The humble jump rope game…an activity we all probably enjoyed as little kids and got really excited about once we started CrossFit! Little did we know that 500-repetition double under workouts are slightly more strenuous than a recess game of Double Dutch!
Love ’em or hate ’em, the double-under is definitely a foundational movement in CrossFit. They have been present in all of the CrossFit Opens, even serving as a substitute cardio “testing element” during the Covid years when not everyone had access to a Concept2 Rower.
Today, we’re going to cover the top double under CrossFit workouts, with some trending more towards the “hey, I just learned double-unders and am ready to show the world!” and others towards “…wait…how many hundred double-unders am I going to have to do??!!” Before we get there, though, let’s cover one of the most important topics related to the exercise…
Table of Contents
Sizing Your Jump Rope
One of the more confusing (and potentially contentious) topics in any type of jump roping activity is the length that the rope should be. An appropriately-sized work will greatly help when in the midst of something like the 500-rep double under workout.
Generally speaking, a longer rope is better for beginners as it provides a bit more “room for error.” In contrast, a shorter rope (preferred by advanced jumpers) can be spun faster and is less likely to make contact with the ground (allowing it to spin even faster). However, a shorter rope is always closer to the body, making it easier to miss a rep by hitting oneself.
Want a bit more clarification? Thankfully, the good people at rxsmartgear.com have an excellent tutorial on the topic (as well as some quality ropes in stock). Their sizing procedure:
- Step on the rope with one foot, bring your feet together and pull the rope tight.
- Bring the handles together and point the top towards your chest.
- Only check where the cable ends – do not include the handles with rope size.
- If you follow our length guidelines, the cable will stop at your sternum or lower pecs.
- The rope should not go higher than this point.
- Any longer than this will have too much rope over head and will slap the ground excessively.”
Clear enough? If not, they go even deeper into sizing in their video on the topic:
and now, without further ado…
The Top 14 Double Under Workouts
Equipment: Jump rope, Abmat
You knew Annie had to make this list. Possibly the most famous double-unders CrossFit workout, the combination of fast jumping and a hip flexor-less ab movement make for a surprisingly difficult combination.
The viability of a sub 6:00-minute Annie completion time has also come into question…so…don’t feel too bad if you’re “languishing” in “Advanced” territory.
Like any good workout with descending reps, after the first round, you’re already 1/3 finished!
…and they can’t take that away!
CrossFit Open Workout 17.5
Equipment: Barbell, bumper plates, jump rope
I mentioned my…humbling experience with 17.5 in our article on the best thruster workouts, so no need to re-hash my 30-plus minute finish time once again.
Moral of the story? If you really don’t “have” double-unders yet (you know if this is you), be prepared for a similar experience (and a lot of self-whipping!)
On the other end of the spectrum, if double-unders are no sweat for you and the thruster weight is just a little too light, feel free to take on the 2017 CrossFit Games version of this one:
Skip to the last few minutes to hear Kara Saunders‘ interview. She sounds, like, drunk from exhaustion of one of the hardest double under workouts or something!
Equipment: Jump rope
Do I really need to say anything about this one?
I mean…500 double-unders is…500 double-unders.
Now, If you’re good at double-unders, you may be able to get through these with only a few breaks. But even “beginners” are expected to average ~40 double-unders a minute.
Good luck, man…
2020 CrossFit Open Workout 2
Equipment: Dumbbells, pull-up bar/rack, jump rope
This one actually has something for everyone…to get annoyed with.
As someone who is admittedly not great at the double-unders CrossFit always prescribes in the Open, you can guess where my bottleneck was. Others get stuck on the toes-to-bar, while others hate dumbbell thrusters (definitely a different stimulus with dumbbells).
The real kicker with this one? It feels like it should only go for, like, 10…maybe 15 minutes. 20 minutes of this is…certainly a tough double-under WOD.
Equipment: Concept2 rower, jump rope, air runner
Triple 3 is both gruelling as well as being a lot of fun. While a big engine is necessary to do well on this one, your pacing strategy really has to be on point to make it through.
The irony? Once you’ve finished the 300 double-unders, you’re likely not even halfway done (taking into account the average paces for the row, double-unders, and run). That being said, please don’t sprint through the portion with the rope…please!
CrossFit Open Workout 22.3
Equipment: Pull-up bar/rack, jump rope, barbell, bumper plates
One of the more recent entries on the list of top double under workouts, I’m convinced that the double-under portion of this one was included solely to be annoying. I mean, relative to other movements, the relatively low-rep double-under sets probably weren’t messing with anyone who could actually do double-unders very much.
Take that as you will!
Equipment: Jump rope, barbell, bumper plates, Concept2 rower
Ebba…now we’re getting somewhere! A lot of work each round, plus moving directly from a long-ish row into double-unders in the second, third, and fourth rounds, makes this one hard. You’ll probably want to go for fast singles on the cleans, but you’ll get no reprieve on the shoulder-to-overheads (you pretty much have to limit your breaks on these).
Similar to the Triple 3…plan your pace wisely on this double under workout!
2021 CrossFit Open Workout 1
Equipment: Jump rope
Oh man…this was CrossFit’s answer to the Covid lockdowns.
“Yeah…we know a lot of people won’t have access to a rower…but everyone should have access to a jump rope and a wall…let’s just make them do 550 double-unders (and a bunch of wall walks…which had never been programmed in the Open before)!”
In the span of about 5 minutes, I went from being pretty excited about the Open to…over the Open.
(I even hated the announcement…Eramo and Pearce? Ugghh…)
However, for the lovers of all things “double under workouts” out there, this one’s for you!
Equipment: Jump rope
Just to clarify the rules for this one: each “set” (5 reps, 10 reps, etc.) must be completed unbroken before proceeding to the next (otherwise, it’s just the 500 Double unders workout). This adds so much tension to the WOD…especially as you get into those bigger sets.
To be honest, I’ve never been able to finish this one (I have always gotten time-capped in the particular setting I was in when attempting it). Unless you’re one of the Jump Rope Dudes, I suggest setting a time cap…just in case you lose your focus halfway through!
Equipment: Jump rope, kettlebell
Coincidence that we go from “Flight Simulator” to “Turbulence”?
I think not!
I actually think the “built-in” time cap (12 minutes) and the inclusion of kettlebell swings and handstand push-ups make this one a bit more tolerable than our previous entry. That being said, the same way I blow through handstand push-ups with ease and bottleneck on double-unders, I know there are plenty of people who are the exact opposite!
That being said, 5+ rounds is crazy! Truly elite if you can pull that off!
2014 CrossFit Open Workout 1
Equipment: Jump rope, barbell, bumper plates
We’re going waaaay back with this double under workout…back when CrossFit Open workouts were “simple” and straightforward.
Man…but with only 10 minutes to work, you had to go! The top 1 percent back then was getting through ~240 double-unders and Hero WOD Randy + ~45 reps in 10 minutes. I don’t even want to think about what the big dogs do this one in today!
Maybe it’s better that the Open workouts have gotten more complicated…us normal guys would feel too embarrassed compared to our elite peers, otherwise!
Equipment: Concept2 rower, jump rope, barbell, bumper plates
One of the all-time great CrossFit rowing WODs of all time, this double under workout seems innocuous enough…until you get to that barbell.
I use the gif too much, so I’m just going to write it out this time:
“Boy…that escalated quickly!”
I mean, nobody is really gonna lament a 500-meter row or 50 double-unders…but heavy clusters…ouch.
For those who need some tips on clustering in order to get through this one, we got you covered!
2015 CrossFit Open WOD 3
Equipment: Pull-up bar/rack, gymnastics rings, wall ball, jump rope
Another one of those old school CrossFit Open, double under workouts, this one requires endurance and skill. This is the day you get to determine whether you’re a more skilled muscle-up-per or double-under-er.
Some might argue this is more of…anything other than a double-under workout, but I would disagree. That many double-unders under heavy fatigue…try it and get back to me.
Equipment: Jump rope, GHD, barbell, bumper plates
We started with Annie, and we’re ending with…”Annie.” Granted, this version is a tad different than the earlier entry and, some might argue, just a little bit harder.
NOTE: One thing I forgot to mention…the rope is actually a heavy rope…just in case this one didn’t look like a worthy enough entry into the top double under workouts.
Point blank: you really have to be a CrossFit Games-level athlete to survive this one. There is absolutely no shame in scaling…I promise!
Between sizing your rope and giving you more than enough CrossFit double under workouts to try, you should be good to go at this point. I understand that you may be a little nervous about getting started, knowing that there is a good chance of slapping yourself a time (or ten) with your rope…
…but it’s a rite of passage we all have to go through!
I can all but guarantee you that there will be a lot of jumping in next year’s CrossFit Open…and at your next CrossFit competition…and probably in your programming for next week. You may as well get used to double-under workouts now!
Still not quite ready to do some excessive double-under-ing, but want to use some…”non-standard” cardio equipment? Check out our list of the top kettlebell workouts, and substitute your work for a cannonball with a handle!