America Ninja Warrior: Fun Facts

America has a rich history of valuing feats of strength. It is why we idolize athletes so much. But maybe you’re bored of the same tired old ways of showing off physical excellence. As great as established sports are, sometimes people need variety to take things to the next level. That is exactly what American Ninja Warrior provides, with a grueling obstacle course set in stages that attack every conceivable measurement of fitness an athlete can muster. Since we’re big fans of American Ninja Warrior here at Rebounderz, and even have our own ninja warrior course in Grand Rapids, we thought we’d go over some fun facts about the show.

No Casting Calls

It may seem counter intuitive (How can you judge somebody’s talent if you’ve never seen them in action?), but there are no casting calls on American Ninja Warrior. Instead, contestants send in videos of various lengths (requirements have changed over time) showcasing their talents and explaining why they should be chosen to compete on the show. Only around 100 people are chosen. For those who don’t get in, there is one final hail mary they can pull: the walk-on line. It’s a lot of effort for no guarantee, as potential contestants can wait for weeks in line and never get picked to be on the show.

Difference In Courses

American Ninja Warrior didn’t originate in America; it’s actually a spinoff series of a Japanese show called Sasuke, more commonly known around the world as Ninja Warrior. Considering the worldwide popularity of Ninja Warrior, you might think that the courses on American Ninja Warrior would be the same, but that is not the case. For the most part similar, the two respective courses ARE different, and even small differences make a huge impact. Moving a rope or platform as little as six inches can be the difference between a grueling, but doable event, and an effectively impossible course.

Change in Fitness Values

Historically in America, strength and size has been the ultimate determinant in sports. Football, boxing, baseball, most things that we think of as inherently American rely primarily on brute force. American Ninja Warrior flips this benchmark on its head. On the course, strength is important, but only when balanced with agility, muscle memory, and the ability to shift tactics on the fly. In fact, the bulky physiques of traditional American athletes often end up being an obstacle, due to the extra weight they have to carry over the other competitors. You need only look at the top competitors to see this in practice. The only two men to have completed the course came from a rock climbing background, and are much more lean than bulky. But probably the best example of this concept in practice is Kacy Catanzaro, one of the top female participants on the show, who blows her competitors out the water weighing in at 95 lbs at five feet tall.

NFL Players Want In

Never to be daunted by something as insignificant as a size advantage, many NFL players are now vying to get in on the action. While they haven’t historically gotten far on the show, they sure have had a blast doing it. Some NFL contestants on the show include Shawne Merriman, Jon Ryan, Tyler Brayton, and Jordan Baineaux. While none of these players did well on the course, the NFL curse doesn’t apply to all players. One example of an NFL player that has done well on the course is Akbar Gbajabiamila.

Ninjas Keep Producers On Their Toes

American Ninja Warrior thrives on the near impossibility of completing each course. While you might think the course might be a one-and-done thing, that’s not the case; contestants are far too wily for that. Grueling obstacles like the warped wall are now being built all across the nation, giving competitors an extra advantage on the course. Because of this, producers are constantly thinking up, testing, and building new obstacles to keep the show prestigious.

It Takes All Kinds

American Ninja Warrior is about much more than being the best. It’s about perseverance, will power, and the human potential to overcome any odds. It may surprise you that not all contestants are the peak of physical fitness, or even have a clean bill of health. Many inspirational competitors with health problems have competed on the show, including contestants with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and even a case of recent heart surgery. When you realize the adversity some people overcome to give it their all on the course, the show can take on a more awe inspiring and serious tone.


Since American Ninja Warrior started airing, video submissions for potential candidates have increased over 50-fold. Do you think you have what it takes to be an American Ninja Warrior? If so, you better get to training. Here at Rebounders, we have a ninja warrior course in Grand Rapids, MI. Come by and test your skills today, or give us a call for more information!


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