One of the most fascinating TV shows on today is without a doubt American Ninja Warrior. With its roots stemming back to the original Japanese show Sasuke, the show is centered around an intense obstacle course competition. The level of athletic prowess on display is really something to behold and you’re sure to see something you didn’t think was possible. To prepare for the event, competitors work incredibly hard to get ready for the treacherous obstacles they have to tackle if they want to climb to the top of Mount Midoriyama and achieve “Total Victory”, a feat few have accomplished.
Whether you want to begin training for the next round of tryouts, or you just want to see how you stack up against the greats, we’ve gathered some helpful training tips to make you a Ninja Warrior master. Test your might on the Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course here at Rebounderz in Sunrise!
There have been many competitors that have tried their hand at tackling the course’s many difficult obstacles, but one thing has become surprisingly clear over the years; it’s better to be lean and acrobatic than large and muscular. Due to the requirements of many of the obstacles, there is a large emphasis placed on carrying your body weight. When muscle-bound competitors have run the course, the extra body weight they carry makes it much more difficult for them to overcome the trials in front of them, as it takes more energy to execute every move for them. When you look at the most successful Ninja Warrior competitors, almost all of them are lithe acrobats and gymnasts, who still carry a lot of strength, but have less body weight to contend with.
If you want to become an elite Ninja Warrior, avoid excessive weight training in favor of flexibility, core strength, and cardio. A great deal of the challenge involved in the course comes down to endurance, so cardio is absolutely vital if you want to get through every obstacle. Flexibility is important due to acrobatic feats like the Jumping Spider, which requires a competitor to hold themselves up between two separate walls above the water, moving their arms and legs to cross the gap. This is also where core strength comes into play, as you have to demonstrate incredible control over your body to get through, and it all leads right into your core.
The most common end to a promising run through the Ninja Warrior course is when someone loses their grip, and they drop down into the water below. Having great grip strength will save you in tough situations, especially with obstacles like the Salmon Ladder or Floating Chains. A great way to hone your grip is by doing pull-ups with varied types of grip. By switching up the way you are holding onto the pull-up bar, you are strengthening the muscles in your hands and forearms to help give you a stronger grip.
Pull-ups will also get you used to carrying your body weight, which will come in handy in many of the obstacles. As you get stronger, extend the length of time you hold yourself up in a pull-up. Try holding yourself up for extended periods with your arms in different positions of extension to get ready for the variety of ways you’ll need to carry your weight.
While much of the focus in the American Ninja Warrior competition is placed on the obstacles, it is still a race at its core. That means you need to place just as much importance on fast footwork as you do grip strength. When you’re quick and controlled on your feet, you’re far more prepared to take on some incredibly tough trials, like the first obstacle of the course, the Quad Steps. The course will also have you running on rolling logs or jumping across large, bouncy balls, so deft footwork is key to success. Improve your footwork with an agility ladder exercise where you quickly step in and out of the holes in between the ladder rungs.
Many obstacles require an explosion of power to complete. One of particular interest is the cargo net, which you have to launch yourself off a trampoline in order to grab onto. When you have honed your explosiveness, you’re able to leap across the gap and grab onto the cargo net at a much higher level, which makes it easier to climb over. You’re also going to need that skill to take on the dreaded Warped Wall that marks the end of the first stage. You can train this with box jumps, squat jumps (both with and without weights in your hands), and lunge jumps.
Another great way to get stronger explosive power is training on a trampoline, as it works all of your muscles together for a single goal. At Rebounderz Trampoline Park, you can hone your verticality on our trampolines and then immediately test it out on the Ninja Warrior course. It’s like one-stop shopping!
As we spoke about earlier, flexibility is key to success in Ninja Warrior. In order to strengthen your flexibility, you first need to ensure your muscle integrity is built up with exercises like foam rolling. Deep tissue massage has also shown great results, as it loosens up the muscles and allows them to move more freely. From there, start doing more dynamic flexibility exercises like leg swings and arm swings. Yoga and gymnastics have both proven to be incredibly effective, though in order for them to work properly, they need to be a consistent part of your workout (not just once a week or once every two weeks). Muscles need to be consistently stretched in order to gain flexibility, or you won’t see the results you desire.
The last thing you want to happen as you’re precariously perched on a small platform is to lose your balance. Even if you’ve worked hard on everything else we’ve discussed, without a strong sense of balance, you’ll be done in before you know it. You can work on your balance with single leg squats, single leg yoga poses (like Eagle Pose or Half Moon Pose), and work up to balance beams and slacklines.
The best part is you can work on your balance anywhere you are. Whether it’s doing a tightrope walk along a thin curb or jumping from rock to rock, you improve your balance the whole way. However, it’s important to note that balance isn’t only about body control. If you have certain issues with your eyes, ears, and joints, it can make it difficult to balance. Check in with your physician to ensure your equilibrium is in good shape.
No matter if you are trying to qualify for the next season of American Ninja Warrior, or you just want to train like it, these six steps are the best things to focus on for success. Build up your explosiveness, work on your flexibility and cardio, strengthen your balance and grip, and hone your footwork to see your best results. Come on over to Rebounderz Trampoline Park here in Sunrise to start training and see how you measure up to the Ninja Warrior greats. We hope to see you soon!