If you’re serious about expanding your conditioning efforts beyond the treadmill, then you’ve probably explored the idea of using a jump rope. Boxers have relied on the rope for decades to get dialed in for fights. In recent years, CrossFit has helped to popularize the use of the rope as a skill to be mastered that also happens to have tremendous conditioning benefits. In particular, the double-under—two passes of the rope beneath your feet on a single jump—can really help you take your training to the next level. But it can be a foot-and-shin blasting exercise in failure until you get the hang of it. Here is a good game plan for getting it down.
>> Start with good single under jumping form (standing tall, rotating your rope with your wrists, not your arms). The only factors that change when you perform double-unders are the height of your bound and the faster rope rotation speed.
>> Try practicing your bounding without a rope first so you can focus on jumping powerfully through your ankles and getting off the ground quickly each jump. You want to avoid excessive bending at the knees during the loading phase of the bound. Do not tuck your legs beneath you when you are in the air because you will be out of balance when you land and it will be difficult to bound powerfully and consistently, not to mention more stressful on your knees.
>> Control the speed of the rope with your wrists so that when you bound higher, you can quickly increase the rotational speed of the rope so that it rotates twice in one bound.
>> Once you are able to perform one double under, try to bound consistently high and keep rotating the rope quickly with your wrists.
If this is a new skill for you, it may be difficult at first to do more than one double under in a row. Usually, beginners have a tendency not to bound as powerfully on the second jump and they slow down the rotation of the rope. These are both the opposite of what needs to happen. In order to get to the next level, try this drill, focusing on a high bound for every double under attempt:
Start with some single jumps to get into a comfortable rhythm and then perform…
1 double-under and stop
2 double-unders and stop
3 double-unders and stop
Continue this progression until you are able to get 10 double-unders in a row. Once you get to that point, you can perform multiple double-under sets in a session to improve your ability, conditioning and fat-burning capability.
Dave Hunt is a former Navy pilot, competitive track athlete and the owner and creator of CrossRope (www.crossrope.com), which offers progressively heavier cables to vary the speed and intensity of your rope training. For workouts, tips and to find out how to get your hands on a CrossRope kit, visit www.crossrope.com.