Greg Amundson learns a tough lesson when his poor command of double-unders costs him a trip to the 2009 CrossFit Games. What happened after that is the real story.
At 7 a.m. on the day of the Last Chance Qualifier, my wife Mallee woke me up and said, “Honey, do you know how to double-under?” At that moment, I couldn’t think of the last time I had even held a jump rope in my hands, but I was confident I could perform the skill at a competitive pace. How hard could it be? I was in the best shape of my life and ready for any challenge, but I discovered very quickly that I had absolutely no competence in the skill.
I did the first two Last Chance WODs, and when I got to the deadlift/double-under workout, I ripped through the deadlifts without any problems. I stumbled through the first 10 double-unders in a row before getting tripped up and missing a revolution. Then something amazing happened: I performed 33 double-unders in a row. That was 23 more than I had ever done before.
Then all hell broke loose. As I started my attempt for repetition 44, I failed. I tried again and failed. This continued for a painstaking full minute. It got to the point that I was unable to perform even a single accurate jump. It was horrible.
Paul Szoldra, the active-duty Marine who videotaped my failed attempt to get to the CrossFit Games via the Last Chance Qualifier, may have summed up the whole thing best. As I lay on the floor gasping for breath and thinking I was about to die, Paul offered these kind words: “That’ll teach ya not to practice double-unders!”
Thus began my journey of self-discovery into the skill of the double-under.