Double Unders and You.

The double under: Two revolutions of a jump rope passing under you in a single jump.

To some, double unders would be the most taboo movement in crossfit.  Some people get them their first day, some seasoned crossfit veterans still have trouble with them.  Double unders require speed, coordination, agility, accuracy and balance.  Notice how there was no mention of strength and power there.  Too much of either of the latter is definitely not the way to achieve double unders.  I’m not the best there ever was at double unders, but I do think I’m proficient enough to try to help you gather some insight on what’s holding you back on achieving them.  Let’s take a look at some of the contributing factors of why you don’t have double unders yet.

1.  You don’t practice them enough.

Yep, I said it.  You don’t practice them nearly as much as you should be.  Which is odd, because if you have a jump rope, it’s one of the things that you can practice ANYWHERE. We talking ’bout practice. Practice, practice, practice. People like to dismiss DU’s as a trivial movement. Doesn’t matter if you can clean 300lbs; if the buy-in is 100 DU’s, you ain’t going anywhere.  Show up a little early, stay a little after…grab a jump rope and PRACTICE.  Better yet, go buy your own jump rope!  Which brings me to my next point…

2. Go get your own rope!

Can you do double unders with the plastic ropes we have at the box?  Yes, you can.  Is it efficient? NO.  There’s a few couple reasons for this:

  • They’re not sized properly – The green ones are 8ft long, the purple ones are 9ft long.  We’re all varying heights and we all need varying lengths for our jump ropes.  This matters down to the inch.
  • Rope tension – The ropes are flimsy.  You need to be able to keep tension on the rope in order to keep the motion continuous.  If you don’t have rope tension, you have to use more power to turn the rope.  Which in turn leads to early fatigue, which leads to not being able to string double unders.

Look, I don’t blame you for not wanting to put any more money in crossfit.  You obviously have some kind of love for crossfit though since you’re reading this.  A speed rope can be had for as low as $7.  Yes, we also do sell speed ropes at the box as well.  Even $25-$40 is little to pay for a nicer rope to get that pesky move that you loathe so much.  Do yourself a favor, invest in your own rope, it will make a difference.

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Left to Right: RX Rope w/ Hyper Cable, RPM Rope, Rogue SR-1 Handles w/ Jump N Rope blue cable, $7 Amazon Speed Rope, Surge Speed Rope, $8 Amazon Speed Rope

3.  Slow down.

It looks like people are moving in light-speed when they’re doing double unders, I get it.  Some people are actually moving in light-speed while they’re doing double unders, but most are NOT.  Must be some kind of optical illusion because it’s hard to make out where the rope is.  One of the biggest misconceptions is thinking that you need extraordinary speed to get a 3mm rope to pass under you twice.  The big thing here is developing a PACE.  The way I did this was counting musical time. One-two-three-four-one-two-three-four…and so on.  Time your jumps to the numbers and your wrists to the pauses in between each numbers. If your feet are moving, then your wrists aren’t, if your wrists are moving, your feet arent (kind of, until you get faster).  This is going to be different for everyone, but this is what helped me.

4.  Relax, yo.

Wipe that constipated look off your face.  Smile, think happy thoughts.  Rainbows and unicorns.  Double unders are fun!  Friends don’t let friends double under angry.  Relax your shoulders, drop the tension from your traps/neck, keep you elbows at your sides; all that should be working here are a quick flick of the wrists (think “whipping” the rope) and a small bound from your calves.  Find something to look at, focus on that.  Don’t count to big numbers unless you’re comfortable with DU’s. 1-10, and repeat.  Don’t get frustrated, we all had to learn double unders too at some point. A kitten dies every time you pike or donkey kick.

5. You are you.

Everyone double unders a little different than the next person.  The only way to figure out how you double under, is by doing it.  We can give you tips but everyone does their DU’s differently.  PRACTICE and experiment.

I’d be happy to answer any questions about all the different jump ropes.  If ever you see me at the box and you want to try out a certain rope, ASK ME.  I don’t bite and I have pretty much all the main ones.  Got a new rope?  I’ll help you size it.

Good luck and…



Review: Reebok Crossfit Nano Speed

I hate running.

I hate running in Nano’s.

Original Nano’s or 2.0’s; it doesn’t matter, they both suck balls to run in.  To their credit though, they’re not actually built specifically or solely for running.  Rather, they’re shoes that can accommodate all the movements in crossfit well enough to get by.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my Nano’s.  The 2.0’s are quite possibly my most used and favorite shoes. They’re just not all that great to run in; which brings me to the new Crossfit Nano Speed’s.  Shoes designed to be running shoes, that can accommodate all the movements in crossfit well enough to get by.

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Crossfit Nano Speed’s in Risk Blue.

From my understanding, this shoe is still supposed to cater to minimalist runners.  It’s got a 4mm drop; 12mm in the heel and 8mm in the forefoot.  Definitely not the 0mm drop that most of my minimalist shoes have.  They have a lot more cushioning and support as well. I don’t really get where Reebok is going with the minimal thing here, but hey, they say crossfit on ’em.  The front of the shoe is protected, not quite the “duraguard” found on the 2.0’s, but good enough so that it won’t make you bleed when you miss a double-under.  The upper is the same kind of nylon mesh found on 2.0’s, offering pretty good breath-ability and hopefully the same durability for rope climbs.  Jury is still out on whether or not these shoes will ACTUALLY hold up to rope climbs.  The soles aren’t the same as on the original two shoes, but I don’t think Reebok would design a crossfit shoe that would get chewed up by the rope.

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Back of shoe and inner “rope guard”.

Initial impressions:

  • The midfoot is more narrow as opposed to the wider base found on the OG Nano’s and 2.0’s.
  • They’re cushioned to all hell.  Quite comfy actually.
  • Who the hell came up with this color scheme?
  • Pass on the air squat test.
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Side Comparison: Original, Speed, 2.0

If the original two Nano’s were too narrow for you.  Stop reading, don’t buy these. The toe box is close to the same, but the midfoot to heel area is pretty tight.  I’ve got higher arches and it’s still a tad narrow.  Maybe the fact that I’m always in either Nano’s or minimal shoes all the time makes me feel that the foot bed is super cushioned, but it’s a welcome change.  These shoes are comfortable, my joints must be singing songs of praise when I wear them, that is if joints could sing.  I’ve only worn them through one full workout and WOD, and I didn’t have any problems doing everything from double-unders to lighter cleans and squats.  What about running you ask? Well, they do feel a lot less clunky than the original two Nano’s though.  I’m pretty good about pose running, but I can see the extra padding these shoes offer being beneficial for heel strikers.  Squatting feels good, or maybe I’m just good at squats; whatever the case may be, I didn’t have any forward inclination issues from the differential or the cushioning.

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Top: Original, Speed, 2.0

When people ask me what shoes to buy for crossfit, I usually just tell them to get 2.0’s (that is, until I get my 3.0’s tomorrow).  The answer is subjective now.  If you’re not much of a runner or are looking for a more supportive ride, I’d probably get the Speeds.  If you are good about forefoot striking and/or are set on “minimal-er” shoes, get the 2.0’s.  If you want to be a hipster and want the most minimal shoes of the bunch with the best color combos, get the OG Nano’s.  All are great choices for crossfit, it just depends on what kind of athlete you are.

Back in it.

I like buying shit.  I like buying Crossfit shit (more specifically).  I like talking about shit.  I like talking about Crossfit shit (more specifically). Here, I will review shit. Here, I will review Crossfit shit.

Spending the money on Crossfit shit, so you don’t have to.