Double-Unders: Friend or Foe? Revisited…

Posted: November 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

As a newbie to blogging, and a relative newbie to CrossFit (just over a year now), I have written primarily based on my educational background in biomechanics, but also through personal experience about what has worked for me in developing new skills. One of the things that I really love about CrossFit is that every (good) coach has his/her own cues to help their members. There are many ways to teach skill and/or technique efficiency. Everyone responds to cues differently and what works for one, may not work for another. I have observed this firsthand doing wods at various boxes, and attending seminars and trainings. Recently I received similar feedback in response to my blog about double-unders, from the godfather (my moniker, not his) of CrossFit jump-roping no less. Dave Newman, the creator and owner of Rx Jump Ropes, responded to an inquiry and let me know while he agreed with a few points of my approach, ultimately he disagreed with biggest one! He explained that his method of teaching double-unders has worked for thousands of CrossFit athletes : “My philosophy is that efficient bounding and gaining the greatest distance between the athlete and the ground is paramount to learning efficient timing…with the most common error being focused on rope speed and not separation from the ground.” He went on to explain: “Practically speaking, the more distance one creates the better their odds for success. If one never leaves the ground they have zero percent chance for success no matter how fast they turn the rope. Leave the ground a little you’ve increased your odds dramatically. Leave the ground a lot and increase your odds exponentially.” The simplicity of this of his logic was like a revelation, and was a little bit embarrassing at the same time that I over-thought the skill as much as I did and failed to see this basic understanding. “This approach will allow the athlete to slow down their rope speed and learn better timing between their body’s reciprocating motion and the rope’s rotary motion. Imagine the difference between jumping out of the way of a car speeding at you at 50 mph or a car coming at you at 5 mph. There’s a huge psychological difference between the two.” Once again, I had a light bulb moment, followed quickly by another dose of humility. He concluded by explaining that once an athlete gets the timing right, it becomes easy to speed up or slow down.

The reason that I took the time to enter this blog is two-fold. First, the whole point of this blog is to provide information about CrossFit and its associated skills to athletes that may benefit in some way from this content. The explanation of performing the double-under by Mr. Newman offers a more logical and simple approach to a skill that I previously over-complicated. Secondly, Mr. Newman could have responded to my inquiry by saying: “you are dumb, this is wrong” but instead took the time to respectively explain his approach which I really appreciated, and  think is reflective of the CrossFit community in general, which I am proud to be a part of!

For more information on the skill of the double-under, Mr. Newman has an article in the November/December issue of WodTalk Magazine titled: “Double Unders are as easy as Air Squats. Really!”

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