30 Day Challenge: Double Unders – A review

Approximately 30 days ago (no shit Sherlock), CrossFit London SE11 launched 5 challenges: 30 days to improve on . The options where Squat (led by Rachel), Thoracic mobility (by Chris), Ring Dip (by Carolyn), Handstand (by Kat) and Double Unders (by Colin).

My squats are pretty good and so are my ring dips. Thoracic mobility could always improve and so are my handstands (especially free standing ones), but I really suck at double unders so I signed up under Colin’s group and got to work. We started on singles which was great as I had a chance to feel what my body was doing and improve on my body positioning. My single unders improved massively as I was able to string more than 100 after the first week.

We then moved on to the power jump, still doing singles, to get a feel of how high you need to jump.
Once we’ve settled with that movement it was time to attempt doing a double under on the power jump. The key was to do ‘single-single-double’. I noticed that while I couldn’t go on with this pattern forever (I trip up before getting 10 doubles), all the effort on doing singles allowed me to reduce the variables and determine where I could be doing wrong. With the help of Magnus’ post, the emails from the support group and a face to face discussion and some rope fun with the gang, I was able to manage 20+ consecutive double unders! Hooray!

Apparently its all just about jumping and spinning the rope twice under the feet! Who knew?

Key points that worked for me:
1. Relax – especially the shoulders, knees and ankles. You need to be able to bounce like a spring.

2. Wrist movement – Biggest thing for me, after some thought and watching other people do doubles, I realized I was spinning my wrist in an arc rather than moving it in a line fast (a flick basically). It didn’t matter whether it was a vertical flick, horizontal flick or a weird figure-of-8. Minimizing the time to generate the force to whip the rope around seems to be the common theme there.

3. Slow the fuck down – contrary to the nature of double unders (quick rope speed) the slow power jump is essential to get enough clearance and time for the rope to go around twice. Intentional powerful jumps provide adequate time for your double under business.

Putting it all together requires a bit of imagination which worked with quite a few of the folks. To each their own, but my imagery is that of Tigger with his ‘boing… boing… boing’. In my head, I think ‘boing…flick-flick…boing…flick-flick…boing…flick-flick…’.

I have yet to test it out again and see how far I can go, but the last 30 days have been quite an eye opener. As Colin said, double unders are quite difficult to teach and I would agree. There is no one template that will magically give you this particular skill. But rather some practice plus a few tips here and there in a progressive manner does get you there.

Games standard

WOD
Games Open 13.3
12 minute AMRAP
150 Wall balls 10kg
90 double unders
30 Muscle Up

I was quite looking forward to this, but that may have been a mistake on my part. Based on my numbers I should be able to squeak by the 120 wall balls and at least attempt the double unders. I ended up doing less reps compared to last year, where I think I was able to do 120-something wall balls. There are a few things that might have attributed to this:

1. Stress – finally figured out what has been holding me back in recent performances. Work is getting a bit hectic and I with the upcoming moving flats plus a 3 week business trip I just had too much on my mind. I always fail to consider this as a factor, but reality is that this is a key to any physical endeavor.

2. Too many variables – Having bought a new pair of Reebok CrossFit Oly shoes, this was the first time I’ve ever used them in anger. The result was me not used to the mechanics of having a raised heel, which probably put me off a bit. Plus, I had to throw an extra 1 kg (which amounted to an unnecessary 113kgs of total effort) due to the limited number of 9kg wall balls. Not that it matters, at least I got a good workout out of it.

3. Games standards – I think most of us got hit with this one at some point. It was funny hearing the judges say ‘No Rep! I’m sorry!’. You know how painful those words are, especially if you’ve been ‘no repped’ as well. But we had to be strict, we had to know what is expected of us and that we had to deliver otherwise what’s the point? I’ve always loved the saying: If you have to do it, do it right.

As usual the gang at CrossFit London put in a great effort and we enjoyed cheering each other and gaining inspiration from those who did pretty well. Unfortunately, I will have to bring my cheering to a different box the next 2 WODs. But I am definitely looking forward to share a few pints after all this is over!

To Infinity and Beyond!

Strength
Strict Press max reps at 90% 1RM (45kgs with 3/4 reps)

Clean and Jerk 6-6-6-6 (50kgs?)

WOD
AMRAP 15 minutes
Squat clean 1,2,3,4,5,6…. to infinity
30 Double Unders

As mentioned yesterday, I was back for more training and it was a good one! My arms currently hurt like hell.

Felt pretty good on the strict press and hopefully I can improve on my 50kgs 1RM soon. Still have no idea on my max clean and jerk so I always hover on the 40-60kgs mark depending on the rep scheme. I didn’t want to go overboard on the strength session as we had squat cleans in order for the WOD. Which was enjoyable, if I can call it that. Double unders was still a bane for me, took an awful long time on the first few rounds but I was able to string a good few reps together towards the end of the session. I remember thinking ‘holy shit I might exceed 10 in one set!’, then got caught up on 9 reps… damn it! I just have to remember to breathe and swing the ropes really hard from the onset next time.

3, Possibly Even 4

I had an interesting conversation with Jody last week.  It went something like this:

Me: Hey Jody, when are we doing Crossfit Total again?
Jody:  How about Monday?
Me: Cool.

Okay, that’s not really verbatim, but it’s the general idea. The result?  Crossfit Total day today! (Yay!)

Strength:  “Crossfit Total”

3 attempts at 1RM for: squats, press, deadlifts  (70kg / 32.5 kg / 75 kg)

Met Con: 21-15-9

burpees
double unders

I missed the 6PM class so I had to take the next one.  I couldn’t skip class as I don’t think Jody would let me hear the end of it if I did — I asked for it, I got it.  I just didn’t expect it to be followed by a Met Con.

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Boracay Body Part 31: Final

Warm Up
Star Run

Skills
Kipping pull ups
Kipping handstand push ups

WOD
100 Double Under buy in
3 rounds
10 Strict pull ups
5 Snatch (35kgs, 25kgs)
100 Double Under buy out

Forced Socs into attending Tom’s class the night before we left for Manila and she was quite apprehensive, just because it was Tom’s class. I was a bit disappointed that there was no barbell gymnastic sessions, but was rewarded with the WOD… more on that later. Our skills session was quite good as it reinforced some of the techniques for kipping both the pull up and the handstand push up. Socs got some pretty encouraging words from Tom on both efforts and she is that much closer to getting her first pull up.

We spent 10 minutes warming up for the WOD, I tried out 40kgs but my shoulder/elbow issue prevented me from controlling the weight overhead. I resorted to doing 35kgs, which I knew I could do easy so I was a bit disappointed in that. Nonetheless I kept to the technique to make sure I got the most out of the workout. I also did all double under buy in and was able to string a good set of probably 10 double unders in a row! Unfortunately my elbow/shoulder prevented me from doing more than 1 or 2 pull ups a set on the last rounds and my double unders disappeared which meant I had to do singles and lateral jumps instead for the cash out.

Overall it was a great session with Socs finishing around 13 minutes and me 1m40s later. Now we’re looking forward to our holiday back in the islands.