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Influence of Proper Hand Position in Double Unders

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The Double Under is perhaps one of the most basic, yet most elusive, skills performed regularly in CrossFit.  It requires very little equipment, you don’t need to be particularly strong, and it doesn’t take years to master complex motor patterns.   It does, however, require a jump rope, proper timing, some positioning, and the ability to jump.  On paper, that looks really basic.  So, why are double unders so incredibly hard.

The primary reason we find that double unders are so hard is because of positioning.  For proper positioning, we mean the ability to keep our hands and arms in the correct place while spinning the rope.  While body positioning may make the movement more efficient, evening tuck jump double unders with proper arm position are achievable on a consistent basis.

We see two primary faults in arm position:  pulling hands behind the hips, and raising the arms to the side.  Both positions shorten the length of the rope and cause the rope to hit our feet.  In this article, we are focusing primarily on pulling the hands behind the hips.  

This fault is seen generally on the second spin of the rope.  During the first spin, the hands are by the hips with a slight bend in the elbow.  The first spin is a success.  However, during the second spin, the athlete becomes impatient and tries to spin the rope faster, resulting in the hands moving behind the hips.  This brings the bottom of the rope closer to the feet increasing the likelihood of hitting the feet.  We can see this moving hand position in this video:

The better position is to leave the hands in front of the hips during the second spin.  The first spin is easily achieved like any single under.  If that same position can be duplicated for the second spin, the chances of completing the double under increase dramatically.  In the second video, we see consistent double unders with the hands in a more static position.  The second spin starts with the hands in front of the hips.

With proper arm positioning, and one double under, consecutive double unders are simply a product of practice and timing. Efficiency in double unders is easier to master once the arms are locked in a good solid position.

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