A jump rope. Elite athletes such as boxers, MMA fighters, and CrossFitter’s use it for conditioning. Jumping rope in itself is a great workout. It can even be fun as evidenced by Freestyle ropers and double dutch jumpers.
This single movement covers 7 out of 10 of CrossFit’s required physical skills development. Rope jumping helps with endurance, stamina, coordination, agility, speed, balance, and overall strength.
It’s no wonder it qualifies in CrossFit WOD’s. The only catch is that CrossFit brings the level up a notch by only including double unders in workouts.
How To Do Double Unders
Once you learn how to jump rope with proper form, you can incorporate the double unders. A good way to start incorporating them is by doing three single unders followed by a double under.
When that becomes easy, do two single unders followed by a double under. And then one single one double until you can successfully do double unders in a row.
The double under jump is different than the single under. Your form should still be the same for both. The difference is the height you jump.
When doing double unders, you need to jump a little higher to give the rope a chance to go under twice. You don’t need to double the height you jump. You just need to find the height that will allow the rope to go under twice.
The key is turning the rope faster. This is where finding your own rhythm and style is important. Everyone is different. Play around with it and have fun. If you get too serious you’ll get frustrated and want to give up.
Ideally, you should be keeping your jump height and rope turning consistent. This will help you jump longer.
What Is A Double Under?
The double under is an advanced skill. It’s when the rope passes under your feet twice in a single jump. That’s it. Sounds very simple but if you’ve tried it, you know how challenging it is.
Best Jump Rope For Double Unders
If you want to master the double under, you’ll need to make sure you have the right type of rope. If you choose the wrong material, it might take you a long time to learn even the basics of rope jumping.
The best ropes suited for double unders are speed ropes. These ropes are made from either a cable or flexible PVC material.
The difference? If you’re starting out, the flexible PVC material would be ideal because it’s a little “heavier”. As a beginner, you’ll have more control of the rope as you work on your form. It also forgives more when you go off rhythm.
The cable speed rope is ideal for those who are at the intermediate/advanced level. If you’re an experienced rope jumper, the cable rope will help you refine your technique.
Sizing The Rope To Your Height
Your box will have some ropes available but they may not be the correct length for your height. The best solution for this is to invest in your own rope.
If you get your own rope, the way to gauge if it is the correct length for you is by placing the middle part under one foot. Hold the handles up so there is no slack in the rope. The handles should reach a certain height when you hold them up.
Below is a chart for reference:
|Skill Level||Suggested Length|
|Beginner||The top of the handles should reach the shoulder or close to it|
|Intermediate||The top of the handles should reach the armpit or below.|
|Advanced||The top of the handles should reach the nipple line.|
Now before you permanently shorten your rope, make sure your rope jumping form and technique is spot on. The measurements above are assuming that you have the proper posture and rope turning technique down.
If you’re just starting out or are in doubt, always go longer than you think you should. I think you’ll agree that it’s easier to shorten a rope than make it longer.
Crossfit Double Unders Technique
Yes. Rope jumping is a science. There’s an inefficient way to jump as well as an efficient way. Proper form is key in jumping efficiently. It not only helps you learn to do a double under correctly. It helps you do many double unders without tripping over the rope.
What proper form looks like:
- Abs stay firm
- Body’s relaxed
- Spine stays in alignment at all time (so you’re not leaning back or forward)
- Elbows stay at the sides of the body
- Hands stay a hair forward of midline and about five inches from the hips
- Staying on the balls of the feet
How To Do The Basic Jump
Basic rope jumping is the best place to start if you’re new to it. It’s also a good place if you’re finding it very difficult to do continuous double unders.
What proper technique looks like:
- Eyes focused on a spot in front of you (not above or below)
- Rope turns at the wrist (not the elbows or shoulders)
- Jumping after you start turning the rope
- Jumping straight up and down on the same spot on the floor
- Jumping high enough to clear the rope
- Landing lightly on the floor (you shouldn’t sound like you’re stomping)
- Getting into your own rhythm
Jumping Surface and Shoes
Never jump on hard surfaces like concrete as that will be very hard on your ankles, knees, and hips. Ideal rope jumping surfaces are hardwood, gym mat, outdoor/indoor running tracks or tennis courts. The surface your box has on the floor for dropping heavy weights is also good.
The condition of your shoes is also important. Make sure they’re not worn out. If they are, invest in a new pair. Worn out sneakers will only magnify your inefficiencies and set you up for injuries.
Common Faults and Fixes In Rope Jumping
Some common faults that people have when jumping rope are:
- “Kicking” the feet in front of the body and bending at the waist
- “Kicking” the feet behind the body bending the knees
- Letting your hands “drift” further out to the sides
- Death grip on the handles
- Jumping before turning the rope or at the same time
How do you fix these faults? By doing the following:
- When you “kick”, the movement is not as efficient as it should be. Remember, you only need to jump high enough to clear the rope.
- When you let your hands “drift” out, you shorten the rope. That makes tripping easier. Keep your arms and hands at the same spot at all times.
- When you give the handles a death grip, you don’t allow yourself to turn the rope as fast as you should. Just keep a firm grip and focus on the rotation at the wrist.
Bad jump timing can be improved by practicing these steps:
- Jump without a rope in the form you would be if you had one.
- Practice turning at the imaginary rope from the wrist.
- Practice jumping AFTER you start turning the rope (not before or at the same time)
- Grab your rope. Hold both handles in one hand. Continue practicing your jump and timing of your turns and jumps.
- Now hold the handles in the other hand and do the same thing
- Grab a handle in each hand and see how you do
The skill of rope jumping takes time. Be patient with yourself. Have fun and you’ll see improvements faster than if you just get frustrated.
Double unders can’t be avoided in CrossFit workouts. You’ll eventually have to do them. Taking the time to practice is the only way you’ll get better at it.