Slow down, cowboy – before we work on double-unders, that single-under has to be beautiful. That means no double bouncing, no wild arms, and absolutely no donkey kicks.
Before you even jump: is your rope the right length? With one foot on the rope at the floor, and both handles in one hand, the ends of the actual rope should be at your armpit. Once you’ve found a rope of the right size or corrected your own, start jumping. Do you make any of the following common mistakes?
Double bouncing: One pass of the rope means one bounce on the feet. Double unders (our ultimate goal) are impossible with a double bounce – we’re spending too much time on the ground. When you land, toes make contact with the floor, heels come down to kiss the floor, and you rocket back up through your toes. If you are a double bouncer, this is your first area of focus: try speeding the rope up so you don’t have time to double bounce!
Wild arms: The movement of the rope should come as much as possible from your wrists, minimally from your forearms, and definitely not from your shoulders. Relax. Shoulders should be down and back, arms slightly out from your body, and the rotation of the wrists primarily controlling the rope. Think about creating space along your neck, pushing your shoulders away from your ears. If your shoulders shrug up and arms come out, that will shorten the rope until it smacks you in the shins and trips you up. Limiting arm movement will also conserve energy.
Donkey kick: Arguably the least bad mistake here, as you’ll see some people successfully doing double unders while donkey kicking. However, you probably won’t see them doing many, as the donkey kick bleeds energy and is slower than a long body jump through the toes. Instead of bending at the knees and pulling your heels to your butt, extend through the jump. Point your toes and squeeze your quads to create length and propel yourself off the ground. 1) This is much more efficient as you don’t need to pick up your legs only to shoot them back down and catch yourself; and 2) hey, that looks a lot like triple extension…
Only when you’ve dialed in the above and are very comfortable with single unders have you prepared yourself to work on those infamous double unders…