Let’s talk about those dreaded doubles.
It seems to be a pattern in CrossFit where many of our movements are love-hated by the masses.
Because CrossFit is usually the first space where many of us (especially those who come with a competitive grit) are given challenges week after week that we cannot immediately master. Examples of those challenges include the olympic lifts, kipping pull-ups, pistols, handstand pushups—just to name a few—and of course, double unders fall among their ranks.
Double unders are another one of CrossFit’s golden moves that tap into several of the ten physical skills—speed, agility, stamina, accuracy, strength (yes, strength!) and most importantly, cardiovascular/respiratory endurance and coordination.
When it comes to learning double unders, or anything in the box, my first suggestion is to get out of the mindset of, “I can’t do that!”
You can do it. It takes time and practice. A lot of practice.
It took me the better part of two years to take on double unders confidently in a metcon and quite frankly there are still days where sometimes they just aren’t “on!” It happens.
Second, if you’ve been actively practicing your doubles but find yourself left feeling defeated with numerous whip marks—it’s time to slow down and go back to the foundation.
Quick Tips to Help With Your Doubles:
- Practice those “penguins.” You might feel silly doing them and not initially realize how they transition to the rope, however, the double clap timing is key.
- Find your groove. While many of us have unique styles to our double unders, generally the rules of thumb are to keep your elbows in, your hands slightly in front of you, shoulders relaxed, and straighter legs. Getting started, you might have a little kick in your feet, lean forward slightly, or begin with a wider set up. This is okay. Be patient with yourself and your individual groove as you continue to get better. Eventually your form will become as relaxed and composed as it is when you do singles.
- It’s all in the wrists. This is a lot easier said than done, of course, but your arms should not be flailing around here. Your wrists are doing the bulk of the work (just like they are for those penguins!)
- Try looking forward. It’s easy to hone in on the ground while doing doubles, but setting your gaze straight ahead could help straighten your overall posture.
- Dress prepared. If you’re working on doubles or you know they’re programmed, come to class in pants and long sleeves. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Slow down. Many of us look at double unders and immediately think—fast! Yes, they’re fast, but just imagine the absolute fastest you could do some singles, and then imagine trying to get the rope around twice at that speed. Slow and steady wins the race, right?
Doubles are an incredibly underrated move that can enhance both your anaerobic and aerobic capacity. They are also a CrossFit favorite, making them very commonly seen in the CrossFit Open, CrossFit Regionals and CrossFit Games. Registration for the Open has gone live and I would not underestimate a double under appearance.
So let’s take advantage of this endurance cycle and really get to work on our doubles!
About the Author
As a CrossFit Trainer & Content Writer at Solstice, Megan brings our experiences to life with her words. She strives to be a voice for the community, offering inspiration and advice for all our readers.