A Double-Under is when the jump rope passes under your feet twice between the time it takes for your toes to hit the ground when skipping and is a skill highly sought after yet elusive for many. However, you’d be surprised by how quickly you could master the exercise by setting aside perhaps just 5 minutes each day to practice it.
Preparation & Warmup
We want to ensure both your jump rope and body are nicely set up for skipping.
Set your rope right
The two rope handles should be nipple/chest height when standing on the rope with one foot. (depending on where your nipples are)
There are ropes of varying materials and diameters which affect the weight and speed of the rope to challenge the athlete in different ways but a speed rope is what we’re after here. We use metal speed ropes with metal handles that do not break when stepped on which are ideal for training.
The Leaning Process
You’re warmed up and ready to practice so what’s next?
We suggest the following process:
The movement is more of a bounce (using the elasticity of the achilles), rather than individual jumps strung together. Your toes are 'slapping' the floor and your legs are pretty much straight throughout without too much knee flexion (bending).
You need only jump high enough to allow the rope pass under your feet so conserve your energy when there’s no need for huge jumps here.
This is an exercise that is going to challenge your cardiovascular so learn to jump efficiently!
Imagine making circles - the quickest rotation you can make is at your wrist, not the elbow or the shoulder and we want the movement to be as energy and time efficient as possible in order to sustain our energy and also get the rope round quickly enough before our toes land again.
Therefore, your arms are locked out at the elbows, with your hands slightly in front of your hips and the wrists perform a ‘whipping’ motion as they rotate.
Your core is tight and your gaze ahead with your shoulders once again… pinned back and down in your pockets!
Set aside 5 minutes every day to practice your skipping & notice how much you improve in a week.
How many can you do in 1 minute?
Many of the principles covered in THE SQUAT also apply to the deadlift such as the breathing, bracing and maintaining a neutral spine.
However, there are some key differences between the movements. Both are valuable exercises to incorporate into your training programme to improve your overall strength and conditioning.
Please make sure you are familiar with the squat before moving onto learning the deadlift and recognise the differences between the two movements, to read our blog on the squat click here.
Deadlift = HIP DOMINANT
Squat = KNEE/ANKLE Dominant
WITH WEIGHT AND A BAR
Ok! Now you have good flexibility and are able to maintain a neutral spine, we can start adding a bit of weight to the bar!
Start with just a Barbell and if you have them, add some light training weights so that the bar is off the ground slightly, this will allow you to practice as if the bar was at the height it will be at with heavier weights.
If your flexibility still needs work, then you can make the bar higher by using some blocks or other weights to raise the floor higher. You should raise the floor as high as you need to be able to maintain that neutral spine position.
When returning to the starting position:
In the gym, aside from being a repeat offender in many of our workouts, we use it as a movement diagnostic tool. As mentioned, it is a natural movement that we should not take for granted because it is intrinsic to everyday good movement & mobility but by assessing how someone squats, we can often identify sources of discomfort in someone’s body and advise how they should train to overcome these.
However advanced you are in your training, don’t let your ego get in the way and take a moment to review your technique. It’s amazing how easy it is to pick up bad habits along the way especially when surrounded by gym mirrors or building up the weight. It will save you a lot of time and potential pain in the long run!
PREPARATION FOR THE SQUAT
There are tools we can use to help us.
1. A box to assist with gauging range of movement & build confidence
2. Rings to provide further support when practicing the technique without a weight.
There are 3 main rules to remember here. However long you’ve been training, everytime you set yourself up under the bar ready to go, just take a second to check these off in your head:
The three points of contact with the ground which should be maintained throughout: heel, little toe & big toe. (see images below)
Maintain your foot’s natural arch when squatting to avoid valgus knees (knees rolling inward).
Screw your feet into the ground, tearing the ground apart with your toes
THE BRACE & MASTERING YOUR BREATH
Bracing provides a neutral (and safer) spine and will improve your strength capacity by building pressure in the torso and giving your body stability when squatting. Bracing involves exploiting the power of breath control to further engage your core and increase intra-abdominal pressure. This is known as the Valsalva Maneuver. A word of caution: this force can also raise your blood pressure and be dangerous for those with any kind of heart defect or high blood pressure.
How to practice Bracing:
(Try lying on the floor if it's easier)
THE NEUTRAL SPINE
Most of us first encounter the squat as an exercise in the gym surrounded by mirrors supposedly there to help us to analyse and perfect our own form. Ironically, these mirrors are actually one of the main culprits for so many peoples’ poor form and neck injuries. It forces you to misalign your spine as you tilt your neck back to see your own reflection.
Poor spinal position will affect strength, flexibility & your safety when squatting.
Change this one habit and you’ll be shocked by how much both your mobility and strength instantly improve
Establishing a neutral spine
Rest a 'thumbs up' between your chest and chin and ensure your chin does not lift off this when practising an air squat. Your gaze will naturally be lower than you’ve been accustomed to
Thanks for reading, please comment below with any questions.
Watch our mini series on the squat and deadlift technique here.