Have you seen this very cool, new fitness craze that has captured the hearts of American athletes and amateurs alike and is now taking hold in Australia too? Our televisions are soon to be filled with it and our gyms are slowly fitting themselves out for a new style of training. Ninja Warrior. Yes, it is as cool as the name! Today we interview a contestant on the new Aussie TV series, Adam Waring. He and his wife left their careers, family and friends so he could train in America and apply to be the first Australian on American Ninja Warrior… only to hear a few months later that Australian Ninja Warrior was being filmed in Sydney… so now he bounces between the two countries trying to compete in everything. He doesn’t have a sporting background so he started training from scratch and he’s learnt a lot from the incredibly supportive Ninja Warrior community in the US and is trying to built a similarly spectacularly supportive community here in Australia. Please warmly welcome Adam!
What is Australian Ninja Warrior?
Australian Ninja Warrior is a television show to be aired by Channel 9 in the next few months; it sets normal people as well as super athletes against an incredibly challenging obstacle course – the people who go the furthest the fastest, will go through to the next round. The show was started in Japan and there are now different versions in 18 countries. The show’s premise is incredibly simple but it’s exciting and heartbreaking watching competitors like myself jump, cry, laugh, scream and yell!
Have you attempted the Australian course?
I have and it was so much fun but you’ll have to watch to find out how I did – I’m sworn to secrecy for now.
How did your Aussie Ninja Warrior training website start?
I was having a fun time whilst training in the US for the US course and learnt a lot about the techniques for each of the obstacles, so I started my website to bring this supportive community to Australia and build it up here too. Perth already has a great Ninja community but I really want to introduce this super great sport to as many beginners as I can.
My website focus’ on various training techniques and I’ve also compiled a training manual that’s got everything in one place. I originally wrote it for myself to get my head around the different obstacles, but so many people were asking me for advice that I thought I should make it available to everyone.
You mention the US ninja warrior course, has the US show been successful?
American Ninja Warrior is so successful it’s created an entire industry. There are heaps and heaps of Ninja Gyms in America. These gyms get packed… and they’re continually booked out for kids’ birthday parties. It’s just massive.
Are there any Ninja Gyms in Australia?
There are a couple of amazing gyms that have been set up with incredible obstacles to train on and quite a few others are adding obstacles slowly. Some people build obstacles in their backyards to train on. I’ve got a list of all the gyms here (www.gyms.aussieninjawarrior.com.au).
What are these gyms like to train in?
Ninja Warrior gyms are really exciting and inspiring places to be. Unlike a normal gym where most people are working in solitude, everyone works together amongst obstacles and helps each other with advice or support. Getting an obstacle the first time is so immensely exciting and satisfying… and often followed by heaps of high fives. I’ve made amazing friends because everyone is working towards a common goal and will organise teams or road trips to compete together.
Why do you think this type of obstacle course training is something worthwhile for women to pursue?
The exciting thing about Ninja Warrior is that it’s really varied and no one body shape dominates. The female competitors are also so exciting to watch. There are obstacles that women can do better than men at because they tend to be lighter, more flexible and better balanced.
It’s also a practical skill to have, for example knowing how to jump, leap, sprint will help you a lot more than bicep curls if you were facing a situation you needed to get away from quickly.
What level of fitness do you need to begin training and what time frame would you need to prepare yourself adequately?
A lot of the American Ninjas feel that you need a year to train for the course, but most Aussies won’t get that kind of time between when the show airs and when they apply. The crazy thing about Ninja Warrior is that you’ll never know what you’re going to face, so it’s hard to specifically train for. Working towards being generally good at a few things I think is the way to go. You need to have good balance, good upper-body strength (which can be developed quicker than you think) and good fitness.
How do you recommend people interested in Aussie Warrior Ninja obstacle courses begin training?
Firstly, find a few activities that you really enjoy that might translate like parkour, rock climbing, martial arts, gymnastics, calisthenics, etc. After you’ve accidentally gotten fit, work on pullups. If you can’t do one, that’s fine, look into negative pullups and work towards one full pullup. Lastly, find a gym that has (or build your own) obstacles to get a feel for the movements. Technique does play a part… the warped wall, the salmon ladder, you can muscle through these obstacles, but if you’re not super strong then good technique will make everything so much easier.
Can you share with us a sample workout from your training manual?
Absolutely… I recently created a Ninja HIIT workout that I do once or twice a week:
- 2 minutes row
- 2 minutes skipping
- 2 minutes balancing (bosu ball, foam roller, etc)
- 5 minute dead hang, and
- 5 minute plank.
Repeat 3 times with a rest between sets.
This routine will force you to calm yourself to balance when the row and jump rope have sent your heart rate through the roof. To be honest though, the training manual is more about techniques on various obstacles and tips & tricks for the competition.