Two Stories About Double Unders

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Once upon a time, there were two newbie CrossFiters””let’s call them “Mal” and “Tina.” They had never done CrossFit before, so, not surprisingly, there were a bunch of skills in the CrossFit repertoire in which they wanted to become proficient. One of those skills, in particular, was Double Unders (jumping rope when you pass the rope twice under your feet), but Mal and Tina approached mastering this in very different ways.

When Mal realized he couldn’t do Double Unders, the challenge immediately motivated him to learn how. During a WOD, he struggled so much with Double Unders, he went home that very same night, ordered his own jump rope online, and then practiced Double Unders non-stop, day and night, and watched YouTube tutorials until he could do twenty in a row. It was a tad obsessive, but Mal eventually achieved his goal (in a matter of days) and now he can do Double Unders in his sleep.

Tina, on the other hand, did not take this same approach to mastering Double Unders. After a number of attempts to get the hang of them, she got frustrated, gave up, and called them “stupid.” She didn’t care when or if she learned how to do them. But, deep down, Tina wanted to learn how to do Double Unders, but trying over and over again and not succeeding really discouraged her, so months and months passed and she barely made any effort to learn how to do them.

A few weeks ago, Mal and Tina’s CrossFit box spent a portion of a class working on how to do Double Unders. Since the coaches were devoting time to this skill, Tina figured she’d give it her best effort and try to learn (and, ok, lose her bad attitude toward them). The coaches went through various Double Under progressions, and slowly, but surely, Tina mastered each one of them. When it came time to put it all together and try some Double Unders, Tina, to her surprise, did a bunch in a row. It was finally starting to click! (FYI: The combination of simply relaxing and jumping at the same even pace eventually made it click.) 

The moral of the story is you can choose how to approach challenges in life. You can either embrace challenges and work to overcome them or you can let them discourage and prevent you from making any gains. It’s your choice, but I now know which one I produces the best results.

With that said, guess who did her first WOD with real, live Double Unders in it? THIS GIRL!!! We did the Filthy Fifty last night, and I finished strong with 50 Double Unders””one string was 15 in a row!

Filthy Fifty

Another cool thing about this workout is that I improved a bunch since the last time I did it in January. My original time was 27:55, using 10 pounds for Wall Balls and doing single jumps. Last night, I finished the WOD in 23:35, using 14 pounds for the Wall Balls and doing Double Unders. Woohoo! Progress! (I don’t know why my notebook says 45 pounds for the Push Press. I’m almost positive it’s a mistake. I did the prescribed weight of 25 pounds last night.)

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Dinner

After CrossFit, I came home and threw together a salad and topped it with a bunch of leftovers. In the mix: salad greens, chicken salad, truffle oil, and mac & cheese leftovers from Mal’s birthday dinner at the Fat Cat.

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For dessert, I ate three White Chocolate, Cranberry, Oatmeal Cookies. Soooo delicious! (Mal kindly shared his present with me!)

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Breakfast

This morning, I was all about the waffles (with peanut butter and banana slices). I’ve eaten this breakfast a ton lately, but I just can’t get enough of it.

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Question of the Day

How do you deal with challenges? Do they generally discourage or motivate you?

P.S. If my Reach the Beach recaps didn’t inspire you to sign up for a relay, this video from Sarah definitely will!

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70 Comments

  1. it’s so funny because i couldn’t do much more than 3 doucle unders ans i spend ly time at gym to try agian again and again 😉

  2. How long did it take you to understand the language used in Cross Fit?? When I see your posts on Cross Fit that show the board or a notebook with all these notes, it looks like complete gibberish to me! I don’t get it!

  3. Challenges are what you make of it. I like to look at challenges as a way to shine, and better myself but when I continuously fail at something it frustrates me and causes me to want to quit or stop trying.

    Through different situations in my life I’ve been discouraged more times than I can count, and as bad as I’ve wanted to, I’ve never given up. And after failing over and over again, when I finally master or accomplish my goal there’s NO greater feeling. Seriously, it’s such a high to work on something so hard. When you finally achieve what you’ve been putting your heart, soul, and effort into, there’s no better feeling.

    Moral of the story: give it everything you’ve got. If you still fail, DON’T STOP. You’ll get it one day and the feeling you have when you achieve your goal is irreplaceable.

  4. Speaking of gibberish I definitely just had to google what double unders are! Congrats on reaching your goals best feeling ever! I recently got a personal trainer for my wedding and when she showed me basic things during a core workout I could not do I was livid. I had a combined “Tina/Mal” approach where I said it was stupid but definitely worked after my sessions to master it and impress both myself and my trainer!

  5. Feel your pain, double unders have been, an continued to be, my arch nemesis. First, it took me forever to get the rhythm right. Now that I have that, I’ve discovered that when large numbers together (40+) I run the risk of getting crushing exertion headaches. Along with your reminders to stay relaxed and jump with pace (those were my keys, too), I’d also add a 3rd: remember to keep breathing…

  6. So do tell the secret behind double unders…Do u use a wire type rope? I be this would hurt if u whipped yourself with it!!!

  7. Nice improvement!! I’ve actually JUST started CrossFit, having completed On Ramp and 2 regular classes. The WOD at our box today includes 3 rounds of 50 Double Unders and it scares the crap out of me. I know they can be scaled but I’ve always been horrible at jumping rope. Unfortunately I can’t make it to class today but dreading the day I see them on another WOD!

  8. Challenges usually motivate me – not as much as Mal. Whoa! But somewhere in between the “Mal” and “Tina” approach.

    I’m very impressed with double unders! I can barely jump rope so this would really be a challenge!

  9. Usually I try to face challenges head on but when I have too much going on in my life, it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed, anxious, and give up. Way to get those Double unders!!!

    I think I’m trying Cross Fit (finally) next Monday…super excited!

  10. Motivate me for sure. I always like a challenge and find myself bored if I am not working on something all the time. Kinda a annoying habit but good too. I am trying crossfit next week for the first time, kinda nervous!!

  11. I tend to get discouraged, then jealous of my friends who can do what I can’t (or who are doing it better, faster, etc) then I dial back, start slower, and just keep plugging away. This is how my learning to run is going. It’s how learning forearm balance and handstand in yoga went. It’s actually pretty predictable at this point. And usually involves at least some tears, which come right before I recommit to slow and steady progress.

  12. Challenges usually motivate me, but I always have had a hard time REALLY pushing myself. I think I underestimate my true potential a lot of times. Also – I’ve been having waffles with pb/banana for days now. So yummy!

  13. Hi Tina!

    You might remember me as the writing coach who read your blog when you were finishing your book!? Now, I must tell you that because of you I joined Somerville Crossfit 2 months ago, and I really have been loving it. AND I am now determined to learn double unders, (which I’d decided I’d never be able to do), because of you. So thank you! You are an inspiration to me and because of you I now smile to myself and think “I can do anything. I deadlifted 145 pounds on my first try.”

    Thank you for being here several times a day! You’ve changed me!
    Dawn

  14. When it comes to fitness challenges, I have to admit I don’t always rise to them! I’m all about pushing myself when I work out but if there’s something I really can’t do, I usually do a modified baby version. I should probably take this post as inspiration to change that ;).

  15. Great job, Tina! Double unders are some of my faves, but it definitely took a lot of practice. One of my friends at my box made me stay 5-10 minutes after class almost everyday to practice and it really paid off! Great job on mastering DUs and also for your great PR on the Filthy Fifty! Awesome!

  16. I love this post.. challenges are absolutely what you make of them. I’m really stubborn and usually will not rest until I’ve mastered something or done whatever it is I’ve set my mind to.. I guess I’d be Mal in that story you shared haha.

  17. I love this!! I totally agree that it is ALL about how we approach a challenge or obstacle….and when I see it as something that can help me learn, grow, and be better, it turns out to be an awesome thing 🙂 All about attitude, not really about what it actually is!

    Way to go, Tina!

  18. Last night I signed up for 6 months of CrossFit. Tina, you were 80% of my inspiration. I hope I see improvements like you do and I can’t wait until I understand all the jargon and can do all the exercises!

  19. I was just practicing my double unders last night! I got so SO frustrated with them, just like you, but finally got a few in a row! I know it’s going to take a lot of practice but I’ll get them 🙂

  20. I attempted to complete my double unders today but…I had to do single, double, single, double, etc. My total for in a row is 2 🙂 But I will take some inspiration from this post and keep trying!

  21. Tina, I feel ya girl! I took the same approach as you did when learning double unders, and just got frustrated and gave up trying to master them (for over a year!). It wasn’t until earlier this year that I decided I had to learn them once and for all. I struggled to finish WODs with double unders, but was so proud of myself for not giving up and doing singles. I’m still pretty slow, but I can tell I’m getting better little by little and the most in a row I’ve done is 33!

    I know lots of people at my box still struggle with double unders. If you don’t mind sharing, what were some of the progressions you learned? I’m sure it would help lots of people out there!

  22. haha! how interesting that you bring this up on today’s post! Because the gym near my house just got a TRX station and I’d never tried it before! It’s pretty much empty right now since it’s still somewhat of a new system, and to top it off, it’s RIGHT IN THE FRONT AREA OF THE GYM where everybody running can look at you. It’s kind of awkward actually! 😛 But I wanted to try it so bad so I did yesterday, and I loved the challenge! I think it’s really about perspective because even if you look funny or fail, as long as you don’t care what others think, it doesn’t matter. It can actually be fun.

  23. I’ve been trying to do double unders for weeks now, and after failing miserably today I’m seriously contemplating buying my own rope to practice at home like Mal did! Loved your stories and am inspired- can’t wait for the day when I can do 15 in a row 😉

  24. Awesome job mastering double unders! I find that a lot of times if I’m having a hard time I’ll eventually just get frustrated & give up. But I’m learning that doing things that you find difficult actually make you feel so much better than doing things that come easily.

  25. I am so happy you wrote this post because last week – after doing CrossFit for roughly 6 months – I finally figured out how to do double unders! My two CrossFit achievements thus far have been finally doing a box jump on a real box (not a pile of weights) and double unders! It really feels great once you’ve accomplished something that you didn’t think your body was capable of doing. I would watch people do box jumps and just think, there is no way I can get this body up high enough and fast enough to land my feet on the box. One day I just felt as though all of the sudden I could do it and so I tried and I think I did like 80 box jumps that WOD! My next goal is doing a pull-up without jumping or bands. That might take a while though…

  26. Amazing. I did crossfit for about 3 weeks before I got injured. I could never do double unders (on any type of hand/wall stand for that matter), I decided they were stupid too, but secretly really wanted to learn. Amazing job!
    What’s the trick?

  27. Thanks for this post, Tina!

    Coincidentally, I read it right before going to CrossFit for a Hero WOD that involves a lot of box jumps (Klepto).

    I’ve been afraid of box jumps after bruising up my shins very nicely a few months back and have since scaled back to step-ups. Today I was determined – and got through the WOD without scaling.

    It took me long enough, but I’ve realized that the best way to get better at box jumps or double unders or burpees or whatever it may be is to DO THEM.

    Keep rocking it out 🙂

  28. Tina,
    I just wanted to comment that I just finished reading your book today! It was so refreshing to read your story and to know that even though I may view you as a ‘perfect’ food blogger and athlete, you truly are human just like me! LOL I too am not safe around a box of cereal. (What is it about the crunchiness anyway?) I appreciate your honesty and your openness.

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