Double unders are jumping rope, but harder. Your body is still going straight up and down, and the rope is just going around and around. But you have a much higher chance of smacking yourself in the ankles or the back of the head, compared to regular jumping, and that’s why it feels so satisfying when you get it right.
Double unders sound simple: for every jump, the rope passes under you twice. And they’re not physically that hard: you jump a little higher, spin your wrists a little faster. The skill is coordination, and the real mental tricky part is keeping your form steady while your brain is saying ropetoofastjumpnowgofasteraaauuugh!
I can do about three in a row, each more panicked and with worse form than the last. But here’s a video with a nice step-by-step progression that makes learning double unders look easy:
(Why is he in a Crossfit studio? Because Crossfitters do a lot of double unders. What, you think they’d just do regular jump rope when there’s a way to make it harder?)
The progression goes like this:
The point of this last step is to “practice perfect,” so your brain gets experience doing double unders correctly. Otherwise, if you’re jumping until you screw up and smack yourself with the rope, your brain gets a lot of practice screwing up and smacking yourself with the rope.
So if you’re ready for a challenge, give double unders a try this week. Or if you’ve mastered those? Triple unders are also a thing.