The 3 best and worst training programs to make you a Ninja Warrior.

Hitting Australian screens this week is the international sensation Ninja Warrior.

The show’s mission is to search the globe country by country to test and find the best Ninja Warriors.

To be a Ninja Warrior contestants have to conquer a simple but difficult obstacle course testing elements of grip strength, agility and balance.

What’s most exciting about the show is seeing how the varied athletic backgrounds fair on the obstacle course.
Hundreds of seemingly ‘fit and capable’ contestants are subjected to nation-wide humiliation as their failed attempt and subsequent ‘wipe out’ is replayed countless times.

It’s very likely...

You are wondering to yourself…

If I was to go on Ninja Warrior what training program would have me most prepared to conquer the course?


After 3 episodes here’s what we know… (for a fact)


The 3 least capable contestants…


1. Bodybuilders


They look incredible but at the best of times are underwhelming.

Bodybuilders who train primarily for looks and have no athletic background (yes there was one former pro athlete turned bodybuilder) were incapable of using their bulging biceps for the requirements of the course.

Bodybuilding focuses on aesthetics not performance. This means more time in the mirrors, more time on machines and more time in the kitchen perfecting their diet.

This is less time balancing, jumping and climbing.

Another aspect to consider is the majority of their training involves moving external objects through space. Whereas the course requires the opposite.
It requires them to move their body (internal object) through space.

So yes looks can be deceiving. They look athletic but lack athleticism.


2. Swimmers


Whilst there were not a lot of swimmers on the show you can see why contestants who spent a good majority of their training in the water were not prepared for course.

Swimmers have huge engines and powerful shoulders but the specialist nature of their sport/training makes them poor ninjas.


3. Fitness enthusiast programs (Run clubs, F45 & boot camp)

Only 1 or 2 of these contestants made an appearance on the show.
Their lack of representation makes it clear they are not prepared for the ninja warrior course.

As seriously as people take these training programs often doing 12+ sessions a week there is just not the right exposure to gymnastics and bodyweight strength training.  

These programs are designed to help people with weight management and a healthy lifestyle.

Excelling as a high performance athlete is not the focus of these programs.

So unfortunately no matter how many classes you do it is highly unlikely you will ever be a Ninja Warrior.


The 3 most capable contestants…


Keeping in mind before you read this…
YES... there are contestants who are from the following three training types which have wiped out.
There will never be a perfect program.

The training types represented below have been proven to be the MOST capable. No training background guarantees success on the course but these three give you a fighting chance.


The 3 most capable contestants


1. Acrobats (stuntmen/parkour)


Being a master of your own bodyweight is essential for these athletes. Their body control and spatial awareness is second to none.

What is most impressive about these athletes is their ability to avoid danger.

Their training often requires them to risk serious injury.
Practicing these unpredictable scenarios is what the Ninja Warrior course is all about.

Balancing across uneven surfaces, running up walls and jumping from object to object in their training has these athletes well prepared to be ninjas.


2. CrossFit


Close to one of the most well represented disciplines CrossFitters have had mostly positive results on the course.

One thing CrossFit athletes have above all others is superior conditioning.

You may not think this is important but let’s look at why it is...

Unlike the other contestants the CrossFitters train their grip, jumping and climbing under extreme fatigue.
This gives them a superior ability to recover faster between obstacles. This results in less fatigue through the entire course and faster completion times.

Because the CrossFit contestants are more enduring at jumping, swinging, gripping and pulling they are often left fist in the air wanting more.


3. Rock climbers & Gymnasts

The masters of upper body strength. Gymnasts and rock climbers are some of the more popular contestants on the show.
Their freak grip and upper body strength comes from countless years of hanging, climbing and pulling their own weight around.


Whether it be a vertical wall climb or a routine on the bars these athletes know how to hold on.


Another characteristic they excel in is catching themselves with their hands only. At least one obstacle in every episode requires contestants to leap and catch their body weight in their hands.
This is a basic skill all gymnasts and climbers train.
They are very well equipped for the Ninja course.

So if you’re looking to become a Ninja Warrior this is what it takes.

Good luck to all the future and current contestants.