Improving Turning Speed

2 weeks ago

Speedcubing Advice

I’m quite frequently asked for tips to help improve turning speed. As with lookahead, a decent amount of the improvement in your turning speed will come with practice and experience. An example you have probably heard me cite before is my one-handed turning. Although I completely understand the techniques required to turn a cube with my right hand, my fingers and muscles simply aren’t used to the moves, and I can turn a cube (one-handed) with my left hand almost 3 times faster. This is because of the hours and hours I have spent just practicing and doing solves.

 

To clarify, this short blog is mainly focused on the physical manipulation of the cube, but will also include some tips to improve turning speed in a solve (for example, by using better algorithms or move sets).

 

The most important thing is pretty simple - hardware. With the incredibly wide range of modern speedcubes available, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find yourself a cube which makes you comfortable, and more importantly, confident when trying to turn at a high speed.

 

If you have tried a bunch of different cubes and still seem to suffer lockups on even the most basic triggers (eg R U R’ U’), then the issue is likely to be with your turning style. Often, beginners will try and turn their cube aggressively and with a lot of force, when this isn’t really required at all. In fact, it’s probably preferable to turn more calmly and accurately - which may actually result in a higher overall turning speed. By keeping your hands quiet and keeping the cube in a stable position in the air, it will allow you to be more consistent with your fingertricks and turn more accurately. By “keeping your hands quiet”, I mean that you should try and keep your hands as close to a neutral position as possible at all times. For example, when you do a U move, your fingers and hands should barely move from their position, besides the index finger on your right hand. Similarly, when you do things like R/R’ moves, try to avoid exaggerated movements of your hand, and aim for a more subtle tilt of the right hand.

 

In my opinion, calm, accurate turning is a good goal for a beginner, as it lays a good foundation to allow you to transition more easily to doing solves at high speeds, as you won’t need to change very much about your fingertricks or hand movements, apart from just speeding them up. With regards to turning accuracy, we're lucky these days that cubing hardware is good enough that even the most inaccurate turners can get away with it. Still, turning too aggressively at a high speed can lead to lockups, and so from my experience, turning in a more calm manner will mean individual turns are more accurate and consistent. On big cubes, accurate turning is especially important. I also notice that when I get tired, I get a little bit more lazy with my fingertricks and my turning is less accurate - achieving consistency in your turns definitely requires a good degree of focus.

 

Another key thing to consider are the sorts of moves you actually do in solves, and whether they easily allow you to achieve a high turning speed. As an example, an F2L pair solution R U’ R’ U R U’ R’ is very “fingertrickable”, in that all you’ll be doing is just rocking your right hand back and forth whilst using your index fingers to do the U and U’ turns. This can be done very quickly. A shorter solution for that F2L pair (in half turn metric) is F’ U2’ F R U2’ R’. However, this solution is obviously a lot slower to execute as it is a 3-gen solution requiring you to fingertrick the F layer. These are the sorts of things to consider when deciding between different ways of solving pieces.

 

On the algorithm side of things, it’s pretty straightforward. Firstly, you need to need to use “good” algorithms, and then “good” fingertricks. Looking at PLL for example, there are some cases in which there is clearly a “best” algorithm for the majority of people, such as the T permutation, the Jb permutation, and the E permutation, along with fairly standard fingertricks. However, there are plenty of PLL cases where you’ll need to decide between a few algorithms and devise fingertricks that suit you best for each case. Because of individual habits and things such as hand size, what works for some people may not work for others, and it’s definitely good to experiment with different algorithms and fingertricks to figure out what works best for you, as fingertricks can be quite an individual thing. Certainly, watching the PLL fingertrick videos of the fastest cubers can be a good guide to help you with that.

 

Once you have fingertricks and algorithms with which you are comfortable, then it is really just a matter of drilling them over and over again to improve your execution speed. In solves, your hands will often be in non-standard starting positions before an algorithm, and so it’s useful to practice regripping before algorithms. Doing last slot + last layer scrambles can assist with drilling this.

 

In addition to practicing regripping before algorithms, it’s also useful to have multiple different fingertricks for the same algorithm (generally just from different starting hand positions). For example, I am able to perform a T permutation starting with my thumb on either the front or bottom of the cube. Flexibility in your fingertricks is quite important - the frequently cited example is the U2’ double flick fingertrick with your left hand. The ability to do U2 and U2’ very quickly is very beneficial.

 

It’s also important to know and understand your biases and use them to your advantage. Most speedcubers are either left or right-hand biased. Depending on your hand size and how that impacts your natural grip and fingertricks, you will have a certain level of ambidexterity. Examples of cubers who are very good at effortlessly switching between their left and right hands are Max Park and Hyeon Kyo Kyoung. I’m fairly biased towards my right hand, so generally if I have a decision between using my right or left hand to solve an F2L pair, I’ll choose the former. If you feel like you’re not very good on your opposite hand, then it’s definitely worth practicing, as it can be quite restrictive. If you’re right-hand biased, then a good drill is to do solves and force yourself not to use any R moves at all. In my opinion, the natural grip and hand positions of some people allow greater degrees of ambidexterity in solves, in addition to habits developed when starting out cubing.

 

The last thing I’d like to briefly mention is ‘riskiness’ of fingertricks. It’s pretty nice and actually looks quite cool to have all sorts of weird and fancy fingertricks in your solves, but when it comes to competition, the chances are that you’ll mess it up under pressure. If you attend WCA competitions, my advice is to try and keep your fingertricks and movements pretty standard. That is, don’t stray too far from a solid, neutral grip on the cube, and avoid using uncomfortable or difficult fingertricks.

 

I do think there is a slight element of natural ability for turning speed, and hands come in all different shapes and sizes. Not everyone can turn like Lucas Etter or Bill Wang, but for the majority of people, I don’t think this is much of a restriction on your solve speed. If anything, it may force you to be smarter and more efficient in your solutions to keep up with them.

 

I hope this blog helps, or at the very least, provided some insight or interesting information!


Thoughts on this blog

Notify me of updates
Vlad  Sivak

Vlad Sivak Posted 2 weeks ago

Oh, that's what I missed. Thanks, Feliks


George Arikkat

George Arikkat Posted 2 weeks ago

Hi Feliks, thanks for the blog....

Can you also post a blog/tutorial video on PLL prediction while executing OLL?


Sichuan Lu

Sichuan Lu Posted 2 weeks ago

Hey Feliks! I have been very curious that when you're in competition, will you actually execute a “U2” AUF by useing your left index finger? 


Feliks Zemdegs

Feliks Zemdegs from CubeSkills Posted 2 weeks ago

George - perhaps, but I think that sort of thing is covered in the video tutorials.

Sichuan - of course! :)


Jesus Fonseca

Jesus Fonseca Posted 2 weeks ago

This is great, ill defenatly work more on my turning accuracy now and fingertricks.


Justin Ong

Justin Ong Posted 2 weeks ago

Do you use fancy fingertricks at competition most of the time or standard fingertricks.


Arin Singh

Arin Singh Posted 2 weeks ago

In your example solves video (that you did a few years ago)... You used some pretty cool fingertricks... Do you actually use them in your solves or used to?


Feliks Zemdegs

Feliks Zemdegs from CubeSkills Posted 2 weeks ago

Justin - I try to avoid doing awkward moves/regrips in official solves, and stick to things I know I can execute under pressure.

Arin - Not sure! :p Everyone has their own individual fingertricks for certain algs here and there, I may still use that stuff.


Arin Singh

Arin Singh Posted 2 weeks ago

Your B'day is coming :D :P 


Sam Durocher

Sam Durocher Posted 2 weeks ago

Feliks, Thank you so much for this site. This has helped me a lot.


Slush Puppy

Slush Puppy Posted 2 weeks ago

Which moves should you use your left hand for, and which moves should you use your right hand for?


Hao Lê

Hao Lê Posted 2 weeks ago

i think you should make a video to make us easier to learn


Rakesh Nama

Rakesh Nama Posted 2 weeks ago

Hey Feliks, What do you prefer about doing F' : with right hand index finger push or left hand index finger pull or using right hand thumb ?

I often use first option cause I've seen you doing this in J perm, P shape oll(R'U'F' one). But I'm slow in it's execution and sometimes get stuck. Please Share Your thought about it.


Feliks Zemdegs

Feliks Zemdegs from CubeSkills Posted 2 weeks ago

Thanks Sam!

Slush - So, because I'm right-hand dominant like most cubers, my last layer algorithms primarily use R U and F moves where practical. For the F2L, there are no strict rules, but I would prefer to rotate and do R&U moves rather than rotate and do L&U moves. If an F2L slot on the left hand side of the cube doesn't require a rotation, I'll generally use L and U moves to solve it as well.

Hao - plenty of videos on the site already :)

Rakesh - They're all pretty good and can be used in different scenarios depending on your cube grip.


Justin Ong

Justin Ong Posted 2 weeks ago

Does turning very slowly and slowly increasing the tps improve lookahead over time. Should i practice that. Last question;)


Feliks Zemdegs

Feliks Zemdegs from CubeSkills Posted 2 weeks ago

I think that's not a bad thing to do - lookahead *improvement* will come from pushing your limits and really extending yourself, but when you're starting out, doing slow turning will help you get familiar with the action of actually looking ahead.


Inigo Palisoc

Inigo Palisoc Posted 2 weeks ago

When should i stop doing slow turning? around sub 15?


Justin Ong

Justin Ong Posted 1 week ago

Thanks feliks! :)

 


francis sanjay

francis sanjay Posted 1 week ago

Can you help me how to get 10?l,m a Sub 16 solver.

 

 

 

 


Tien Tran

Tien Tran Posted 1 week ago

Is this the reason why you have 9 tps?

 


Jin Yang

Jin Yang Posted 1 week ago

Hi Feliks. Well, I can do most algorithms quite fast, but when it comes to solving the whole cube, I just do each algorithm much slower than it is practiced alone. I've tried PLL Attack long before, with a best time around 37s. I think it's not bad. But I just wonder why I can't do as fast as I practice every single algrothm.


Manuel Gutman

Manuel Gutman Posted 1 week ago

does slow turning still work when you are like sub 8?


Hoshi Zemek

Hoshi Zemek Posted 1 week ago

Hey Feliks 

I created a new algorithm for star wars

Do you want to Know what it is 


Hoshi Zemek

Hoshi Zemek Posted 1 week ago

it s R2 D2

lol


Ma Harry

Ma Harry Posted 1 week ago

Hi feliks, I would like to ask if yau5 is your main 5x5 method?


Alex Edrich Lim

Alex Edrich Lim Posted 1 week ago

Awesome thnx feliks


Aaditya Sikder

Aaditya Sikder Posted 1 week ago

Any 3x3BLD or Megaminx tutorial please


Jason M

Jason M Posted 1 week ago

Make 2x2 Tutorials pls


Cuberious The SpeedCuber

Cuberious The SpeedCuber Posted 1 week ago

Do you, Feliks, do hand exercises before official/unofficial solves?

Can you do a video where you just scramble a variety of different 3x3 cubes and show everyone that they can achieve your unmatched TPS with accurate turning?

 

Will using a dollar store cube help me turn more accurately?


Tiago Oliveira

Tiago Oliveira Posted 1 week ago

My average is around 12 second and i start cubing  6 months ago. Is that good.

 


Tiago Oliveira

Tiago Oliveira Posted 1 week ago

Please do a video: tips to be sub 10 .

Please feliks answer my question.


Feliks Zemdegs

Feliks Zemdegs from CubeSkills Posted 6 days ago

Harry - It isn't.

Aaditya - Plenty on Youtube, and we're hoping to develop some for CubeSkills in time as well :)

Jason - Same comment as above :p

Cuberious - Not really, I just warm up my mind and try to warm up my hands as well, by doing solves. I'd recommend against using a dollar store cube though haha, just turn more accurately on a speedcube.

Tiago - that's fantastic progression! I have heaps of tips in the advanced F2L and advanced LL video modules on this site.

Cheers!

Feliks

 


guo ziyuan

guo ziyuan Posted 6 days ago

Feliks

 Why doesn't the site have its own translation


Rishabh Agarwal

Rishabh Agarwal Posted 5 days ago

another WR from u ... XD


Rishabh Agarwal

Rishabh Agarwal Posted 5 days ago

OMG Wow thts so great ..... do u use this as ur main method or is it reduction ??... and what are your thoughts on the new WR... it would be amazing if u get a sub 4.5 solve or even sub 4.3 .. that wud be amazing... but as usual it wud be not a big deal for you.. just another usual WR from u ...XD


Sai Swayam Shree

Sai Swayam Shree Posted 5 days ago

Hi Feliks. Why don't u make tutorials of all knd of puzzles including skewb , pyraminx , 2x2, megamynx, etc?? That would be great.


Sai Swayam Shree

Sai Swayam Shree Posted 5 days ago

Sorry. U had replied for this type of question above. I didn't see. 

 


Zac Jamison

Zac Jamison Posted 5 days ago

Do you think you could make either a blog or a video set of "how to be sub-x" videos. I've been stuck at 12 seconds for almost 6 months now on 3x3 and I am starting to get frustrated and I don't know where to go to become sub-10. If not do you think you could just reply to this comment giving me some pointers or things you did to become sub-10 from 12 seconds?


Khai Xi Lim

Khai Xi Lim Posted 5 days ago

I started to play rubik's cube half year ago and my overall average is about 30-35 second is this good for now?


Kjell de Groot

Kjell de Groot Posted 4 days ago

I just wanna say thanks for all the tips :)


Tien Tran

Tien Tran Posted 4 days ago

Tiago Oliveira  

How do you get avg 12 seconds so fast??? It took me 1 and a half years just to get there.


Jason Santoso

Jason Santoso Posted 3 days ago

when do you think is the right time to enter a competition?

Im currently sub 20 and im currently dont know if i should enter one


Pablo Cuber

Pablo Cuber Posted 10 hours ago

On your Youtube playlists, did you just compile all your video tutorials here into playlists there? I think that it defeats the purpose of this website, since you can just get it from youtube


Snow Chou

Snow Chou Posted 7 hours ago

Hi Feliks, thanks for this blog, very useful, and inspiring.

"On the algorithm side of things, it’s pretty straightforward. Firstly, you need to need to use “good” algorithms, "

There are two "need to". Can you edit and fix the typo?



Become a free member to post a comment about this blog.