your head while you do doubles. You can even clap this beat before trying doubles with your rope to get used to the rhythm.
Don’t rush into stringing doubles together.
When learning double unders, many people get frustrated because they are not able to string 3, 4, or more together. It’s best to work your way up to consecutive double unders relatively slowly! It’s better to be comfortable and accurate in the long run than to rush the process!! We recommend practicing 1 double under followed by 4 to 5 single jumps, then back to 1 double under, 4 or 5 single jumps, etc. Once this is comfortable, reduce the number of single jumps to 3 or 4, then reduce it to 2 or 3, and so on until you’re comfortable with doing double under, single jump, double under, single jump about 10 times in a row. Then, go for two consecutive doubles (no single jumps in the middle)! This drill takes PATIENCE, but it will train your body to control the rope perfectly between double unders. That’s a really helpful skill when you’re trying to perform double unders while you’re fatigued in a workout!
These are some key components to successfully mastering double unders! Please remember to:
1. Start with the correct rope.
2. Make “friends” with your rope.
3. Exercise patience as you work on your technique. You’ll thank yourself in the long run!