5 Tips on How to Improve Your Double-Unders

Double-unders are a great way to increase the heart rate relatively quickly. Although a seemingly "basic" skill for the higher end athletes, it can be a real problem for beginners and intermediate athletes...there is also the question of "leaking" in your double unders - arguably one of the biggest. most controversial issues for 2013.

I have listed some tips on how to improve your double unders below.

If you do leak when doing double-unders, fear not! I am working on a research project that will hopefully give athletes hope, especially if you have never had children before... for more information, read this blog post!

1. Perfect technique

Ideal technique in double-unders from a physiotherapy point of view is to be as if you are standing straight. You will jump and land on the balls of your feets with a small amount of knee bend and ankle bend but essentially you should be bouncing on the spot.

I call the inefficient techniques various names

  • The Stomper
  • The Butt-Kicker
  • The Piker
  • The Stress-Head
  • The Single-Single-Double Desperado

Keep your double unders looking like your high singles and your efficiency will improve.

2. Know where the Double Unders are in the workout

Last year, there were 90 Double Unders after 150 wall ball shots and before the 30 muscle ups. I think the reason they were there was to see how athletes coped after doing so many wall ball shots and to raise the heart rate before doing the Muscles Ups...also, it added about a minute to the total time of the workout meaning not many people got through the muscle ups.

Understanding why the Double Unders are there will help you decide what to do strategy-wise

3. Lay your rope out 

Set up your skipping rope so you can step up to it and get going. This doesn't matter so much for slow people like me but every rep counts! Transitions are where the time is lost.

4. Remember to breathe

Breathing is very important. I teach people to do a small breath out on landing - it helps your pelvic floor and keeps your breathing.

5. Practice

Spend 3-5 minutes practicing your technique every day. Every bit counts!


6 Tips Common to All Movements 

Basically similar to my blog on preparing for the Open...

1. Practice your technique NOW

  • Feel comfortable in practice with competition technique and Range of Motion (ROM) and it will feel comfortable in competition.
  • Good technique is the most efficient way to complete the reps. For most movements, keep your back straight for crying out aloud!!
  • Motor patterns are strengthened with perfect practice - the more reps you do perfectly, the more likely you will do them

2. Continue your strengthening program (or start NOW!)

  • There are still 7 weeks before the Open starts and 11 weeks until it ends - there is time to make gains!
  • If you just get one more rep out because you are just a little bit stronger or you get a PB because you improved enough to achieve it, there is no better feeling in the Open. Last year, I got a 135lbs snatch 4 times - I got my first the day before I did 13.1. I also got my first CTB pullup during the Open. Strength helps!
  • If you are a Regionals athlete, the Open should just be a speed bump in your training program.
  • I have never heard anyone say "If I was only a bit weaker for that workout, I would have done better"!

3. Get your Coach to help identify and rectify your weaknesses

  • Most coaches are happy to tell you what to work on and will give you accessory (additional) exercises to do after your workouts.
  • Most coaches will have some form of one-on-one coaching sessions they can do with you - these are worth it for beginners and experienced athletes alike
  • If you do ask your coach for help and you DO NOT do what they say, then please DO NOT ask them for more help until you have done what they told you to do already!! Nothing is more frustrating to a coach than someone who asks for help but then doesn't do it.
  • If you have done everything you are told to do and your coach doesn't want to help you, ask yourself if you are in the right box or asking the right person...this should be extremely rare...in general and basically every box I have been to (over 20) and coaches I know (well over 50) have had coaches that are willing to help the athletes and care about their safety.

4. Sort your niggles out

  • One of the most common comments I hear is "If I had known how much better I would feel, I would have come sooner"
  • 'Nuff said!

5. Don't push to failure

  • Rich Froning rarely fails a rep. Don't waste your energy on failed reps. Rest and just concentrate on making good reps. Pushing to failure is a waste of time and energy and significantly increases your risk of injury...

6. Lose the "sins of Christmas" - get that body fat% down!

  • This one is for my friend John Z - all the bodyweight movements in the Open will get better if you are carrying less fat.

I am always keen to hear tips from other athletes, coaches and health professionals. Leave your comments below!

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  1. Pingback : 5 Tips on Preparing for the 2014 CrossFit Open | The Physio Detective

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