by Michael Plank
But seriously. Double-unders can take a long time! The double-under – a jump rope movement where the rope swings around your body twice for every time you jump – involves tremendous coordination and accuracy. It’s a high skill movement. What that means is that improvements happen more in your brain than in your body. And brain skills – neurological skills – take time. You have to wire new pathways and that takes repetition. So our first piece of advice for getting double-unders is: give it time. Practice frequently.
When your brain wires those new pathways, it’s during rest and sleep that they solidify. So the key is frequent practice, not necessarily long practice. In other words, practicing for 60 seconds every day is worth way more than 7 minutes once a week, even though it’s the same volume of time.
The second piece of advice is: understand that there’s a progression to being good at double-unders.
What we usually see is this:
- Single-unders with skipping over the rope and/or a double-bounce for each jump
- Pretty single-unders
- One double-under
- A double-under where you can go back to single-unders without stopping
- The ability to alternate a double-under with some number of single-unders
- Unbroken double-unders
- Pretty unbroken double-unders
- Pretty unbroken double-unders while being able to breathe
It might take you 5 years to work through that progression. It might take 6 months. It depends on how lucky you got with the coordination gifts you were born with, how much you practice, how well you understand the movement, and a whole host of other things. But it’s a journey, and 9 times out of 10, it goes through those steps.
The third piece of advice is: if you’re struggling, get some coaching. Maybe a single personal training session is all you need, maybe you need more. But there is so much going on with this movement, that having a second set of eyes, especially if those eyes belong to someone who has seen these progressions before, can be super useful.
Double-unders are awesome. They’re a great conditioning tool, they’re excellent for teaching a whole host of neurological skills, and best of all, you don’t need anything more than space and a $10 jump rope. They’re totally worth all the whip marks that come with the practice!