Question of the Day: Does the beginning of 2017 pose any particular goals? Are you trying to sleep more? Eat cleaner with better foods?
If we can practice setting our vision and goals, both long and short term, then the path to success is easier to see. We simply have to put in the commitment and work, which is the hardest part of all.
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…
To put it nicely, double unders can be hard for some of us to master. It takes timing, consistency and patience. But it also takes a good rope. Having your own rope allows customization to your height, tempo, preferred weight (an important but usually ignored aspect) and provides consistency in practice. Plus, they’re small and light, perfect for carrying with you for a quick workout at home or on the road.
If you’re just starting and aren’t sure what kind of rope you prefer, you can check out some of the cheaper options at either gym, a local sporting store or Amazon. Amazon has several adjustable options ranging from $8-$15.
Some other staff recommendations include:
RX Jump Ropes RX Smart Gear has been making the industry standard for CrossFit for years. Their ropes are custom sized to each individual athlete’s height and cable variation to support multiple tempos and resistance levels. You can also customize it even further with multiple colors and designs. ($43, RX Smart Gear)
The complete Foundations Program is a 4-week, 12-class course for $275. Take the first 3 classes for $100. After the completion of the first week, you have the option of completing the remaining classes in the course for an additional $175.