CrossFit Year One: 10 Double-Under Fails

Year One chronicles the trials and double-unders of a first-year CrossFitter. For more Year One posts, click here.

Jump high, keep your hands low, and not the other way around.

Jump high, keep your hands low, and not the other way around.

One of my goals for this year is: 50 Unbroken Double-Unders in 2015. Crazy goal. I know. Recall: Double-Unders (henceforth, DU’s) are where you jumprope and the rope goes under your feet twice.

The great thing about setting a goal like this is, you’re forced to consider form. If you’re only doing DU’s when the WOD tells you to, you can kind of slop through and think, “Well, they’re not my strong suit.” A big, nasty, goal that you actually want to achieve, however, forces you to live in reality. That said, here’s a countdown of the Top 10 things about my DU’s that sucked poo through a Giant Pixie Stick straw. 

10. Sumo Leaps: The whole point is to get the rope around your feet. If your feet are spread apart when you jump, the rope can’t do that. It can, however, smack you angrily on the ankles for forgetting. FAIL. 

9. Dolphin Kicks and Moby Jumps: The goal (we’ll see) is sustainable, high jumping. My (ingenious) method was to flail around in the air like the floor was made of molten lava, either kicking my legs either back or forward to clear the rope. Can you get a few DU’s that way? Yes. But not more than a few. 

"One! More! Rep!"

"One! More! Rep!"

8. Let’s Use a Different Rope Always”: This is a skill that requires coordination, and precise, intuitive movement. If you’re using a different rope every time, your brain has to re-calibrate itself to that rope every time. And by has to re-calibrate, I mean won’t re-calibrate.

7. Bird Flaps vs. Drum Rolls: Think of the shape the rope makes as it goes around your body: a circle. Ideally, then, you’d want your hands tucked in close, around the middle of your body, to give the rope maximum clearance. And, for instance, not waving around in the air like you’re practicing human unaided flight.

6. Statue Hands: In order to do a DU, you have to get that rope moving at a good speed. Not Indiana Jones, cut someone’s face speed, but a good, consistent speed. This means you’ll need to move your wrists, and not hold them still as a statue hoping the rope somehow moves.

5. Pete Townshends: And when you correct your Statue Hands, don’t use Windmill Guitar hand motions to move the rope either. Good for rock showmanship, bad for DU’s. (Awww….) Use your wrists. My preferred position so far is thumbs facing up, so I can get some snapping with the rope.

"Sweet, sweet, delicious double-unders... LLllllloollllllloll..."

"Sweet, sweet, delicious double-unders... LLllllloollllllloll..."

4. Homer Hops: The rope can’t go under twice if you aren’t jumping high enough. The rope can whack you in the shins for laziness. DOH!

3. Posture: These last three were where I really sucked. You want good standing posture for DU’s, not crumply, folded over, butt-out-like-a-baboon posture. FAIL. 

2. Calm: To hit 50 (or even 10!) you need to be in it for the long haul. This means, your goal is a calm concentration, not frantic, ferret-in-your-pants crisis management. FAIL. 

1. Attitude: I think more than any other CrossFit skill so far, this one loves to press the FAIL button. So I’ve to turn on the attitude a bit, and actually start thinking about training to conquer those high reps. Maybe DU’s come naturally to everyone else. But not to me. The only way I’m going to murder and annihilate — er, ahem, achieve (calm!) them, is to practice, practice, practice.

Hey, let’s hear from you: What were the reason your Double-Unders weren’t working? And how did you work on them?