In Search of the Elusive Double Unders

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By: Coach Brad

I remember hitting about 50 double unders on my first day of practice and within a week completing Annie with unbroken sets (50-40-30-20-10); then Flight Simulator in under 7 minutes; and eventually hitting a max unbroken set of about 250. I was lucky: I never struggled with them and I still have the skill to this day, although with far less endurance.
 
Not everyone is so lucky.
 
As a movement, jumping rope is neuro-muscular in nature. That’s why it requires practice – to develop those connections between your brain and your body. And that’s where practice comes in.
 
The top reason to practice doubles is not just to get better at doubles (although practice will get you closer to perfect). The real reason is that a flawless exhibition of rope skills will also lead to improvements in other technical demands of gymnastics, weightlifting, and sports conditioning and performance.
 
I have a friend who practiced daily for 6 months before he could consistently string more than one together. But he used the “dolphin kick,” which is self-limiting because it’s so exhausting. So, he started over and after two years of practice was able to do numerous sets of 100 doubles back-to-back, surpassing me in all benchmarks.  
 
The point of that story is to tell you that it may take weeks, months, or even years before you can string together your first doubles. But if you stick with it – including incorporating attempts into the WODs instead of immediately going to singles – I guarantee you’ll get there!
 
(It’s also a good idea to buy your own rope).

I have a lot more to say about double unders, including drills to help you get better and scaling options for classes, and you can read it all here.