I wanted to share something that we have been focusing on in class over the past few weeks when it comes to single unders. Recently, we have been discussing ways on how to look at certain skills - in this case double unders - and break them down to the core principles.
Often times we find that people being CrossFit and want to master everything at once. And that’s great! We love the enthusiasm. But there has to be an appropriate progression in skill development, otherwise we tend to find that bad habits become the norm.
Here are three specific cues that have been extremely helpful for our athletes. We encourage you to take a few minutes to reflect on your double unders and ask yourself if any of the following coaching tips are helpful. If so, give them a shot next time you are in the gym!
Think of your wrists as your gas pedal and your brake
Success in double unders is innately tied to your ability to maintain an appropriate cadence relative to your work rate. We have found that in the beginning, some athletes become too focused on the rate and height at which they are jumping, and they neglect to focus on the turnover rate of their wrists.
If you have been in class with myself recently, I’m sure you have heard me say “you can’t fight gravity”. And I mean that 100%. Fun fact: absent of air resistance and other variables that might slow us down mid flight, everything on this planet falls at a rate of 9.8 m/s² :)
What that means in terms of your double under performance is that you can’t speed up or slow down the rate at which fall towards the earth. BUT you can speed up or slow down the rate at which your wrists turn over and relative to how fast (and how high) you choose to jump! So, think about using your wrists as literal gas pedals or brakes. Calling some attention to that will help immensely and also allow for your to stay more in tune with your rhythm, rather than holding on hoping you reach your desired rep total.
Efficiency determines your capacity
I’m sure by now all of you have been in class and have seen some athletes effortlessly float through the air completing 50+ reps with relative ease. Their demeanor looks calm, they look like they are barely breathing, and to be honest, it couldn’t be more perplexing! So what gives?
Well, to be honest, they are moving extremely efficiently and that is why their capacity has increased. Remember, anything completed at a high volume (running a marathon or completing 105 thrusters) will require an extremely high level of efficiency if you hope to complete it quickly. In regards to double unders, it is important to remember that any unnecessary or unneeded movements will use up valuable energy. A quick thing to think about is staying relaxed. This will help you maintain control of your emotions and also allow for any adjustments that may be needed on the fly.
Shapes are shapes. Think of double unders as super charged single unders
In class I have been explaining to athletes that double unders are literally just super charged singles. Nothing should change about your shape when completing either movement. What should change is the height at which you jump and the rate of the turnover in your wrists. If you find yourself completing singles with ease, but as soon as you attempt doubles you turn into flipper the dolphin - take note! Think about relaxing your shoulders, keeping your wrists in front of your body, and just jumping a bit higher! Again, doubles are nothing more than supercharged singles, your position should not change.