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A Complete Guide to Double Unders

Skipping was normally something associated with the playground at school or as a conditioning tool for boxers. Most people didn’t realise that the skills they developed (or didn’t develop) would be something they would need in the future. For a simplistic explanation double unders are when the rope passes twice underneath our feet for every single jump. This is slightly different to the normal skipping or single under style many of us practiced before. However, it should be noted that when breaking down the technique of the single and double under nothing should necessarily change except for the speed of the rope. Keeping the same formula as a single under will likely equal success if the rope speed can be altered. Throughout this article we are going to breakdown the movement of the double under looking at some common faults and some drills that can be used to be more proficient and in turn switch the trouble under into a double under!

Why do we do double unders?

Firstly, before we breakdown the set-up of a double under we need to understand why double unders exist within CrossFit. Double unders were introduced as another method of eliciting a cardio response in athletes while also giving many other benefits such as improved coordination, balance and agility. When looking at the application of the double under into programming we could make a comparison with running due to the cardio benefits which are obtained, however, the double under has slightly different characteristics in the regard to the muscles that the movement works. While a double under works the leg muscles similar to running it also targets the shoulders and forearms in a way that when performed at high intensity for numerous repetitions can be extremely fatiguing. So, in summary double unders are a great training tool that if used correctly can be a beneficial addition to a training programme.

The Set-Up for Double Unders

Understanding the movement of the double under is important to being successful when completing repetitions. In some cases (not all) an athletes set up could be detrimental when trying to achieve a successful repetition leading to numerous failures. When setting up for a double under it is vital to have the correct rope length along with the correct hand positioning.

To find the optimal rope length stand on the middle of the rope and pull up either side. In this position we are looking for the handles to be armpit height or slightly higher.

To find the optimal rope length stand on the middle of the rope and pull up either side. In this position we are looking for the handles to be armpit height or slightly higher.

Once rope length is established, we then want to think about our positioning before starting our first repetition. We encourage every athlete to adopt a position where their elbows are touching their side and their hands are slightly in front of the body. This will allow for perfect mechanics to perform double unders.

Common Faults in the Double Under

Donkey Kicks

Donkey kicking is a common fault we see within the double under. This is where athletes kick their feet behind as they jump which significantly affects the ability to jump efficiently and increases the likelihood of the rope being caught as it passes around the body. Instead we want to aim to keep a pencil like jump with our knees straight as we are in the air.

Angel Wings

Disconnection Ability

Tips to Help Your Double Unders

When performing double unders or attempting to get your first repetition remember these tips to elevate your performance:

  1. Stay relaxed. Elevating the shoulders can lead to increased fatigue and poor positions which will negatively affect your performance.

  2. Gaze at an object directly in front of you. This will help you stay in an upright position which will help with your overall positioning throughout the movement.

  3. Grip the handles with your fingertips. This will allow for more control of the handles and faster rotations.

Check out the video below for 5 simple progressions to sharpen your technique for get your first Double Under.

If you enjoyed this video, make sure you subscribe to Chalk Fitness on YouTube. On the first Tuesday of each month we release a coaching segment for our strength & conditioning program so you can improve your technique across weightlifting, gymnastics and cardio movements and get a taste of the CHALK class experience.


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