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Double Under Evolution

By admin | In Uncategorized | on April 5, 2011

Coach Helzy of The Unit (formerly CrossFit Northern Ireland) recently posted a terrific article about the evolution of the double under.  Not only does it describe the progression to a T, it also offers great tips for attaining the ever elusive graceful dub.  I’m posting a condensed version of Helzy’s post.  Check out the full post here!

1. The Splosh (or the small child jumping in puddles stage). You skip and skip and skip merrily with singles…and when you go for the double you jump really high and land ‘SPLOSH!’  Hmmm, the rope seems to have stopped turning and you’re standing with both feet flat on the ground. Most people find themselves flailing around in this stage disheartened and frustrated. Don’t feel down, there is a fix for this! 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!

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??  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.  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.  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.   This stage is knackering and let’s be honest, you still don’t feel in control of your body do you?  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.  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.  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.

Thanks Helzy for the hysterical and yet incredibly informative post!  (That and the lesson in Irish slang!)  Take a look at the gallery above and see if you can spot some of these “evolutions” in the pics!

Special thanks to Michelle & Tyler for sploshing, tantrum-ing, and moshing (posing) for pics yesterday!

WOD 04.05.11

Double Under Skills (big surprise)



4 Rounds:

  • 5 Handstand Push Ups
  • 5 Toes Through Rings

5 Rounds:

  • 5 Ring Dips
  • 10 Double Unders

6 Rounds:

  • 5 Push Ups
  • 10 Sit Ups

6 Comments to "Double Under Evolution"

  • Anna says:

    April 5, 2011 at 7:19 AM -

    It is depressing to think that I’ve been doing this stuff for over 2 years and am somewhere between the temper-tantrum and the mosh pit.

    Yay HSPU!

  • Nik Werre says:

    April 5, 2011 at 7:50 AM -

    Are these done for time? rest between couplets? Good skill practice for me!

    Also, NOT (or probably not) WFS – as most Onion network stuff isn’t. but wanted to share ’cause it’s funny and in the spirit of our primal challenge applicable.



    1. ruth says:

      April 5, 2011 at 8:44 AM -

      @Nik, for time, no rest!

  • Becky says:

    April 5, 2011 at 9:07 AM -

    Love this post. will be re-reading it during my evolution of learning these bad boys. I am almost there!! I love Holley’s pic!! You are so bad ass lady!!

    1. Marcus says:

      April 5, 2011 at 9:28 AM -

      Helzy forgot a stage. In fact, it’s the one I’m still stuck at:

      0. The Red-Headed Stepchild Much like your new daddy with his belt, the rope leaves red welts across your legs as a token of its affection. You flail about, attempting to jump in puddles but knowing punishment is waiting for getting your school clothes dirty. Perhaps one day, child services will rescue you from this purgatory… or you could just toss the rope aside in frustration and go lift some heavy shit.

  • melissa says:

    April 5, 2011 at 3:07 PM -

    @anna – if it helps: according to my picture, i can’t even get off the ground into the splosh category. :)

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