After training CrossFit for several months I was struggling with double unders, and after they finally clicked for me I found myself trying to give other people tips. I see and hear a lot of people having trouble with these, and for me it was just a few small key ideas that made them go from impossible to (relatively) easy within seconds.
These 10 tips for learning double unders begin with the assumption that you already have the right sized rope for you. If you aren’t that far along in the process yet, do some more Google searching before moving onto my personal tips.
1. Hold the handles lightly in your fingers. Like massaging them with with your fingertips and thumbs. You don’t need a tight grip.
2. Don’t use headphones or loud music. Being able to hear the speed of the rope really helps out. You don’t need to consciously focus on the sound, but I noticed when I put in headphones after learning them, they became very difficult again because I wasn’t used to not being able to hear the rope come around.
3. Master single unders in every way possible. Jump regular with two feet. Jump with alternating feet. Jump really fast with both feet. Jump really slow. Jump really slow and really high. Mix all of those ways together with someone calling out the changes to you (or calling out the changes in your head).
4. Work on alternating singles and double unders. I could do these very consistently long before I could link consecutive double unders together. I’m not sure if this will actually help string them together or not…when I was doing these I was using a ton of energy and getting very exhausted! However, at least I understood what it felt like to swing the rope fast.
5. Pick a spot on the wall to look at and focus on. I personally feel like looking at something about 10 feet away and slightly below eye level puts my head in a good position to focus good.
6. Before actually trying to swing a double around, jump slow and high and quickly count to two in your head when you jump as if you were swinging the rope on those two counts. My hardest part was figuring out a rhythm and finding the coordination to jump once and swing twice. I felt like I’d have to be a drummer to understand how to make my arms and legs do different things. This was my biggest breakthrough. Once I could jump and count together, the actually swinging of the rope came around very easily. For me, after I got two connective double unders, three came really quickly, and within a few seconds I hit 11 in a row. The next day when I went back for more practice I got 25, and a day or two later I got 50. And it wasn’t too much longer before I was getting 100 in a row on a regular basis pretty easily. I think after you find your “clicking point”, they will become pretty natural.
7. After getting several consecutive double unders on a consistent basis, then you can work on your form more. You can obviously work on your form while learning them, but for me it was just too much to think about, so I didn’t work on these things until after I was comfortable with everything else. These things will allow you to do more with less effort and fatigue.
8. Keep a good upright, hollow posture while jumping, Don’t hunch over!
9. Keep your arms close to your side. The more you have your arms stretched away from you, the more quickly you’ll become tired. Remember, it’s in your wrists, not in your arms!
10. Instead of staying high up on your toes the whole time, work on your foot form while jumping. Land flat footed, and pull your toes up towards your body in a small pike when you jump. This will allow you to jump longer without getting fatigued in your lower legs. I noticed when I was just jumping on my toes I would get shin splints after a while. Working on my foot form fixed this immediately.