How To Do Basic Chinese Wheel

The basic Chinese Wheel is a style of jumping rope that involves two jumpers and two ropes. The two partners stand side by side and exchange the handles in the hands closest to each other. The ropes are then turned on alternating beats. The jumpers share the responsibility of turning both ropes. Each jumper does a “double bounce” while jumping. This means that each jumper jumps twice for every revolution of their rope.

You will want to use ropes that are slightly longer than you would normally use for single rope jumping. While a single rope normally comes up to your arm pits when you stand on it with two feet, a Chinese Wheel rope should come up to your ears. Beaded ropes are usually the rope of choice for Chinese Wheel since they are more visible to the audience.

The most difficult part of learning Chinese Wheel is unlearning the arm motions that are associated with normal single rope jumping. You must turn the ropes in a sort of “swimming” motion; when one hand is up the other is down. This is completely different from the arm motions that have been drilled into your head ever since you first picked up a jump rope. The common mistake that beginning Chinese Wheel jumpers make is that they try to turn their arms together as if they were jumping single rope. They may start out with their arms alternating up/down, but they slowly drift back to jumping with their arms turning in unison.

A good way to practice the turning motion is to forget about jumping for a little while. You will need 3 people to do this. The person practicing their turning stands in the middle. The other two stand on either side facing the turner and their job is to just hold the ropes, no jumping is required. Let the turner just focus on turning the ropes in the “swimming” motion. It is important that the two side rope holders do not help turn the rope at all. Make the turner in the middle do all the work. Focus on keeping an even beat (click.click.click.click and not click.click…click.click). Once the turner can keep an even beat, then the turner can try jumping in place while still turning the ropes. Nobody is actually jumping any ropes, this is just for the turner in the middle to practice the necessary arm motions. This is much harder than it sounds. The first few times you try it your natural tendency will be to start turning your hands in unison again.

Chinese wheel can also be done with more than 2 people. You can actually make a wheel with as many people as you want, but the most common wheels are done with 2, 3, or 4 people. Before you start adding more people to the mix, you should be very comfortable with the basic 2 person Chinese Wheel. Here is a video that demonstrates what a basic 2 person Chinese Wheel looks like. Notice how the jumpers turn the ropes and how they do a “double bounce” for each turn of their rope.

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The Secret To Jumping Double Dutch – Good Turners

After watching the Disney movie “Jump In!” many people are starting to try Double Dutch for the first time and they are looking for help. I’ve heard many people ask “What is the secret to jumping in Double Dutch?” Ask any Jump Rope instructor and they will tell you the same thing. The turners are the key. It doesn’t matter how good of a jumper you are, your turners will make or break your routine. Anyone that can jump more than two inches off of the ground at a fairly consistent beat can jump in Double Dutch, as long as they have good turners.

The question people should be asking is: “What is the secret to turning Double Dutch?” Here are some tips that should help.

  1. Keep your hands on the Chalk Board: Pretend you are standing in front of chalk board with a piece of chalk in each hand. Keep your elbows at your side and bend your arms at right angles with the chalk pointing forward. Step forward until the chalk touches the chalk board. With your left hand draw a circle clockwise and with your right hand draw a circle counter clockwise. When your left hand is at the top of the circle, your right hand should be at the bottom of its circle and vice versa. This is important: never let the chalk come off of the chalk board. You should always keep your hands on that plane. If you pull your hand off the chalk board, you will pull the rope tight and cause your jumper to miss. Also make sure you are drawing something that resembles a circle. Sometimes one hand makes a nice pretty circle, and the other one is drawing some sort of Egyptian hieroglyph. That would make it difficult for anyone to jump.
  2. Turn at the Speed of the Jumper: A good turner matches the speed of the jumper. If the jumper speeds up, the turner speeds up. If the jumper slows down, the turner slows down. A common mistake beginning turners make is turning way too fast. Encourage your team to start out slow.
  3. Keep the beat: The ropes should be turning at an even beat. You can listen to the ropes hitting the ground to find out if you are doing it right. You should hear the clicks at the same interval (click..click..click..click) not at an uneven interval (click.click……..click.click).
  4. Follow the jumper: Sometimes a jumper will start moving around. Always try to keep your jumper centered in the ropes. You may need to take steps forward, backward, or sideways to do this. Be prepared to move.
  5. Keep your eyes on the body parts touching the ground: Most of the time you should be watching the jumpers feet. Sometimes more advanced jumpers will jump on their hands or even their butts. The point is, you need to be paying attention because when that body part jumps off of the ground that is your chance to get the rope under it. If something stays on the ground too long, you may need to stall the ropes until it gets off the ground.

Those are the very basics of turning Double Dutch. Like anything else, practice, practice, practice. Now, If anybody asks you what the secret to Double Dutch is, your answer should be “good turners.”

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How To Get Started With Double Dutch

With the recent success of the Disney movie Jump In!, a lot of people are looking to start jumping rope. In particular, there is a lot of interest in double dutch. People seem to have a lot of questions about getting started jumping double dutch. If you want to start but don’t know where to begin, I’ll try to help you out by answering a few common questions. Keep in mind that there are no absolute right answers here. You have to experiment to find what works best for you. There are many factors to consider such as what event you are jumping in, how many jumpers are in the ropes, etc.

How long are double dutch ropes?
Double dutch ropes are typically 12 to 16 feet in length. For speed events you should use 12 foot ropes. For freestyle you would typically use 12 foot ropes for 1 jumper only, 14 foot ropes for 1 or 2 jumpers, and 16 foot ropes for 2 or more jumpers.

What kind of rope works best for double dutch?
There are 4 different basic styles of jump rope: Licorice/Speed ropes, cable/wire ropes, beaded ropes, and cloth ropes. Each style of rope has its pros and cons.

  • Licorice/Speed ropes: These are good multipurpose ropes. They are good for speed and are usable for freestyle. The downsides are they stretch, they are hard to see, and they are not as easy to control as beaded or cloth ropes.
  • Cable/Wire ropes: These have very small diameter and are excellent for speed. They do not stretch like licorice/speed ropes. They are not good for freestyle. The top speed scores are typically obtained using this style of rope.
  • Beaded ropes: These are the easiest to see and are therefore most often used for demonstrations or teaching. The colors of the beads can also be customized to match team colors. The downside is that they are the heaviest ropes and can have a little “bounce” when they hit the ground.
  • Cloth ropes: These are the easiest ropes to control and don’t “bounce” when they hit the ground. They are decently visible, but not as visible as beaded ropes. These are the ropes we used for double dutch freestyle routines on the Texas A&M Jump Rope team.

Where can I buy double dutch ropes?
There are several shops on the internet that sell ropes. Jumprope.com and buyjumpropes.net are both official suppliers to USA Jump Rope.

Where can I learn how to turn/jump double dutch? Where can I learn new double dutch tricks?
Jump rope workshops or camps are a great place to start.

  • Workshops are often conducted by local teams as fund raisers. Single day workshops are an excellent chance to “jump in” and get your feet wet. Contact a team near you.
  • Camps are an excellent chance to really dive in and improve your skills by learning from some of the top jumpers in the world. They are also a ton of fun.

If you have more questions that were not answered here, please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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