Oh my gosh! Internet! I did something incredible! I signed up for Twitter! Follow me, yes?
Other than being quite possibly the last person on earth to join Twitter, I want to talk to you about jump ropes. Yes, those things we used as children in PE class. Turns out they’re still fun as an adult, and they can provide a crazy hard workout that will leave your shoulders on fire and your lungs burning and begging you to stop. Why yes! I am talking about double unders!
If you’re at all familiar with Crossfit, you’ve probably heard of double unders. If you haven’t, double unders involve jumping rope, except for each jump, the rope passes under your feet twice. They are tough to learn, as you need to be quick, but getting the timing down is probably the most important thing. I remember when I first started Crossfit, double unders seemed like an advanced skill that I would probably never get, and didn’t think much about it. I used the ropes that my gym provided and did singles at the required tripled rep amount – the incentive to learn double unders there is to triple the amount of doubles for singles. So, if the workout asks for 50 double unders, you’re doing 150 singles if you don’t have them yet. This is time consuming as hell, and pretty boring.
I struggled from about November to May with what seemed to be thousands upon thousands of single reps. A number of people in my gym had their own jump ropes that looked incredibly fancy pants, so out of curiosity I asked someone about them and how much they cost. When he told me he paid $55 for his I rolled my eyes and said I would never pay that much for a jump rope, thank you very much, and continued to use the cheap ropes and do singles.
When my gym attended the NorCal Regionals in May 2014, RX Smart Gear was one of the vendors there. They make custom jump ropes, and after some encouraging from my coaches, I tried one out at the event – I couldn’t believe the difference, and how much smoother the rope felt. I even managed to string about 10 or so together there! I ended up purchasing one, and it was absolutely worth the money. The ropes are custom made to your height and your current double undering (totally a word, shhh) ability, and they have different weights for the cables. This is key, as you want to start out with a slightly heavier cable so you can feel where the rope is and get your timing down. Once I was able to string together 15-20 reps with the heavier cable, I was eventually able to move up to the lighter cables as I improved how many I could do. Recently, I hit 65 in a row with the lightest weight cable from RX Smart Gear – without a doubt, that rope was key to helping me get my double unders and helped with my efficiency. RX Smart Gear is also great because they have a fantastic staff who are enthusiastic about helping you figure out your perfect rope, AND YOU CAN CUSTOMIZE THEM! From the handles to the rope, there are tons of colors (and even patterns for the handles) that you can mix and match. The handles make an enormous difference, and the cables are super easy to switch out when you need to replace them.
When I was down at the CrossFit Games this year, I knew I wanted to check out RPM Fitness jump ropes as well. My current cable on my RX Smart Gear rope was pretty done, and my coaches both have the RPM ropes and love them. I would not recommend these for people who are just learning double unders, as the cable is extremely light (it’s really just a wire) and hurts like a bitch if you whip yourself – and yes, I did whip myself. Spicy. But, if you’re proficient at double unders and are looking to get faster, these are a fantastic option. At the tent, I was able to bang out 30 with ease and was pretty much immediately hooked. These are also customizable, and you can even engrave the handles if you want. They are around the same price as the RX Smart Gear ropes (around $50).
On Tuesday, we did the workout Annie at my gym for our WOD. For anyone unfamiliar, this workout is 50-40-30-20-10 of double unders and sit ups. I PR’ed my time by 42 seconds with the RPM rope, leaving me with a 6:13 Annie time. Considering I could barely string 15 double unders together last year at this time, that’s pretty significant! I’m quite happy with my RPM rope, but still love my RX Smart Gear rope as well and will always keep it in my gym bag.
Overall thoughts: buying a rope that is custom made for your height and skill is 100% worth it. Seriously. If you are on the fence at all, I cannot recommend purchasing a rope from RX Smart Gear enough. Start off the the ones from RX, and then do the above mentioned workout, Annie, a lot. Amazingly enough, you don’t get better at something by not practicing – I try to do Annie 2-3 times a week as a supplemental workout, as it’s not terribly taxing, and it’s a great way to practice. With my doing this workout as often as I mentioned, I have gotten pretty darn good at double unders. Once you can string about 40-50 together, I would then recommend graduating to an RPM rope – these are lighter and faster and require a bit more skill, but you will absolutely fly with this rope.
Me being a goober at the Games with my new RPM tank – buy it here! You’ll love the back 🙂