A double-under: jumping over a rope while it passes successfully two times underneath you before landing again.
This movement leans on the side of skill far more than it does ability. If you can complete penguin hops (jumping up and down in place while your hands tap your hips twice when in the air), you can complete a double-under.
So why do you keep failing then?
If you fall into this boat of being able to perform sets of 10+ penguin hops, but not sets of 10 double-unders, give these three drills a try.
Two Handles & No Rope
First, take a jump rope and remove the rope (you’re only going to use the handles). If you’re at RxFIT, we have couple sets of handles that rest on the jump rope rack for this purpose.
Then, practice the rhythm of your double-unders with just the handles. Have a coach watch you. Improve on anything the coach sees.
This is a great drill as it removes the failed (and often painful) repetition of the rope hitting your legs.
Up & Down, Not Around & Around
Your wrists should not spin when jumping rope; instead, they should move up and down. The exact motion should be a “flick”, similar to that of casting a line when fishing.
The reason for this is that your wrist simply doesn’t rotate fast enough for the rope to pass underneath you. Moving your wrist back and forth in one direction, however, is plenty fast and will solve your rope rotation problem.
Relax Your Jaw
Tensing your shoulders will shorten the rope. Tensing your forearms will slow down the rope rotation. Therefore, you must learn to jump rope without tensing shoulders or forearms.
I’ve been coaching for years now and I learned that athletes will clench their jaw down when they are tense in the arm. The cue of relaxing the jaw has almost always solved this problem.
Wait, your jaw?
Yes. Give it a try. It will surprise you.
Double-unders require more skill than ability. Practicing under a high-heart rate or frustrated mind therefore doesn’t help. You must practice right when trying to learn a skill — with a low heart-rate and patience.
Simply perform one of these three drills every day for two weeks.
You’ll have big sets of double-unders by the end of the 14th day.