The course features multiple obstacles that are meant to stop competitors in their tracks, keeping them from hitting the buzzer that is awaiting them beyond the final obstacle. The competitors are often in the best shape of their lives as they hang, jump, hold onto and run up several different obstacles.
It’s American Ninja Warrior, a sport that has emerged from a television show in Japan that challenges athletes to test their athletic ability. It has gained popularity in the states and now, on February 10 and February 11, it’s coming to the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
Not only will there be a full American Ninja Warrior contest February 10, but this American Ninja Warrior Experience event will give kids and adults the opportunity to compete on the course as well. While adults will be able to run the adult course for $89 a ticket, kids can participate on their own course for $49, and spectators can view the event for $30.
It’s a perfect event for athletes of all ages to test their skills on the many obstacles that American Ninja Warrior has to offer. They can also join a sport that is growing in popularity.
“We want to give people, all across the country, the chance to try this sport and if they like it, to continue to train in it and have an outlet to compete in it and keep this sport growing,” says Vice President of Marketing for American Ninja Warrior Experience, Heather Bardocz.
American Ninja Warrior athletes Grant McCartney and Barclay Stockett can attest to the sport’s benefits. Both came from different backgrounds, but have still had success in the sport.
Stockett was a gymnast from the age of 12 who had a pipe dream of reaching the Olympics. McCartney has played several sports throughout his career including baseball, football, rugby and soccer. While they both came from different backgrounds, their athletic experience has contributed to their success on the course.
“I didn’t do as many different sports as Grant did,” Stockett says. “But, I think the more sports that you’re able to do the better off you are, because Ninja takes little pieces from so many different sports. I feel like gymnastics really prepared me well because of the strength building, the body awareness and air awareness.”
Multiple American Ninja Warrior obstacles like the big dipper and the cliff hanger challenge athletes to hang high above the water or jump from one piece of equipment to the next. McCartney believes his background in extreme sports like skateboarding has helped with the fear factor involved.
“Like when your dismounting or jumping off of something, it never scares me and it helps with the fear side of it,” McCartney says. “The skill side of it, there’s just different areas of all the sports that come in at random times.”
Even with their natural athletic ability, both athletes still train in several different ways to compete in, and be successful, at the American Ninja Warrior events. McCartney and Barclay say they do obstacle specific training, but they take part in other sports as well, like rock climbing and cross fit.
They say rock climbing helps with the grip strength and endurance needed for the obstacles, while cross fit helps with the mental training aspect of competing against a clock.
American Ninja Warrior gave both athletes an outlet for several different reasons and they both say there are many different ways to get involved.
“American Ninja Warrior Experience is a great way to start because you are getting experience on the obstacles built by the ATS team, who builds all the obstacles for TV show,” Stockett says. “Then, you can train for it by looking up American Ninja Warrior gyms in your area because they are popping up all over the place.”
American Ninja Warrior, University of Phoenix Stadium, 1 Cardinals Drive, Glendale, universityofphoenixstadium.com, anwexperience.com, various times for different events, Saturday, February 10, and Sunday, February 11, $32-$120.