A Ridiculously Awesome, yet brief, Guide to Double Unders

I know what you’re thinking, “Pretty bold title, better be good”. No worries, the title actually doesn’t quite do the information justice. If you are pretty good with a jump rope, skip (no pun intended) down to the bottom of the post where I have some workouts that are guaranteed to challenge anyone. If you want to learn what double unders are, how to do them properly, what kind of rope to buy, some quick tips, and some awesome workouts keep reading.

What are these things you call double unders?

The Official definition: According to Skipping Rope in Wikipedia, double unders are performed when, the participant needs to jump up higher than usual while swinging the rope twice under his feet. Simple enough, right? One jump rope passes twice, DOUBLE, below the feet, UNDER you…. Ok I think that dead horse is beaten.

My definition: a conditioning exercise that may or may not have been used in POW camps during Vietnam to punish infractions.

Double unders have gotten really popular recently due to how often they are thrown into CrossFit workouts. My only problem with this…A CrossFitter sees a jump rope and they look at it solely as a device built for double unders. A jump rope is an insane conditioning tool. Maybe you didn’t know this but Rocky “freaking” Balboa used a jump rope for conditioning.

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AND Muhammad “freaking” Ali

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The jump rope and the double under go far beyond just adding it to a CrossFit workout. A jump rope should be seen as an amazing conditioning tool, and you should be proud to own one…. Don’t own one? Well, this wouldn’t be an amazing guide if I didn’t gve you some options. The way I see it you have two options.

The “I want to get started, but I am not serious” option
 A Ridiculously Awesome, yet brief, Guide to Double Unders A Ridiculously Awesome, yet brief, Guide to Double Unders

The “GAME CHANGER I want to be a badass speed rope” option

ropes rx rogue smh 150x150 A Ridiculously Awesome, yet brief, Guide to Double Unders

Rx Jump Ropes
Ultra Speed Jump Ropes
 A Ridiculously Awesome, yet brief, Guide to Double Unders

How do I select and size a jump rope for double unders?

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Doube under tips

    • The #1 problem I see when people start double unders is that they try to make their arms look like giant windmills. Swinging your entire arm is inefficient and you look plain dumb. This may take some practice, and using a speed rope will help, but it is all in the wrists.
    • Start out jumping higher than you need to. Don’t make it a habit, but get a good feel for what it takes to swing the rope twice under you. You will find it is not as difficult as you think.
    • Now listen to some Chris Spealler magic….

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TWO WORKOUTS GUARANTEED TO KICK YOUR ASS AND IMPROVE YOUR DOUBLE UNDERS BY 200%

You now know what double unders are, some fictitious and real athletes who use a jump rope for conditioning, where to get a good rope, how to size it properly, and you have gotten a few tips on how to do them…No let’s do them!

My opinion is the only real way to learn anything is to get out there and do it. Do it over and over until you get it right. These two workout are guaranteed to FORCE you to get quicker and more efficient at double unders. Not only that, they are both great conditioning workouts and will get you in great shape.

Workout 1:

  • 1,000 double unders for time
That’s right! Set out to do this workout and see how long it takes you. In the process you will get very good at double unders. I did this workout for the first time a few months ago and here has been my progression.
  • 1st attempt – 19:19
  • 2nd attempt – 17:34
  • 3rd attempt – 12:55 (The day I purchased a speed rope)

Nothing works like trial by fire, so get out there!!!

Workout 2:

I created this workout a few weeks ago and it has been great. I do it everyday at the end of my workouts for a “cash-out”.

  • Double under/single under intervals for 10 minutes
  • On the first minute you do single unders at an easy pace
  • The second minute you do double unders
  • You alternate single unders and double unders every minute giving you 5 rounds of single unders and 5 rounds of double unders.
  • THE CATCH: You have to set a “goal” number for each double under minute. It can be 20, 30, 40…whatever you will be comfortable with.
If you can get your goal number every double under minute (all 5 rounds) you completed the workout (If you choose 20, and you get to 20 in 10 seconds then the rest of that minute is rest until your single under minute comes up). The next time you do the workout you have to add 10 double unders to your goal. You keep doing this until you cannot complete the workout OR you get to 100 double unders a minute for a total of 500 double unders. I just completed the 80 per minute goal and will try 90 today….Getting close!! But it is tough and it gets very tiring. The goals is for it to be a continuous not stop 10 minute workout.
Let me know if you have any questions about this workout or anything else. You have any cool jump rope workouts?
OMOB Info A Ridiculously Awesome, yet brief, Guide to Double Unders

 

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  • Misty

    I like your suggestions, i think I’ll give both a try! also like to say I really like your blog and I try to read it everyday!

    My favorite CrossFit movement is the double under (probably b/c i’ve always been decent at them) and thus far my fav DU WOD which actually significantly improved how many I could do unbroken is the flight simulator WOD, where you do 5 unbroken, stop, 10 unbroken, stop, 15 unbroken, stop, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40,45,50,45,40,35, 30,25, 20,15,10,5. For the first while you want to put a cap on it, I would usually cap at 12mins otherwise you could be there all day especially if you are just starting to string double unders together, but on my third attempt at the WOD i finally finished in about 11 1/2 mins and now I can do the entire thing unbroken and now I use it was a great warm up or cool down.

    You are definitely right that speed ropes make a huge difference and i also recommend that anyone who is not using one start!

    thanks for the post and keep up to great work!

    • Jerred

      Awesome! Let me know how the workouts go. Thanks! Really glad you like the blog.

      Yea I really like double unders too. Probably for the same reason as you.

      I forgot about that workout! I actually did it a year or two ago. That workout is awesome! It was really tough for me back then. I think ill try it today to see how I have improved.

      Definitely could not live without my speed rope now.

      Thanks for the comment and thanks for reading!

  • Scott

    What crazy timing. I just did some jump rope stuff last night, but with my 11 lb. weight vest on. Definitely ads another element doing it with the vest. Lately I have been trying to get a little more aerobic work in, so at the very least I pick something (anything really!) and I attempt to do it for 7-10 minutes. Last night was the jump rope with weighted vest. I went for 1 min. to start, rest for 10 seconds then another minute and repeat till I hit the 5 minute mark. Then I did 20 second on 10 second off intervals for the final 2 minutes. Nothing too crazy, but it wasn’t easy!

    • Jerred

      I have never tried jump rope with a vest. I am sure it adds a lot to the conditioning. I think I will give it a try!! First…I need to get a vest lol.

      • Seth

        DIY weight vest!

        • Jerred

          HAHAHA I’ve seen it done! That may fall into the category of making your own kettlebells out of concrete.

          • Spamb0t

            Concrete is horribly inefficient for kettlebells. I make my own 20# medicine balls with a basketball, sand and a tire plug, but a coffee can full of concrete is way too light. Wifey bought me a 45# kettlebell for our 6th anniversary (iron). See what she did there? :-)

  • Misty

    did the 1000 DU for time, unfortunately every few months I have a bad DU day, and yesterday just happened to be one of those days…finished in 17:15 was hoping for the 14min range…maybe next time :P but it was great! except for the headache i got around the 600 mark…

    I like the weight vest idea Scott, i think ill give that a try too and see if that does anything for my DU :)

    • Jerred

      Nice! Very impressive for your first attempt! Yea all that bouncing could give anyone a headache lol. You should try workout #2 as well. With your skills I would set my goal to at least 50-60 to start out.

  • http://www.HammerheadFitness.com Steve

    What a completely cool DU workout! 1000 DU for time? Like! Going to try this tomorrow at the gym. Thanks for the great idea.

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  • Stephanie

    I’ve been having trouble doing DU. I keep whipping myself on the arms and legs.You’d think i would get it right after all this self inflicted punishment!! I’m going to try those tips on my next WOD…

    • Matt

      Most often happens when your one or both hands start to turn in. Make sure your handle and thumb are pointed straight out to the side.

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  • toddschul

    I SUUUUCK at these. I can only do one and I always catch on my second one. I have a speed rope and can do 300 single unders without much trouble with a pretty tight midline and without jumping too high. But, everytime I try to do a DU everything goes haywire and I can only do one. Frustrating!!!

    I have a feeling it’s like learning to ride a bike. It seems impossible until you do it the first time, then it all clicks. At least I hope it’s like that….;-)

    Anyway, I will try your tips. I think 1000 DU’s for time would take me about 5 hours getting one at a time. I’ll try 100 DU’s for time and see what that looks like.

    BTW, I hate Chris Spealer for making them look so easy!

  • Patrice Benoit

    Where did you get that rope? I cannot hit 40 Double unders, i did buy the Buddy Leee Skiping rope but I find the PVC rope still not efficient enough, the one your using seems thin and much better???

    • http://endofthreefitness.com/ Jerred

      Mine? Rogue Fitness.

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  • Hendrik

    Thanks Eo3 for the input and good read!

    For all Germans who want to learn Double-Unders we released a German Guide: http://amrap.eu/double-unders-anleitung/

  • Johnny

    Great Guide, thanks. I have finally mastered double unders after 3 weeks. I have a feeling it would be alot less should i have found this rope beforehand. http://www.doubleunderjumprope.com/products/double-under-rope plus it was alot cheaper than the bigger names like rogue and again faster who i simply couldnt afford at the time. Maybe another time, im just happy to be able to complete WODs with DUs now.

  • http://www.debrastefan.com VegasFitness1

    Hi all! I am always happy to “jump” into discussion on the wonders of rope. Having taught jump rope courses over 30 years at the university level for athletes and physical education majors, plus from toddlers to seniors, I have learned from many students. Specific progressions help them make breakthroughs on these skills. A word about double unders: STOP doing the same drill that is reinforcing your faulty motor pattern. Try something new such as turning the rope to the side with one hand while jumping twice as high and turning twice as fast. Once you have gotten the timing of upper to lower body then take the rope in two hands. Often, it will be necessary to have a rope in each hand to simulate the double under if the first method is unsuccessful. Thanks for this discussion… happy that Crossfit has popularized the passion for rope jumping!