To Band or Not to Band Your Elbows to learn Double Unders

To Band or Not to Band Your Elbows to learn Double Unders

Banding elbows and trying to keep your hands in tight to your body is a very common discussion during our jump rope clinics.   

At the beginning of our jump rope clinics we hand out test jump ropes to each athlete.  We ask for their height and how many double unders can the athlete link in a row.  As we work through the class individually and come to the athletes that state “about 10 to 20” double unders in a row, the first question we ask is “are you fighting to keep your hands and elbows in?”  Most often the answer is yes.  Then we ask “Why?”.  Most answers are “my coach told me to” or “I need a shorter cable” but most are quite perplexed as to why they really need to keep their elbows in.  So, to the first answer, “my coach told me to” our question again is “why?”.  Very few have an answer as to why they NEED to keep their hands and elbows in tight.  To the other answer, a shorter cable, we respond that the black cable weighs 5 grams per foot, so by adding a couple inches to the cable adds very minimal weight.  Quite often, when we tell an athlete that they can relax, let their arms go wide, they are successful!  Sometimes they are relieved at not having the stress to focus so hard on keeping their elbows in tight. At times they can link upwards of 25-30 double unders in a row right away.

If an athlete can successfully link 10-20 double unders then fail, that tells us that they have the skill, but something is falling apart.  When they are focusing on keeping their hands in, it builds unnecessary tension and they quite often fail.  Also, they can’t breathe and their arms and shoulders are fatigued.

We all have a natural default.  When we are 20-30-40 double unders into a workout, what do we do?  We want to breathe and just want to get it done.  When we are having to constantly fight to keep our hands in, it’s a distraction. 

With other movements in the gym, it is important to fight a certain position for safety to avoid injuries.  By jumping rope in your natural default (for some, arms out wide) they are not risking injury.  We feel by fighting to keep your hands in tight, if that is not your natural default, that builds tension and fatigue.  Then, as they progress in their workout on to the next movement, which could be the barbell, they are fatigued, standing at the barbell wasting time on the clock catching their breath.

Banding your arms to be more successful with jump rope is a hot topic when learning jump rope.  Should you do it?  That’s your decision. We just think that less fatigue and success is very important!

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