How to get your
times closer to zero
Here are some of the things I've learned from my experience that have helped me to increase my speed.
Breaking down the process Here is a breakdown of the method that I use. After I show you the method by itself I'll show you what additional steps you need to take to really increase your speed. These steps can be done with any method of solving the cube. However if you are very serious about increasing your speed I would suggest learning a speed solve solution. Click here for some speed solve solutions.
1) Solve a cross onto the bottom face
2) Solve the bottom two layers of the cube by placing each corner and its adjacent edge into their places one group at a time
3) Orient all edges and corners from the top layer
4) Place all edges and corners in the top layer
This method is a speed solve solution, meant to be extremely efficient and consistent. Using this solution I average at about 55 moves to solve the cube. If I were to do one move per second I could be under a minute every time using this method. However I'm like you, I want to be faster. Here are the additional steps that you can do to increase your speed.
- (Learn a speed solve solution - this is not required for increasing your times but it will help you to be very fast.)
- Pre-examine the cube before you start and plan out your first few moves
1) Solve a cross onto the bottom
1. No delays between moves
This is very important for increasing your speed. Any time that you delay between steps while you're solving the cube the clock is still ticking
Yeah yeah, bla bla bla, but HOW do you have no delays?!
Here is how you can decrease your number of delays.
Right after you've scrambled the cube take time to look at it in detail. (This isn't considered cheating because in official competitions
you are allowed to examine the cube before you start. So take advantage of it!) Decide all the moves you are going to do for the first step of your
solution. Or if your first step is really long divide it into smaller steps and examine the moves you would do for the first part of that step. Practice
these moves mentally but don't actually do the moves on the cube, that is considered cheating :-) When you start solving , these moves should be
mechanical and you shouldn't have to think about them. Try this a few times just for the first step of your solution until you get used to it.
Step 2. Now you should be able to do the first step (or at least a part of your first step) without really having
to think about it. Now, the next time you practice the cube, scramble it and examine the cube until you know the first couple of moves you're going to do.
Now this time as you do those moves look around at the cube for the next pieces you're going to need. For example when I scramble the cube I look for
the 4 edges pieces of the first layer and mentally practice the moves I need to do them (usually about 7 moves). Once I know the moves and I know how I'm
going to solve the first four edge pieces I start to solve the cube. While I'm doing these moves I am looking around on the cube for a corner piece from
the first layer and the edge piece it touches when the cube is solved (a move I will need for the second step of my solution). So basically while
you are solving the first step of your solution look around for the pieces you will need in the second step. Practice this slowly at first to get
used it. Once you are used to it though you can make all of your decisions during the previous move, therefore you have little to no delays = moves
solve the cube = faster times!
Step 1 and 2 work well for intuitive steps but you can also use this in not so intuitive steps, and a lot more efficiently. Moves that
you have memorized, or even discovered yourself, to achieve a specific effect on the cube are great times to look ahead. Any lengthy move that you know
that achieves one certain effect on the cube, usually towards the end of your solution such as rotating certain pieces, moving certain pieces, can be
memorized and done mechanically. The more mechanically you can do a move the more you can look ahead (english: If you know a move that moves 3 corners for
instance, then memorize the move really well and get it under your fingers. Then the next time you see that you need to do that particular move, while
you're doing the move look ahead for the next step you will need to do.)
Here's a good example. Say you know a move that rotates corners. This is usually done by doing a move to rotate one corner on the U face,
turning the U face and rotating another corner the opposite way which
returns the cube back to normal. This is how a lot of solutions end. Now
sometimes you may have to rotate four corners. Well, pick the first corner
you see and do the move to rotate it. While you're doing the move look around
at the other corners and find which way each one has to be rotated (all while
you're doing the move on the first corner) Before you've finished rotating
the first corner you already know how the others need to be rotated so you
can finish the cube with no more looks! Less looks = less delays = moves
solve the cube = faster times!
Just remember it's very difficult to have absolutely no
delays at all while you're solving the cube. I still get delays even when I
solve it but if you can keep these delays under 2 seconds, and make sure that
you have very few of them as well, then you're doing good. If you've just
started speed cubing try to keep all delays under 5 seconds, and then try to
improve from there.
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2. Avoiding speed cubing
You're kidding right? Injuries? From the Cube?!
Yes it is possible to injure yourself if you're not careful.
If you speed cube to much for too long then you will start to get twinges in
your wrist, and sometimes your thumbs as well. Some people never have this
problem and have never had to worry about it. I've hurt my wrist from speed
cubing, and even had to see a doctor about it once. If you feel twinges in
your wrist or pain in your thumbs for the first time don't sweat it. It
probably means that you've been cubing too much so lay off the cube for a few
days. If you're still feeling pain, even after you've been finished cubing
for a while, especially in your wrists, then lay off the cube for a least a
week. Here are some things that should help if you're feeling pain in your
1. Lubricate your cube. I've been
feeling pain in my wrist after cubing for a while, but ever since I
lubricated my cube I haven't felt anything. If your wrist hurts that means
you're working it too hard some how so either lay off the cube for a few days
and let it rest or lubricate the cube and it should go away all
2. Wrap your wrist while you cube. If
you don't want to lubricate your cube then try this, it helped me a lot! Get
a good length of gauze and some medical tape and wrap the gauze fairly
tightly around your wrist and tape it on. This limits the motion of your
wrist, which is good! By doing this you won't be able to pull any muscles in
your wrist because they won't have their full range of motion. This can take
some getting used to when you cube but it shouldn't affect your times at all.
It doesn't make the twinges in your wrist go away but it lengthens the amount
of time you can cube comfortably. Like before, if you feel any twinges in
your wrist stop cubing and lay off of it for a few days and it should get
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3. Finger Shortcuts and triggers
If you want to get really fast this is how to do it. For the
longest time I didn't understand what finger tricks and triggers were, even
after reading other people's pages about them. Once I did I was able to drop
about 10 seconds from my times on average. Finger tricks and triggers are
moves that can be done with your fingers that can be preformed extremely
fast, usually at a move/sec rate of about 10 moves per second, sometimes
faster or slower. These moves usually come in bursts of about 3 or 4 moves at
a time but they can be more or less as well. Here is an example of a finger
trick that can be executed in about 0.1 of a second,
*NOTE* Finger tricks don't work very well on a stiff cube, you need a nicely lubricated cube to get the full effect. To learn how to lubricate your cube
Here's the move,
( R' U R' )
See a movie of this move (slow)
Movie provided by Dan Knights
see his cube page
Normally when doing this move ( R' U R' ) you would turn the right face counter clockwise by flicking your wrist, then grapping the U face and
turning it clockwise by flicking your wrist, and then turning the right face counter clockwise by flicking your wrist. There is nothing wrong with turning
the cube using your wrists but it takes, at fastest about 0.90 second to complete this move using your wrists. Using finger shortcuts however you can
do this move in about 0.10 of a second. Now you may think that a difference of 0.8 seconds is not anything worth thinking about but if you do longer
strings of moves using finger shortcuts you can cut your time on these longer moves from 5 or 6 seconds to 1 or 2 seconds. For example using finger short
cuts I can move 3 corners using the move R' F R' B2 R F' R' B2 R2 (9 moves) in less than 1.5 seconds.
Here is how you would do the move above ( R' U R' )
First put your hand on the right face like you are getting ready to turn it but put your index finger on the DRB piece (the corner that interesects the D
face, R face, and B face). Now turn the R face counterclockwise, and at the same time start pulling the DRB piece towards you with your index finger.
Then keep pulling the R face counter clockwise. Basically you're doing a double turn on the R face but in the middle you pull the U face with your
index finger, which takes next to no time to complete. This whole move can be done in about the same time it takes to do a double turn, at about 0.10 of a
For an EXCELLENT description of finger moves and tricks (including videos!) see
Dan Knights Rubik's Cube Page.
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4. Lubricating your cube Lubricating your cube helps to not only reduce the risk of injury to
your fingers and wrists but it also lets you do moves on the cube really fast. With a lubricated cube you can achieve move rates of 3 and 4
moves per second by just turning the faces and for sustained lenghts. Not to mention you can do finger shortcuts with surprising speed, 10 moves/sec or
faster! If you are interested in speed solving lubricating your cube makes all the difference. Here is how to do it,
Use a silicon based spray or gel, I used a car wax that was silicon based but you can use pretty much anything that is silicon based. Disassemble your
cube completely, so that every piece is laid out in front of you. You can disassemble your cube by turning one slice 1/8 turn, until the four corners
are sticking out the sides and pry up one of the middle edge pieces. After the first edge piece is out the rest come very easily. Get a paper towel or
washcloth that you don't use anymore and lay the pieces out on that. Apply the silicon based spray/gel or whatever you have to the inner parts of each
piece. Once you've finished with a piece set it down on the sticker and continue with the next piece. Make sure also to lubricate the sides of the
centers on the main mechanism. Once you're finished lubricating each piece leave them out to dry for about 10 minutes. Once they've dried put the cube
back together (make sure it is solveable) and turn the slices a little bit. You will be amazed by the difference!
It takes a while to get used to using a lubricated cube if your cube was originally stiff but keep with it. You should also notice an immediate improvement in your times.
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Positioning the cube on intuitive steps During intuitive steps, usually towards the beginning of a solution you have a choice of doing the cube from many different angles. For example in my method I solve a cross of 4 edges pieces on the bottom layers, then I place the corners and edges in by pairs to complete the first two layers.
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5. Links to other speed cubing pages
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Go back to my rubik page