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How to Master the Double Under

This high-intensity CrossFit staple is a twofer of conditioning and fat burning.

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  • 15 min

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Jump Rope
Jump Rope

Jumping rope as it’s typically done (aka “single unders”) is a moderate-intensity form of cardio that you could probably do continuously for a few minutes if you really wanted to. Double unders, on the other hand, are decidedly high-intensity and about the closest thing you can get to an all-out running sprint without having to travel forward. If you hate jumping rope, you’ll doubly hate double unders. The suck factor, however, is directly proportional to the benefits offered.

“Double unders are a great tool to improve coordination and speed,” says Bill Shiffler, C.S.C.S., CF-L1, owner of CrossFit Renaissance in Philadelphia (renaissancephysique.net). “Once you’ve mastered the skill element, they also serve as a phenomenal conditioning and HIIT exercise because of the higher power output of the movement compared with single unders.”

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You don’t have to be a gifted athlete to do double unders—just an ambitious one who seeks the highest intensity level possible to maximize calorie and fat burning. Before you jump headfirst into double unders, heed these tips.

How to: Double Unders

  • First, measure your rope. Put the rope under one foot and raise both handles. They should stop right at your armpits.
  • “Glue” your elbows to your sides. Practice this first with single unders.
  • Jump with an upright torso. Stay as tall as possible, bound off your toes using your calves, and keep your toes in front of your body.
  • Turn the rope by rotating only at the wrists (not the elbows or shoulders). Again, you can practice this by doing single unders.
  • To go from single unders to double unders, jump higher and rotate your wrists faster.


  • Perform 3–5 rounds.
  • Perform this workout either after lifting weights or by itself on a cardio day.
  • Choose rounds and reps based on your current fitness level.

Did you know: Jumping rope burns more than 10 calories per minute.


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