Farmgirlfit Tips: Mastering the Double Under!

After over a year of watching everyone at Farmgirlfit master double unders around me, I wondered why I couldn’t quite get the hang of it. I mean, I’m uncoordinated — but not that uncoordinated.

And then, a couple weeks ago, I realized I was using a rope that was about a foot too short for me. Oops. For some reason I was always grabbing that orange-handled rope — one I learned is for someone that’s about 5-foot-2. I’m 5-10.

Now that I’m working with the right equipment, I’m on my way. And I thought it might be good to ask for a few tips that can help with mastering the art of double unders. Farmgirlfit trainers Jenni Niemann and Laura Wambold weighed in with some great advice.

1. Concentrate on form.

“Your form with each hop should not change much from a single to a double-under. You are just powering up a little higher on a double under. That way, the movement is more efficient and less exhausting,” Laura says. She emphasizes that sometimes mastering double unders means making sure that your feet are in the right position — “a piked position with toes pulled up toward ceiling so that they don’t catch on the rope, versus bending legs at knees with feet back behind you,” she says. “Wrists should be close to hips so that they aren’t floating away from your body, shortening your rope, which allows it to catch on your feet. It’s all in the fast wrist!” Jenni agrees: “Keep the jump rope and your hands down and in the same place it if you were do singles — people tend to bring the rope up or make big arm circles with the rope, which makes it hit their shins and throws their timing off.”

2. Relax and Breathe.

“If you stress yourself out you won’t be able to do DU’s. I always tell people to relax their face because they tend to focus a little more and not shrug their shoulders (which shortens the jump rope),” Jenni says.

3. Find the Right Rope

Jenni says that it’s important to experiment with different sizes of ropes when mastering double unders. Ropes at the gym are now labeled with sizes, from 8-foot to 10-foot lenghts. “Make sure the length of the rope is what you want it to be and you’re not jumping to accommodate the length of the rope,” she says. “Some say to stand on the rope with 2 feet and the handles should hit right under your arm (in your armpit). This could be a starting point.” Watch yourself in the mirror, or partner up with a friend to take a look at your rope — when going full speed, the rope should extend 5- to 12-inches over your head.

4. Practice Jumping

Personal warm up time is the perfect time to practice jumping in different ways: singles, backwards singles, alternate leg skips, high knees, lateral jumps, single leg jumps. “The better you are at jumping rope different ways, the better you’ll be at timing the rope,” Jenni says. “You really believe that one day you’ll just “get” DU’s right? It takes PRACTICE and making that rope and extension of yourself.”

5. Use Your Ears and Your Eyes

One tip that Laura said helped her to master double unders was to actually listen to the sound her rope makes. “I learned best by watching and listening to the sound of the rope hit the ground with someone who is really efficient at them … That constant, “whap, whap, whap” pace versus “whap, whap, boom” of someone inefficient landing one.” Working up a rhythm can be key in getting the feel for the exercise. Both Jenni and Laura agree that sometimes the best way to understand double unders is to watch yourself do them: face the mirror and get to work!

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