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.
Whose fault is it that your health and fitness is crap?
Does it really matter?
If you listen to most advertising by anyone trying to sell you anything related to improving fat loss, muscle, fitness or energy then they generally offer you quick solutions with no hard work. "You are the last person who should be blamed for your current state! We don't want you feeling bad about it, we just want you to buy our magic stuff!"
The reality is, once we can start taking complete ownership of our problems, we stop making excuses about why we have them.
Sounds harsh, but we want to help you get real results.
We don't want you feeling bad about it either, we want our clients feeling empowered. Empowered to the point where you do not need to rely on quick fixes, dodgy organisations, special brands of food or even us to reach and maintain optimal fitness and health levels.
So is it the fault of your cortisol levels, dodgy thyroid, addictive food or our modern diet and lifestyles? They may, in fact, all have a role to play, but can we do anything about them which does not involve buying a pill or product?
Yes we can, we can own these problems and take control.
Obstacles exist, sweating, time, injuries, money but you have two choices, either you continue to make excuses for ill health and fitness, or you own it and make it better. Because your health is the most important thing you have, without it you are screwed and your life is going to suck.
You can transform your life.
Whether or not you are willing to accept it or not you actually have all the tools you need to transform your life. At Witterings Fitness we believe there are 5 areas that we can have complete control over and can not blame external circumstances as to why they are not working for us. Again this sounds harsh, it took me some time to admit this for myself, but once I did I made a massive change.
1. Mindset. Read, listen and watch as much as you can about creating a growth mindset, understand where you are now and how a growth mindset is the number one thing you need to be successful. Do not underestimate this, it underpins everything and it is the first thing we focus on with our clients at Witterings Fitness. If you want to understand more about this then keep an eye out for our 'Mindset Mastery Guide' coming out soon.
2. Training. You can train wherever you are whoever you are, whenever you want. There is no excuse to sit on your arse all day and do nothing. Unless you have some kind of paralysis or significant injury. At the very least, you should be able to get out for a walk if you can not walk then lift some weights, stretch. You can do something to move your body. It does not matter, try to pick something you enjoy and if you do not have a clue what you are doing, come to Witterings Fitness or check our YouTube channel out and learn. Seek expert guidance if you are planning on getting into serious exercise for the first time to avoid injuries down the line.
3. Nutrition. Again you can decide what you put into your mouth, forget feeling embarrassed because you decided to look after and nourish your body. You can choose what you eat when and how much. Prepare and plan what you are going to eat and when so you don't get caught out. That includes those with eating disorders, however, you guys need to focus on the mindset piece a lot more. Shit happens and sometimes you want chocolate, have the bloody chocolate (swap it for 70% dark though. Remember what you do most of the time is what counts the most. Eat real food mindfully.
4. Recovery. Guess what as you start training you might get some muscle soreness. You will need to make time to recovery. Foam roll, stretch take saunas eat well and sleep. If you are feeling super sore after training then you are not making time to recover and you will pick up an injury. No excuses - make 10 mins a day for recovery, we can all manage that. I could write endlessly about this, but check out our YouTube channel where we will talk most about this.
5. Sleep. Do not underestimate the power of sleep. 95% of your recovery happens in deep sleep. So if you are getting no deep sleep then you are going to have low energy and will be sore. If you get no REM, then your mind will be all over the place. Failure to reach quality sleep leaves you open to chronic fatigue, illness and sore muscles! Getting enough deep sleep is worth about 10 expressos and a does of steroids! You actually release HGH, Human growth hormones during your sleep which help you build and recover, this is also the sort of thing the Russian liked to inject into their athletes! Get yourself a bedtime routine, change the sheets spray some fancy oils, get the phone out of the bedroom, take a cold shower, ditch the coffee cycle there are hundreds of things you can try. When you figure out what works for you stick with it and prioritise your sleep above staying up watching some shit on TV!
If you use these points I guarantee that you can seriously change your life, getting a coach can really help you plan and implement some of these ideas and help you realise if you have a fixed mindset or are just making shitty excuses!
Please do not go budget on your fitness class/coaching, joining a 30+ person fitness class or super cheap gym might seem good in the short term. But if you have never done fitness before you could seriously be worse than doing nothing. The chance of you getting injured and hating exercise is high, this is both bad for your health but also your wallet. It is like spending £5 on a crap watch that breaks every year, or buy a watch for £50 quid that lasts a lifetime. Buy cheap buy twice (or more!).
At Witterings Fitness we have been lucky enough to helped hundreds of clients improve their health and fitness, and I am writing this honestly, at the end of our first year of business! We are not stopping there we want to help the Witterings become the healthiest place to live in the UK. We all love the Witterings and want to live and move well enough to enjoy it for the long term!
If you want to help us on our mission please feel free to get in touch or tag someone who could do with a hand in this post. We are also moving our programme online so if you are not in the Witterings then keep an eye out for our online training programmes.
Thanks for reading
Coach Ben Price
Exercise on food packaging?? What are your thoughts?
The BBC reported that researchers have suggested putting the amount of exercise you need to do to 'burn off' certain foods on the labels!
This may put things into some context for some people, it is my opinion that this is just as likely backfire and create more issues around eating!
Calculating how much exercise you need to do to 'burn off' a mince pie, for example, is a very difficult thing to calculate. It is not as simple as calories in calories out. There is your individual BMR, that is the basal metabolic rate, i.e how many calories you burn at rest, this varies on age, gender and size. Then there is the type of job you have, if you are sitting at a desk all day, you burn fewer calories than someone who has an active job. Blah blah blah.
But more pressing is the increasing levels of people living with food-related anxiety in our communities, in West Sussex, we have the highest cases of eating disorders in the country! So perhaps this is not a great idea?
I believe that it is far healthier to inspire someone to change, rather than creating change through fear. Research actually shows that those who change entirely through fear make no difference to their long term health anyway! So let us save some more mental health issues and not add exercise requirements to our food labelling!