How To Do Double Unders!

How To Do Double Unders!

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double unders

If you’re a child of the 90s or earlier, chances are you saw a good amount of jumping rope back in elementary gym class. Today we will explore how to do double unders!

The ropes, which were probably covered in plastic sections (and no doubt had been around the school since the 70s based on the color schemes), offered excellent ways to get kids jumping and moving.

Most gym teachers (at least the better ones) would often try to think outside the box with their jump ropes. One reader told us his teacher would role out a record player and have students jump rope to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” and if you messed up jumping rope before the end of the song, you had to sit down (aka “you were another one to bite the dust).

Regardless of your previous experience with jumping rope though, one of the more elusive routines is, and always has been, the double under.

This is where the rope makes two passes under your feet instead of one. How do you perfect such a move?

How do you perfect such a move?

And is it even worth doing at all (if you’re playing Queen in the background yes, yes it is)?

We’ve got all the insights and answers to your double under questions right here!

Isn’t Jumping Rope for Kids?

Have you driven past a park or playground lately?

Kids aren’t playing on equipment any longer (unless by the equipment you mean smartphones and virtual reality headgear).

So since children aren’t playing jump rope any longer, it’s time for the adults to take up the slack!

Joking aside (although we really aren’t joking as most children are not spending enough time outside, playing, riding bikes and exercising), jumping rope is a great cardio tool you should take advantage of.

When it comes to burning calories, few cardio exercises can match that of rope jumping.

Even if you just mildly jump rope, you can burn anywhere from 10 to 16 calories a minute. Pack this into three different 10-minute sessions and you’ll blast away 480 calories in just a half an hour. This means you’re coming really close to burning almost 1,000 calories in an hour worth of jumping rope.

Outside of swimming, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any other cardio exercises capable of matching this (Shape, 2017).

Are you more of a jogger for your cardio (or maybe you’d like to be but your knees just can’t take the constant pounding of jogging)? Jumping rope for 10 minutes, according to Science Daily, gives you the same results as running an eight-minute mile. So if you’re looking for a way to switch up your cardio, jumping rope is an incredibly effective way to burn off the calories.

Improve Your Agility

Jumping rope is more than just a solid way to blast away calories during your cardio workout. It is also an excellent way to improve your overall agility. While jumping rope, you do so on the balls of your feet. Because you remain on the balls of your feet throughout the duration of your jumping rope time, your body has to adjust in order to maintain balance. In order to do this, your body performs what is known as neural muscular adjustments. So by repetitively jumping with the rope, you’ll improve your overall balance and coordination.

There is a reason why boxers spend a considerable amount of time jumping rope. It’s not because they don’t have access to better cardio equipment. We’re pretty sure Floyd “Money” Mayweather has a few bucks available to toss at some cardio hardware. Jumping rope improves the quickness of your feet, assists with hand-eye coordination and boosts your overall quickness. So never think twice about workout out with a jump rope. After all, if the wealthiest modern athlete turns to a jump rope, so can you.

How to Pick Out the Right Jump Rope

There was nothing worse than being in gym class and being stuck with the wrong sized jump rope (alright, there are plenty of things worse than that, but at that time, at that moment, it was pretty frustrating). If you used a rope too short, you’d end up having to kick your legs way up in order to avoid tripping. If the rope was too long, you’d have so much slack the rope would die on ground impact. At school you may not of had much of a choice. However, you’re an adult and now you can pick out the right jump rope for your needs.

Generally speaking, the right jump rope length depends on your personal height. So, before heading out to the store (or firing up Amazon), make sure to take your personal height, with workout shoes on. Have it now? Good. We’ll give you some measurements for rope size. These recommended rope sizes are provided by RX Smart Gear, a company that specializes in jump ropes and Smart jump ropes (AKA jump ropes that count the number of jumps and provide you with other information, if you want to become a truly serious jump roper).

  • 5 feet tall – 7’10” jump rope
  • 5’6″ tall – 8’4″ jump rope
  • 6 feet tall – 9 foot jump rope

In case you didn’t notice a pattern (this isn’t the ACTs, after all), the jump rope becomes one inch longer for every inch taller you are. So take these given numbers and add, or subject, to find the perfect length of jump rope for your height. The good thing about most current jump ropes is you can adjust the length of the rope by a few inches. So if you can’t find a rope that is exactly your desired height, go with one that is slightly longer (just make sure the jump rope says it can be adjusted).

Now, what if you’re at the gym and picking out a jump rope from what is available? Chances are you don’t have a measuring tape in your gym bag. If that is the case, take hold of the jump rope and step on it right in the middle. Now, hold the jump rope out to your sides. The handles should be right at the base of your armpits.

This isn’t an exact science for selecting jump ropes, but in a pinch, it will work just fine.

Double Unders. Why, Oh Why, Should I Do Them?

Jumping rope is already a great way to torch calories, so why should you consider doing the double under?

Well, it isn’t about burning more calories. It is about taking your agility to the next level. It requires an additional level of coordination and it specifically builds the speed of your wrists (again, another reason why boxers love using the jump rope…Rocky wasn’t playing around when he busted out his jump rope and neither should you).

Think of jumping rope as riding a bike.

Once you have the technique figured out you’ll always remember how to do it. The double under is like the unicycle. Sure, you know how to ride a bike, but going to a unicycle requires additional balance and core strength. The double under builds on what you learned from jumping rope the regular way and now you need to take it to the next level. So if you want to get the most out of your jumping rope time, you’ll add in the double under.

What Am I Doing Wrong!?

You’ve probably tried the double under before.

Show of hands, were you able to do it?

Really?

Now were you able to do it without shoving your knees into your chin and your arms flailing out in order to get just the one double under?

Most of us can do a single double under if we really wind up, but that’s about it. A true double under shouldn’t look that much different from a regular rope jump. In fact, you flailing around is one of the biggest culprits behind why you probably haven’t been able to successfully perform a regular looking double under.

There are two major form problems you may be performing that prevents you from doing a double under. The first is turning your arms into windmills. If you’re swinging your arms like this you’re not doing it correctly. The thought process is to extend the length of the rope and, by doing that, give yourself more time to jump. It does make sound sense, but it actually slows the rope down (it takes longer for a longer rope to do a complete revolution and the drag the rope experiences running along the ground slows it down further) (Buy Jump Ropes, 2016).

The second problem is you’re jumping higher than necessary. Sure, jumping higher is a great way to burn more calories, but save that for the plyometrics workout.

How To Do Double Unders!

Okay, so we’re going to explain it here.

You’ll likely still mess up a bit, but that’s alright. 

You’re going to fall off that unicycle before you figure it out too, so don’t worry. By using these technique tips, you’ll get there.

First, keep your wrists tight and close to the body. Spinning the rope should not come from your arms. All of the tension and movement comes from your wrists. By using your wrists you’ll build more rope speed and keep it tighter to your body. Keep your wrists right at your waist level. All of the speed and power of your rope comes from your wrists.

Next, don’t change the way you jump at all. The jump from a single to a double under should never change. Some people kick their legs forward to give the rope more clearance when it travels behind them, but this is an ineffective way to jump rope.

Also, try your best not to move around. Once you start moving around with your jumps (such as side to side) you increase the chance of messing up (Daily Burn, 2014).

On top of all of this, pick up a “speed” jump rope. Those old-school jump ropes with the plastic is no good because the plastic will slow it down. It should look like a thing strain of rubber.

With all of this in mind, you can begin practicing your double under. As you may need to adjust your wrists from how you had been jumping rope, work on this first. Once you’ve mastered spinning from your wrists and building up speed, you can now begin to work on the double-spin.

And don’t worry.

You’ll get it before you know it. 

Workout Options

So you finally did your double under!

It’s time to celebrate!

After a brief celebration and a toast with your workout drink, it’s time to focus on your jump rope workout. There are a few different options to consider.

Here are a few of them. 

First, you can simply go with the 10-minute interval sections. This is a nice way to start out if you’re new to jumping rope because your wrists will start to hurt with the prolonged spinning (few other cardio exercises really focus on the wrists like this).

Since we’re doing double unders though, time yourself for 10 minutes. For the first minute, do single unders, then for the second minute, do all double unders. Repeat this until the 10 minutes is up. Do five rounds of this.

The third option is if you’ve mastered the double under and you feel good with your 10-minute intervals, time yourself to see how long it takes to hit 1,000 double unders (count it by jumps).

1,000 sounds like a lot, but once you’ve built up strength you shouldn’t have any problem getting this in less than 20 minutes (End of 3 Fitness, 2011).

In Conclusion

Jumping rope is a great way to burn calories, increase endurance and boost agility.

The double undertakes this to the next level. By following through with these tips, you should be able to begin performing double unders in no time.

Just make sure you invest in a quality jump rope as it does make a big difference.

-Terry Asher

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Terry Asher

Owner & Founder at Gym Junkies LLC
After changing his best friend’s life by helping him lose over 70lbs, dropping him down to an amazing 7% body fat, Terry was inspired to be a full-time internet trainer knowing he could do the same for many more. In 2010, Terry published his own diet and fitness e-book that can be purchased on this website. Let Terry help you change your body for the better!
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