Jumping rope is an excellent exercise to help improve stamina and conditioning. One method to make jumping rope more challenging is to do “Double Unders,” which means you swing the jump rope two times underneath your feet with only one jump.
Double Unders have gained popularity more recently as an exercise used in CrossFit workouts and competitions. The goal is to start doing double unders consecutively, which is a seriously intense workout.
Double Unders Tip #1: Jump High & Jump Slow
Double under requires that you jump much higher than a normal jump rope revolution. In fact, you can jump just an inch off the ground during your normal jump rope routine, but a double under requires you to jump much higher. Jumping higher and slower helps create enough time for you to swing the jump rope 2 times underneath your feet as opposed to just once. As you get better and more efficient at doing double unders, you won’t have to jump as high.
Double Unders Tip #2: Use Your Wrists
Probably the #1 most common jump rope mistake is when beginners flail their arms as opposed to turning their wrists in order to create momentum for the jump rope to start revolving. This is similar to a swimmer being very inefficient in the water: an inefficient swimmer gets tired very fast and doesn’t go fast. With jumping rope, you want your skipping to be as efficient as possible so you don’t waste too much energy. If you do, you won’t last for much more than 30 seconds, or a minute. Jumping rope is all in the wrists, which should be roughly at your waist.
Double Unders Tip #3: Keep Your Elbows In
Another related mistake beginners make is not only using too much arms, but extending the arms and elbows to far away from the body. This makes the jump rope shorter so revolutions become more difficult and it’s harder to hold you arms extended from your body. Instead, keep your elbows close to your sides.
Double Unders Tip #4: Keep Your Torso Upright
Because double unders require that you generate significant speed to spin the rope around 2x with one jump, beginners will often bend the torso forward in an effort to shorten the distance the jump rope needs to cover. Instead, remain upright with only a slight bend in your torso as in the photo below.
Double Unders Tip #5: Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes perfect. If you are just starting out with double unders, I recommend the following progression:
- Start jumping rope normally, then on the 5th rep do a double under, then stop
- Repeat until you consistently complete a double under
- Next, do 100 jump rope reps, with every 10th jump being a double under
- Repeat until you can do this without stopping
- Start jumping rope normally then on the 5th rep do a double under, and on the 6th rep do a double under
- Repeat until you can do this easily
- Now start doing consecutive double unders with as many as you can in a row!
Eventually, you will be able to complete 25+ double unders. As a simple and effective workout, complete as many double unders as you can to failure for 5-10 rounds with 30 seconds rest in between each set.