Double Trouble: How to finally, for real, nail double unders

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Double Trouble: How to finally, for real, nail double unders

If you’re fed up with the Double Under Gods never pouring favor upon you during an AMRAP, or if you’ve whipped the skin on the back of your legs clean off — it’s time to end your double trouble, Today, we’re gonna cover the basics of double unders and send you some take-home drills you can work on both in and out of quarantine. These are meant to be mastered before you graduate to the next phase, so go slow, and be intentional with your technique. After all, you can’t muscle your way through a double under 🙃  

Nailing the basics: technique

Stay tall, keep your eyes forward: During the double under, and even a single under, you should stay in a pretty straight line the whole time — from your ankles to your head. This means, yep, you keep an engaged core throughout your jumping sets. Keeping your eyes forward will help you stay tall and focused on a stable point, and prevent traveling.

Shoulders relaxed, elbows in, wrists in front: Often we think we have to have a death grip on the handles and swing our ropes as far and wide as we can — when actually, we should keep our upper body pretty relaxed! When you jump, think about keeping your elbows tucked in by your ribs. When we’re tired, our arms will start inching away from us, which then shortens the rope and causes us to trip up. Keep those elbows close, and wrists/hands a little bit in front of your body and in your peripheral vision. If you lose sight of your hands, you’re probably pulling backwards too much and again, shortening your rope. 

Jump and land through the balls of your feet: Missing this is where the tuck jump or donkey kick seems to take over. You can get all the jump you need by pressing hard through the balls of your feet, ending in a toe point, and then returning the same way! This requires ankle strength, but is really much easier than doing a tuck jump or donkey kick! 

Use your wrist, not your forearms: I want you to pay attention to what your forearms are doing. Your elbows could be tucked into your sides, but if your forearms are doing big circles with the rope, you are going to fatigue veeerrryyyyy quickly. You want to just be using your wrists! Think about whipping the rope towards the ground in front of you, and the wall behind you, keeping those forearms as still as you can. 

Drill work

Band around the shoulders: If your arms tend to work their way outwards like a bird about to take flight, grab a theraband and have a friend tie it around your biceps! This will force you to keep those elbows in, and practice just using your wrists as much as possible. 

Big jump, slow single under: Now it’s time to practice that high jump, but with single unders. Slow down the single under, practice jumping through the balls of your feet and your toes, and getting comfortable with that higher jump needed for doubles. 

Jump-tap-tap: Put down the rope for this one! Now that you are comfortable with that higher jump, we need to work on your wrist rhythm. Do a couple jumps with your hands by your side, and then at the top of your jump, tap your legs twice while in the air. This is going to simulate the rope spinning below you two times, and help you feel the rhythm of that wrist motion. 

Alternating single-doubles: Now it’s time to try some doubles! Before trying to string them together, always start with a few single unders to find the rhythm. Once you feel like you have a consistent high jump and spin, do not change your jump, but spin that rope around twice! Use the same rhythm you used in the previous drill, but now thinking about throwing that rope towards the ground in front of you twice while in the air. Alternate back and forth between single unders and double unders. Maybe do 10 double unders to 1 single under to start, then go to 5:1, 3:1, 1:1, and then string those doubles together. 

I cannot stress this enough: your jump does not change just because your wrists are moving a bit faster. Do not let your brain be tricked into telling your legs to do the tuck jump, the donkey kick, the half pike, or the jumping-to-the-moon. 

You can do this! For physical demonstration of some of these drills, here is a great tutorial! 

Now let’s bounce.

Who wrote this post...

Mckenzie Souther

Mckenzie Souther

McKenzie is a North Carolina transplant (go Heels) who’s been coaching and attending Renew since 2016. Her favorite benchmark workout is Isabel, ‘cause quick power snatches are her jam. But as a former gymnast, she’ll also settle for any workout that requires her to be upside down. When she’s not coaching or working out, she just wants to be where her friends are -- preferably somewhere on the greenbelt with lots and lots of dogs!

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