WOD: AMRAP in 15 Minutes:
- 15 pull ups
- 15 squats
- 15 push ups
- 15 box jumps
- 15 Unbroken Double unders
And here’s a bit of wisdom from CrossFit Northern Ireland regarding the elusive Double Under:
Today’s Sunday Reading is to help people better understand the Double-Under, a nemesis of many in CrossFit gyms across the globe.
The Double Under
Ahhh, the double-under – one of the most technically proficient, co-ordinated, graceful, speedy and poetic exercises that you will see in the gym when it’s done well. Graceful? yup, there are however a few various traumatic experiences that one most get through before arriving at ‘graceful’. Let me explain and see if you can spot which stage you’re in.
1. The Splosh (or the small child jumping in puddles stage). When you decide (or it’s suggested to you) to try your first few attempts at a double-under your physical reaction to the thought pattern in your brain just does not match up. You’ve seen double-unders being done and you know that it’s a continuous jumping sequence that’s needed in order to be successful, but here’s what happens. You skip and skip and skip merrily with singles psyching yourself up for the double. There’s a mantra in your head of ‘gonna do it now, nope, nope skip more…gonna do it NOW!) and when you go for the double you jump really high and land ‘SPLOSH!’ (like a small kid does into the middle of a puddle, yeah?). Hmmm, the rope seems to have stopped turning and you’re standing with both feet flat on the ground. Try it again and skip, skip (mantra), skip, SPLOSH! Yeah, your BRAIN knows what double-unders are, but your body just won’t do it. Most people find themselves flailing around in this stage disheartened and frustrated (but jumping in puddles is fun right!). Don’t feel down, there is a fix for this! Don’t try to get too fixated on the ‘jump’. Set a tempo in your head of single, single, single, double, single, single, single, double, etc. The trick is immediately after your double to keep bouncing. By all means, splosh into the puddle but be damn sure to bounce right out of it again straight away! Now let’s jump out of the puddles and into phase 2.
2. The Temper Tantrum (or the 4yr old not getting their way). Thank all the Gods! You’re in stage 2 which means you’ve been able to get the friggin rope under your feet for a double revolution. Hurray! Well done you, except wtf is going on now?? These double-unders look shit all like graceful. Yes you can probably complete a wod with double-unders in it but in the process man you’re jumping really high and look like a 4 year old who’s been told they can’t have a poke (that’s an ice-cream to anyone reading this and not from Norn Iron). You’re jumping up and down like a maniac, your eyeballs are popping and your lungs are about to burst and you’ve only done 10, never mind the 30 or so singles in-between that it took to get there! What you’re doing here is building and nurturing co-ordination skills. You’re starting to marry up the physical skill and the actual brain pattern. It’s still early days but you’re now creating pathways and memory muscle. Here’s how you can help make this stage a little easier on yourself. If when you turn the rope you have your arms bent it means that your wrists and hands are really far away from your body. The knock on effect of this is that you’ve just made the rope shorter. If the rope is shorter then you have to jump higher, geddit? There’s really no need to be jumping about like you’re killing frogs, or looking like your feet are on fire – just keep your arms closer to your body when you’re turning the rope. It’s all in the wrists baby!
3. The Mosh-Pit Oooooooo you’re so close now! Now you can probably string 2 or 3 or more consecutive doubles together. Still inter-dispersed with singles but you still can’t feel that sexy about them. Why not? I mean you’re miles away from The Splosh but still not quite graceful. Here’s what’s going on. You fire out your double-unders and disappear backwards or sidewards, propelling yourself around the gym like you’re pogo-ing around in the front few rows of a Stiff Little Fingers concert (maybe that reference is a bit old, but who the hell do people pogo to these days?). This stage is knackering and let’s be honest, you still don’t feel in control of your body do you? Add to this the welts you give yourself with the rope, I mean you look like you’ve just been taking part in some sort of sado-masochistic flagellation ritual! And it hurts! The most common error here is your hips when you’re jumping for your double. Your hips aren’t fully extended. You take on an almost piked position when you jump and when you’re in the air your hips are behind your feet. It’s still very likely that when you’re turning the rope your arms are still a bit to far away from your sides, but don’t worry, you’re nearly there.
4. Graceful (floating) Take flight. Effortless, continuous bouncing. No swearing. Symmetry. A perfect union of the physical and the mental. All you hear is the sound of the rope. There is a calmness. And you know what? It is the dog’s balls when you reach this stage. Talking of dogs I have another reference for you, have you ever seen a dog jumping up and down at the window in the back door because you’ve locked them out? It’s funny and weirdly it reminds me of this stage of the double-under haha!. Now you’re brain has made all the connections. The arms are straight and the wrists turn the rope. When you bounce your body is straight, the hips are fully extended and you stay in the same spot on the floor. There’s no bent knees or creasing at the hip. You can even look around the room when you’re doing them (extra points for being uber-flashy here). But beware! There is a fine line between Graceful and the Mosh-Pit. Tiredness and frustration become best buddies here to cast you from your floaty pedestal. When you tire you’re likely to trip up in the rope. A couple of little trips triggers frustration in the brain. When you let frustration in guess what happens? You start to regress and before you know it you’re that small kid jumping in puddles…
So there you have it. The lifespan of the double-under. I’ve been there, done it and live it. And rest assured that just when you reach Graceful some fucker will stand beside you and do triples.