American Ninja Warrior Workout – Ben Melick Q & AGymPaws
This season fans of American Ninja Warrior are tuning in to watch in record numbers! Tonight’s episode is Stage 1 of the Las Vegas finals with the finale winner to be determined over the next couple of weeks. Back in June we saw Los Angeles Personal Trainer Ben Melick compete in the series premiere. When I found out he made it through to the finals, I decided to track him down and get some inside scoop on what an American Ninja Warrior workout looks like… straight from the source!
GymPaws: How did you train for the show and the other obstacle courses you do?
Ben: To train for American Ninja Warrior I like to do a little bit of everything. This competition tests all aspects of athleticism such as balance, agility, grip strength, muscle strength, coordination and mental strategy.
Of course strength training is needed but typical machines and weight training will only get you so far. I like to train a lot of calisthenics(body weight) and plyometrics. Getting through the insane obstacles requires carrying your body through it. Doing simple movements like pull-ups/push-ups/ body weight squats are a good start. Climbing ropes are also excellent upper body and grip strength builders.
Advancing to explosive movements like muscle-ups/box jumps/stairs will benefit you even more. Another good form of strength and grip training is bouldering or rock climbing. This will help with flexibility, grip strength and strategizing/problem solving. I even climb trees(I’m Tarzan).
Next you should focus on balance such as slack lining, balance beams and railing are a good way. Get creative with this one. Jumping from one thing to another will help build up your body awareness and confidence. Even better is to find a parkour/free-running gym. Parkour is a great way to learn how to move your body and gain confidence in movement.
Check out Ben demonstrating Laches from Ropes to Cannonballs:
GymPaws: What type of training or “American Ninja Warrior Workout” would you suggest for the average guy to start conditioning for something like this?
Ben: Well, the best way to train is to train on the actual obstacles of ones built to mimic them. There are dozens of ninja/obstacle gyms popping up all around the country. And they are getting better and better. You can actually train on obstacles from the show. Some gyms are starting to hold Ninja competitions wtih actual competitions which simulates the pressure contestants feel on the show. I attend almost one a month here in California.
The main thing is to try and hit all aspects of training. Focusing a little on everything. Start with the basics and work your way up but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. You’d be surprised what you can accomplish!
If you’re in the Los Angeles area and would like to train with Ben, you can connect with him on Facebook here.