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Why You Haven’t Mastered Double Unders Yet

“Why can’t you do double unders yet?”

“Have you not learned how to snatch yet??”

“No, we’re doing power snatch, not full snatch, and it’s from the hang, stupid”

Do you ever feel like your coach is talking to you like the piece of shit on their shoe?

I’m really sorry for anyone I’ve coached in the past on the floor of either CrossFit Cardiff, CrossFit Thames, TRAIN Manchester, or FORM Leeds (yes that’s my background), as I’ve definitely said one of the above and more in my sleep deprived, caffeine hyped up state

The thing is, as a coach back then, I just didn’t understand why these skills would elude people

To me, someone who has been athletic for most of his life (we’ll skip out the puppy fat primary school years here), I thought these moves just required practice

I couldn’t understand why people in the class just didn’t practice

I fully understand now

As a coach, I would practice the harder movements outside of class

Hell, it was part of my internship at Thames to learn all of the weightlifting progressions from Chad Vaughn and all of the gymnastic progressions from Carl Paoli so that I could teach them in a class and pass my coaching assessment

So I devoted a LOT of time to watching videos and practising these movements outside of class environments

For someone who’s only doing a 1-hour class 3-5x a week, you don’t get this time

And worse yet, you have to perform these new skills under immense fatigue

You have the fatigue from your work, as well as then being asked to pair kipping pull-ups, double unders, and power snatches into a 10-minute met-con

Of course, you’re going to forget everything

You can’t learn new skills under fatigue!

You need to be practising new movements when fresh, getting perfect reps in, then stopping when the movement goes to shit

Unfortunately, in CrossFit classes, we introduce a movement and then say go ahead do that in the WOD

We chat about scaling but please, who really wants to do that when they’re in a class with all their mates?

“Nah, you can pick this up, f*** it, just go Rx”

And this is the issue we then create

If you try to learn new skills under fatigue, your body will get tired and compensate

Soon enough you’re scaling anyway and moving pretty poorly

Now what you’re doing is teaching your body how to move like crap

That ain’t gonna help those double unders

The Issue With Group Classes

Ever done a met-con with kipping pull-ups in, to get one round through and then have to scale to ring-rows or jumping pull-ups

What about starting with a certain weight on a snatch before then having to bring it down?

If this is you, I implore you to start a met-con with what you’re regressing to

Learn movements without fatigue first, then when they become more autonomous can you add the fatigue

Unfortunately, a lot of us try to do this backwards

The Skill Acquisition Process

But if you’re still struggling with double unders, muscle ups, pull-ups, kipping anything, etc, then this is the process you must go through:

  • Learn skill with no fatigue
  • Build volume of that skill
  • Bring volume down and add a touch of fatigue
  • Build good reps with fatigue – stop when they go to shit
  • Rinse and repeat

Less sexy than doing them in a class, yes, but far more effective

You’ll actually learn the skill rather than being stuck at square one for years and years
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