Top 5 Qualities for a Ninja Warrior
The Ninja phenomenon is real.
I was lucky enough to be one of 250 people to be chosen to compete on Season 1 of Australian Ninja Warrior. The experience was absolutely nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time! Performing in front of hundreds of people, with every camera on you, I can’t describe to you the pressure.
The Ninja warrior franchise has exploded around the world over the last 10 years since the USA adopted the format from the original Japanese series, Sasuke which has had an impressive 33 season run. Ninja warrior consists of a variety of different obstacles which are uniquely designed each season to test every quality of fitness. You can be the best athlete on the planet in a particular sport and still stuff up the first obstacle. It’s a total package to be a ninja. From my experience of competing and a year of training, this is what you need to know!
1. GRIP STRENGTH
Grip strength is number 1. Majority of obstacles on the show (like the salmon ladder) are upper-body dominated meaning your ability to hold on to things will determine how far you get. The hands really take a beating so proper conditioning needs to be done well before you take on the course. This can’t be neglected and takes time to improve. Rock climbing is a great way to develop strength or doing a dead hang exercise. As your grip becomes better you can start to work on your back strength as a whole which critical for strong powerful moves like a lache. Building your pull-ups ultimately is the best way to get that strength.
2. CORE STRENGTH
Very important. Your ability to generate power from your core to get off an obstacle, or remain balanced can be the difference between victory and taking a drink in the pool. Balance obstacles I remember from season 1, took out a lot of people. The obstacles can spin under your feet or drop entirely from underneath you so being light on your feet is essential! Hollow rocks & holds are a fantastic way to develop that core stability and slacklining for balance!
3. POWER IN THE LEGS
The warped wall is intimidating. Running 4.2m up a wall that curves back sounds crazy. If you want to get through the qualifiers then you need to run up that wall. The ability to sprint
and power through your strides is crucial. You want to make sure you don’t slow down. As you run up the wall, you need lean back slightly. This keeps your feet on the wall which gives you more traction. Run as high as you can while leaning back and then jump up to grab the top on your last step.
Despite only being a 3-7 min run, endurance is important. Grip endurance is what separates the elite from the rookie. Climbing is the best way to develop that endurance, but if that’s not an option doing time trials on a rower is a good back up.
This is everything. The feeling of every camera and person watching you is immense. Your ability to tune out the crowd and noise is critical. I have a game plan with my obstacles, I try and work them out before I step onto the course and make sure I respect each obstacle I get to.