Jumping rope sounds like child’s play, but it’s a fierce workout that requires cardio-vascular endurance, coordination and razor focus. But, if turning the rope in a single rotation isn’t challenging enough, give your game new “ups” with double unders.
Read on to find tips that will help you up your Double Under game . . . and also enter my giveaway (sponsored by a Pittsburgh Gym I’ve partnered with) for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods to get new gear (like maybe a fancy jump rope).
Double unders, a more advanced move where the rope makes two rotations under your feet with every jump, aren’t anything new. They are the signature warm-up in boxing, showy playground trick, and popular workout at gyms everywhere including a Pittsburgh Gym that’s hosting my giveaway (entry at bottom of post). Double unders seem to keep speeding up in popularity, thanks in large part to the functional fitness movement. “For Time” workouts like CrossFit’s “Annie” (50/40/30/20/10 rounds double-unders & sit-ups) can be torture if you can’t work a rope.
Find a Good Rope: Stop using a “regular” jump rope and upgrade to a “speed” jump rope that is designed for maximizing rotations. The handles should be light with a good grip and allow the rope to spin quickly and smoothly. Look a rope made with cable coated in nylon and easily resizable to fit your stature.
Get a Good Fit: Your double under rope should be sized just to fit YOU – that’s why I don’t even like to use the community speed ropes at the gym. To find the best fit, step in the middle of the cable and pull the handles upward and straight towards your armpits. The top of the handle should reach your pit. My dad always said “Measure twice and cut once,” but in this case I suggest also doing a “too long” trial first cut. Cut your wire longer than you think you’ll need it, but adjust to the armpit recommendation, leaving a couple inches of the wire dangling like a short tail on one end. If you feel comfortable with the resized rope after a few workouts, then snip the remenant off.
Practice Ropeless: Ditch your rope, and just focus on the jump. Your jump should be plyometric and powerful, lifting off from the midfoot and landing softly, with little ground time between rotations. Knees are not pulled high or kicked back, they remain surprisingly straight with just a slight bend at the knee for shock absorption. This of “hollow body” position if you are familiar with that concept.
Get Handy: Your arms can quickly tire doing double unders, that’s why a rope with light handles is important. Also, make sure your hands are kept tight into your body, not held out wide at sides (unless you are using a community rope and are trying to make it “shorter”. Check to make sure elbows are mostly tucked in and at a 45-degree angle, positioned about waist height, slightly in front. The goal is to spin the rope with tiny movements from your wrist, not the shoulders.
Find Focus: Your ability to string double unders together, whether 10 to 100, improves with your ability ignore the “going ons” in your environment. Distractions like people milling about, noticing random object in your periphery, or just your own mental distraction can break a double under streak. To improve focus, find a focal point about 20 feet straight ahead at eye level, and don’t break your gaze until ready to quit.
If you are looking for some video tutorials on double unders, Tabata Times has a great post.
Looking for a jump rope workout? My Just Jump WOD incorporates a variety of jump rope skills finished off by double unders and a plank hold cash out.
So, now onto the giveaway! Enter to win a $25 gift card to Dicks Sporting Goods courtesy of Xshadyside Pittsburgh Gym. If you win, this would be the perfect time to upgrade to a speed jump rope, as I mentioned in the tips. But, of course, you can spend it however you like!
To enter, just follow instructions in the Rafflecopter app below.
This post and giveaway sponsored by XShadyside Pittsburgh Gym. However, all opinions, tips, comments and enthusaisn are my own.