So you want to become a ninja warrior and don’t know where to start? Today, you’re in luck as The Ninja’s Edge has gathered all our training exercises and recommended reps in this feature for ninja warriors who are serious about training. All of the exercises listed below are for full body conditioning and you will feel a significant difference in your strength and agility when performing challenging obstacles.
Pull-Ups, Push-Ups, Leg Lifts
Ninja obstacles require mostly upper body strength, so focusing your efforts on arm, shoulder, and back muscles certainly won’t hurt. Most American Ninja Warriors love pull-ups, push-ups, and leg lifts for their training.
The Ninja’s Edge Tip: First, find out the maximum number of pull-ups, push-ups, and leg lifts you can do (for leg lifts, hang from a bar, then touch toes to the bar). Test an exercise, then wait a minute to recover, and then test the next exercise. Once you know what your max numbers are, divide them by half, and you’ve got your “half max.” Use those numbers for this routine.
Pull-ups (half max)
Rest 1 minute
Push-ups (half max)
Rest 1 minute
Leg lifts (half max)
Rest 1 minute
Repeat until you’ve hit 100 pull-ups total. If you already know your half max numbers, you don’t need to re-test to start the workout.
Ninja Warriors need serious grip strength. For many obstacles, it’s what is supporting your entire body’s weight. Head to a rock-climbing gym and do the following on a hang board:
Do the first 10 percent of a pull-up (so you’re pulling up only a couple inches) and hold as long as you can. This will engage your muscles without relying on your skeleton for support. Drop down when you’re tired; rest one minute. Repeat once in each hand position. Start with at least three increasingly difficult hangs for six total sets.
The idea is to work varying grips. This will give you contact strength, or the ability to grab onto a bar, ring, ledge, or handle in an obstacle with 100 percent force so you don’t drop. Start by using bigger grips — like holding on with your full hand — then gradually progress to smaller grips, like a two finger hold or hanging by the tips of your fingers only.
The Ninja’s Edge Tip: Can’t get to a rock wall? Use the pull-up bar at your gym, working from a full-palm grip to fingertips.
General Ninja Warrior Training Tips
- Be prepared to train 5-6 times a week, but do not overtrain. Keep at least 1 day per week for rest. Don’t risk injuries like muscle tears and tendon inflammations due to overtraining. If you feel pain somewhere, take some time to recover. You surely don’t want to have longer setbacks in your training.
- Set yourself small and incremental goals. This way you will stay motivated and have lots of successes to celebrate.
- Before each workout, warm up and do some dynamic stretching of your whole body, but especially the upper part to minimize the risk for injury. Do this for at least 10 minutes.
- Use foam rolling and deep tissue massage for further enhancing your flexibility and loosening tight muscles.
- Eating right is as important as doing the right exercises. You want to build up muscles, but don’t build up fat. Getting lean and improving your strength-to-weight ratio must be your goal. Any fat you are carrying while hanging on some obstacles will deplete your stamina unnecessarily. The lighter you can get while building up muscles at the same time, the better your performance will be. For some, this means dieting while training. Make sure to digest plenty of protein for muscle development if that’s the case.
If you’re in Michigan and think you’re ready to train like a ninja warrior in an obstacle gym, register for Ninja Warrior classes today.