So you’ve been jump roping for a while now, doing single jumps and high knees with a jump rope, and you’re wondering how to take your jump roping to the next level.
It’s time you start to master the ultimate jump rope exercise: double unders.
Double unders have long been a drill embraced by boxers, since they’re incredible for overall conditioning, coordination and building endurance. And if you’ve ever done CrossFit, you’ve probably encountered them there too.
If you don’t know what they are, let me tell you, there’s no doubt about it: double unders are tough. While the concept is simple—get the rope under your feet twice in a single jump—they require an incredible amount of speed, strength, and coordination to actually execute.
And double unders aren’t a skill that you’re likely to master overnight. It took me three years of on and off training and I only just got to the level where I can do them continuously in a workout without stopping.
In fact, when I first learned about double unders while training in boxing a few years ago, my coach told me and the other guy training with us that we’d officially be considered badasses if we could get 50 in a row without stopping. Well, I am proud to announce that just yesterday, I got 50 double unders in a row for the very first time. That makes me an official badass, right (just kidding, I promise I don’t take myself so seriously)?
Feeling intimidated yet? Don’t worry, I assure you that with time and practice, you will be able to do them.
Here’s to get started:
Getting started with double unders
Watch this video I made for you guys for a tutorial on how to do double unders:
Keys to successful double unders
If you couldn’t watch the video above or just want a summary of how to do them, here are the key things you need to remember when performing double unders:
Choose the correct jump rope height. Doubled over, your jump rope should hit at about chest level. Shorter will be easier.
Stay tight. Squeeze your abs, butt, and keep your legs tight together throughout the exercise. This will help with efficiency and control.
Use your wrists. Keep your arms close to your body and use your wrists to spin the rope, not your arms. Fail to do this and your shoulders will fatigue quickly.
Pull your shoulders back. Keep your chest out, shoulders pulled back the whole time.
Don’t bend your knees. Try and keep your legs straight and your body in a hollow body position, rather than bending your knees into a tuck jump. This is a way more efficient way to do double unders.
Working up to double unders
If you went and got your jump rope after watching that video and tried to do one for yourself—but completely failed—don’t give up.
Remember, it took me three years before I could do them with any consistency and I know countless people who have been working on them for longer than that yet still can barely link them together. Instead, work on these skills to build up the stamina and coordination needed for double unders:
- Single unders without stopping
- Tuck jumps
- Box jumps
If you think the problem is a coordination one rather than a strength/endurance one, try performing the motion with no jump rope for a while to get the hang of it. Then slowly introduce the jump rope back into the exercise, taking a break when you get too frustrated.
Another drill to try if you can get a single double under in a row but are having trouble linking them together is to do one double under, one single under, one double under, one single under, etc. This will help you build up the endurance you need to do several double unders in a row while making it a little easier.
Don’t give up
Whatever you do, keep practicing and celebrate each and every victory. Even just trying them makes you tougher than most.
And those bruises you’re going to get from the rope hitting you over and over? Just think of them as battle scars, and be proud of yourself.
Now go get started! You can do this.