Wednesday's workout was everything I hoped it would be. I had a great time, I got to witness several people do things for the first time in their lives, and I got to watch the comedy that is a person losing their composure. As a coach I would never laugh at anyone trying their hardest, its rude and downright inappropriate. However as a person who learned how to preform double-unders with the same, seemingly hopelessly slow progress, I feel like I can relate and empathize. I have thrown many a jump rope, vowed that I hated- yes I used the H word, the whole exercise of jumping rope, and definitely said things that don't even make sense, like this poor guy...
What makes the double-under so unique as an exercise, is that everyone that came to the gym yesterday has the physical capabilities to perform one jump that is high enough that a rope can pass under their feet twice. The move is so confounding because it is the only one I can think of where strength has no role in doing one, or even improving to a certain degree, its all timing/coordination which must be learned. Even a move like the Snatch can be improved upon with little practice. It will definitely not look good, possibly injury causing, no where near efficient but if you keep working on your strength you would be able to pull more weight from the ground over your head. Whether the stripper-lift-reverse-curl-some-sort-or-press you preform can be considered a traditional Snatch is for another post, but hopefully you see my point. And that is what makes it so frustrating. Have you ever shaken your head, put hands up and said the phrase "sometimes I got it, sometimes I don't"? Learning double-unders is like that road trip game "I'm going on a picnic and I'm taking with me..." It is a terrible game where you pass time trying to figure out the pattern of what works. What makes double-unders easier than that stupid game is most athletes know what to do for a proper double-under. The big secret to doing well in a workout like Wednesday's is practice and mental toughness. There is nothing sexy about the practice, 10 minutes everyday. The mental toughness is the difference between finishing the workout and a DNF. Towards the end of the day I could almost see the moment when someone would check out mentally, and the workout became incredibly harder. With every missed rep, I could see the gears turning harder and faster. A cue used a great deal in the gym is "don't think about it, just do it". Your mind in some instances can make moving harder. Elite athletes respond to a race/game with a reduction in brain-wave activity, almost like meditation. What would be the opposite of this? Panic. Training yourself to get better at double-unders creates a great template for how you should train everything else. Its as much mental as it is physical. In college I took a sports psychology class that at the time I considered it an "easy A". Since, I refer to what I learned more and more. Staying positive, as silly as it sounds, works wonders. If you start to doubt yourself you will fail. Give yourself small, attainable goals. Self-efficacy is incredibly potent. Visualization is a technique that does not get the respect it deserves. See yourself performing the double-under before you actually attempt it. Using visualization correctly can be a very powerful tool, however it needs to be practiced. Finally, preparation is key. This can be in the form of practicing 10 minutes everyday so the next time there are double-unders you are prepared. This can also be tightening the bolts in your rope's handles so one does not fly off mid workout and you have to look for it like you lost a contact (you know who you are). Prepared athletes should be able to say this before every contest: Nothing new on race day. Everything has been tried, attempted, thought about, and prepared for. The only thing left is to dominate some chumps!
5X5 Push Press
A) 3XME Parallette Pushups, B) 3X15 GHD Situps
10 min AMRAP
5 Hang Squat Cleans 135/98#
5 Box Jumps 32/24"
100' Shuttle run (marks every 25')
Remember to stay positive, just like Stuart Smalley!
Men: Whippet 6+4 Rx, Steamer 6 Rx, Topo 5+3 (115#)
Women: Micro 6+8 Rx, HJ 5+80m, Laura K 5.