Many training routines focus upon plenty of lists of exercises you can complete in order to build your stamina and endurance, increasing your performance capability in both lung and muscular performance. However, most fail to delve too deeply into the mechanics, form and overall presentation of the individual movements involved. Many trainers will use the same exercises – incorrectly – for years, failing to optimize their own personal potential for stamina and power because they aren’t getting the most out of the exercises they are using. It’s time to change that! Today we examine the movement known as “Double Unders”, commonly used by athletes in Crossfit, boxing, mixed martial arts, and many other sports as well. Let’s examine the form, mechanics and posture of “double jump roping” to determine the best way to complete this very simple movement, in order to garner the best possible results from its use.
First, let’s check out a little history behind the “Double Under”. It was first defined and featured in Crossfit use back in 2001, although its “de facto” use has been in place for decades before this. You are essentially jumping rope. The only difference is that you are allowing the rope to make TWO passes per each jump that you make. You need to jump higher and the rope needs to move faster than when used on standard jumping rope. The effectiveness rate is higher and your body is forced to deliver a greater performance in capacity, stamina and endurance.
While the movement is simple enough, many athletes misuse it, and end up negating the positive effects of what is essentially “double” rope jumping. Some get injured. Others are embarrassed and put the movement away. Some swing their arms and cheat themselves out of profitable gains. Let’s not do that. Instead, let’s examine some tips and techniques we can employ to make this very simple movement more effective.
Stand in the middle of the rope. It’s shocking to learn how many athletes simply don’t center the rope. Length should be long enough so that the rope reaches both of your armpits. It will vary, just as heights of trainers will vary. Relax. Remember that you’re going to be using the same posture for doubles as you use for singles. Keep it fluid and natural. Here is a great link for Sizing your Rope properly. http://rxjumpropes.com/sizing/
Place your weight on your tip toes. Avoid standing on your heels. Stretch your feet for a few seconds before each set. Keep your feet together. This allows for greater clearance on the sides of the feet for the rope to clear.. Make sure you’re wearing proper flexible footwear and are standing on a flat, safe surface.
Your wrists drive the rope during this movement. Remember not to lift your hands. Keep your hands low. If they’re rising to nipple level, you are going to get tripped up on the rope. Aim for smooth, solid motion from your entire wrist/hand region. Rope control is everything when it comes to completing double unders successfully.
You need to be jumper higher than you’re used to jumping, in order to accommodate the additional time needed to allow the rope to travel around your body twice, as is used in Double Unders. Avoid raising your knees and feet too high off of the ground. This will cause your body’s movements to be less effective, and cause you to lose balance. You should develop a smooth, rhythmic motion, inviting each repetition to be as smooth as the last.
Start with standard rope jumping – one jump per rope rotation. Then begin alternating. Three standard jumps followed by one double jump. Once you are able to complete this with consistent speed, begin alternating faster. Two standard jumps, one double under. Finally, alternate “every other”. One standard jump should be followed with one double jump. Finally, after a few days of work, you’ll reach the point where you can continuously perform doubles with little to no disruption.
Just as with any exercise or drill, practice makes perfect. You are going to get tripped up. You are going to smack yourself on the legs more times than you can count. You may want to discard this movement if you’re not immediately good at it. However, you should recall its advantages and just keep at it until it becomes second nature.
Remember that standard rope jumps always have their place and should never be completely abandoned. Although the differences are minor, they do target a different set of muscle fibers in the body- more of the slower twitch muscles. The faster twitch muscle fibers, those “explosive” fibers which deal with explosive movements, will be affected more by the double jumps, as you will be exploding into each of those repetitions, instead of gliding, as is used on the standard rope jump.
All ropes aren’t created equal. You need to get a non-elastic, heavier weighted cord or cable. The heavier cable will provide greater feedback or “feel” and allow you to slow the rope down to learn proper tempo and timing. Speed ropes offer very little feel and consequently jumpers spin them too fast and can’t get out of the way in time leading to the trip. Rx Smart Gear is the maker of the Rx Jump Rope. Rx Jump Ropes have been the industry standard for functional fitness over the last four years. Rx Jump Ropes are custom sized to each individual athlete’s height and offers five different cable variations to support multiple tempo and resistance levels. Visit them at http://rxsmartgear.com/