I don't do CrossFit anymore, but I did spend nearly two years of my life going to the box religiously and busting my ass in every WOD (workout of the day). I learned a lot during my CrossFit years, and one of the exercises I still incorporate into my workouts today is the double under.
If you've never heard of double unders before, your cardio routine is about to be transformed. It's a jump rope movement in which you swing the rope under your feet not once but twice with each jump. It's pretty damn hard — and it will get your heart rate up within seconds.
I've done my fair share of jump rope workouts, but to be honest, none of them compare to a workout that includes double unders. Not only are you jumping quickly and strengthening your legs, but your arms are also working double time, so you'd be surprised at how sore — and, soon enough, toned — your shoulders and upper arms get.
Let's be real, though. It takes a bit of time to master the double under, and you can't get there without a good amount of practice. But the good news is, simply practicing double unders is a hell of a workout, because you're using your entire body from head to toe. Even your abs get switched on because you're bracing yourself every time you jump.
If you want to get good at double unders, here are a few tips I wish someone had told me before I got started:
- Invest in a good jump rope, like this RPM speed rope ($53); the cable is much lighter and easier to move.
- Let your wrists do most of the rotation so your arms don't tire out so quickly.
- Practice regular jump rope skips with one double under tossed in every now and then until you get used to the movement; try four single skips, followed by one double under, and gradually decrease the number of single skips as you progress.
- Practice plyometric jumps, like squat jumps and high-knee skips, without the rope to develop the strength and endurance in your lower body needed to do multiple double unders.
Whatever you do, stay patient. Even if you're not nailing 20 double unders in a row, you're still getting a killer workout. Trust me, the beads of sweat will start to form pretty quickly. Once you've got your double unders down, try the CrossFit WOD called Annie. It consists of nothing more than double unders and sit-ups. Your whole body will feel it the next day.