The CrossFit Jump Rope Course is More than Double-Unders
Olympian and Retired US Marine Buddy Lee was Coach Glassman’s original jump rope consultant back in the early days when Coach Glassman was still doing L1s. Buddy started with Greg Glassman when there were about 400 boxes worldwide after Coach Glassman personally phoned him to be part of his crusade. The first workshop was at Buddy’s former base, the Marine Corp Station at Quantico, Virginia, in the same Gym where Buddy trained full time to become a US Olympic Wrestler. His team won 5 US National Wrestling Championships. There are videos of Buddy to this day performing the jump rope demo from that very seminar on the CrossFit Youtube page! Buddy went on to work with the US government and military families, taking his program all over the world after the early CrossFit seminars, but his journal articles, videos, and teachings have remained in CrossFit, especially for the O.G. crowd.
When I got involved with Buddy personally a few years ago, we discussed him getting back into CrossFit during our first conversation. I had been in CrossFit for a couple of years visiting gyms all around the country as I travel quite a lot for my work. I consistently saw a lack of fundamental knowledge of how to use and teach the jump rope, and I met athletes and coaches with laundry lists of issues and injuries from the jump rope at every gym I visited, so I knew there was a need in the community.
In mid 2017, Buddy decided that we would reach back out to the community and attend the CrossFit Games. We applied for a vendor booth like anyone else, and when Buddy’s name began to circulate among the CrossFit Games staff, things got exciting! We were asked to put on demos on the training stage for 3 days of the Games, and the reception was incredible! On the Wednesday prior to the Games, our team went to the health conference in Madison to try and track down Coach Glassman. We were actually in the reception area after the speaker sessions on Wednesday evening when Greg Glassman walked into the room. I pointed him out to Buddy, who started walking toward Greg and waved hello. We didn’t know what kind of reception we’d get from Greg, as it had been many years since they had any kind of contact, but when Greg saw Buddy, he RAN over to him and gave him a huge hug saying, “Oh my goodness Buddy Lee! Where have you BEEN?!?” He then ran into the crowd and grabbed his whole executive team and dragged them over to us exclaiming, “Look everyone! THIS IS BUDDY LEE!!”
It was a wonderful and heartwarming reunion and Coach G asked Buddy to please come back to the community as an official SME for jump rope and help the community get better with this skill. We were put in touch with the CrossFit Training Department after the Games, and we started designing the CrossFit Jump Rope Course.
We did a test course in San Diego at CrossFit Del Mar in February of 2018, polished up a few things, then formally rolled it out in May with the first courses happening in June.
-What common misconceptions would you like to speak to (i.e. when people think it’s just a double under clinic)?
The goal of the course is not to just get an athlete to a double under. The goal of our course is to make a double under incidental, meaning it’s just another skill to do with your jump rope. And when learned properly via the Buddy Lee system,the double under becomes a low-impact resting and recovery movement.
CrossFit has utilized 2 jump rope skills from the beginning; the single under and the double under. In PROPER jump rope training, there are a minimum of 12 skills that should be learned between the single and the double under. Our course brings the proven Buddy Lee 3 step system of jump rope training to CrossFit. Buddy has distilled down a skill set we call The CrossFit 15, which consists of the 15 most relevant jump rope skills for CrossFit applications, as well as the skills a coach will need to apply jump rope training for sports specific application needs of any kind of athlete that is going to come into your gym. We have skills for the needs of the CrossFit athlete, the tennis/football/baseball/basketball player, the combat sports athlete, the 5k/10k/marathon runners…every possible age group, demographic, and fitness level.
The skillset creates an endless toolkit of training combinations that will be a challenge for every level of athlete from the person that just got off the couch yesterday to a Games athlete. You’ll never look at jump rope training the same way again.
-Why is it important for gyms to look beyond the double under? How can the gym owner benefit?
The definition of CrossFit that we all know is “Constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity.”
The key words there are VARIED and FUNCTIONAL.
With those in mind, consider this idea.
How successful would CrossFit have become if we only used one barbell movement at all times? Imagine that with all that’s known about weightlifting, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, etc, that CrossFit only used it for a front squat and ignored all of the other beneficial exercises that can be done with a barbell. That’s a silly notion to any CrossFit coach or athlete in the world, right? Well, that’s exactly where we are with jump rope training. We have not VARIED how we use a jump rope from day one, and while a double under is a great skill, it’s by no means the most FUNCTIONAL skill one can perform with a jump rope.
Our course teaches the most functional, varied, and downright FUN jump rope skills, all of which have skill transfer to the other skills performed in CrossFit and in any other kind of sport or training for that sport. Jump Rope training will become something coaches and athletes look forward to doing every day! That’s certainly been the experience of the gyms where we’ve held courses thus far.
-If you had to tell Affiliate owners one thing about the course, what would it be?
Anything else to add?
Jump Rope is not a minor skill. It’s a foundational training tool that elite athletes have used for decades at the highest levels of performance. It’s also one of the easiest ways that a CrossFit coach can give a giant victory to an athlete, give that athlete something to take away and believe in, and BRING THAT ATHLETE BACK TO THE GYM! It’s more than a training tool, it’s a retention tool as well!
CrossFit coaches and affiliate owners need to think beyond just what they’ve seen programmed at the Games or what’s been done in the past, and they need to have the biggest toolkit possible to help and connect with every possible kind of athlete that’s going to walk through their doors, whether it’s a fire breathing athlete, a soccer mom needing to get in shape, or a grandparent trying to get in good enough shape to keep up with the grandkids. The jump rope is the single most effective and accessible piece of fitness equipment that can benefit the widest variety of people, so it’s CRITICAL that CrossFit gyms learn how to better use and teach it!
By Heather Hartmann on May 16, 2019
BOX PRO Magazine