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American Ninja Warrior Workout and Hot Guy Stephen Amell

salmon ladder workout, crossfit gloves, stephen amell, american ninja warrior workout, hot shirtless guysRecently I had a client ask me if I could put him through an “American Ninja Warrior workout.”  Interesting because we’ve been focusing on bootcamp style / crossfit workouts lately, and training for something like this obstacle competition would be pretty similar.  Let’s start from the beginning…

What is an American Ninja Warrior workout?  It’s based on the TV show American Ninja Warrior which is actually a spinoff of the original Japanese version called Sasuke.   On the show contestants compete for the fastest time to complete a grueling and challenging obstacle course.  Not only is their physical fitness and athleticism tested, but their mental agility as well. You thought your crossfit #wod was tough!

The challenges vary with the obstacle course so it seems appropriate that an American Ninja Warrior Workout would incorporate a circuit of exercises as well.

To begin with I should start out by saying that if you can’t complete a basic pull up or chin up you might as well stop reading right now.  Not only are you never going to be able to compete in the actual competition (as if you were planning on it) but nearly every obstacle requires the same strength required to perform a pullup!  You can read the article Pull Up – Build A Bigger Back to review proper form.   The chin up or pull up is one of the most effective upper body exercises you can do!

Some of the American Ninja Warrior Workout obstacles that will benefit from your mastery of the pull up includes the Arm Rings, Devil Steps and Salmon Ladder.

Arm Rings – Pretty self-explanatory, but they’re the hanging metal rings.  If you don’t have them in your gym or studio you may have a TRX (yellow straps) available. A great beginner exercise is performing a basic row.  Some crossfit fans who are more highly conditioned will be able to do a full muscle up on the rings!

Devil Steps – are appropriately named!  Imagine a set of ascending and descending steps or a staircase.  To perform this exercise the contestant “climbs” the stairs by grabbing on and progressing to each stair using only upper body (and grip strength).  Rock climbing athletes will be familiar with this move.

What is the Salmon Ladder?  Think of a variation of a very challenging pull-up with a bit of kipping and plyometrics thrown in.  (Kipping refers to bucking or jerking your whole body to increase momentum up to the bar. Basically the opposite of a dead lift pull up.) A Salmon Ladder in the gym is a strange looking apparatus to be sure.  Imagine a pull up bar which is suspended between two support columns.  Below and above that pull up bar would be several steps or notches.  To perform a Salmon Ladder exercise one jumps the pull up bar up one step to each consecutive step until you reach the top.  You’re using only your own upper body strength and momentum to complete the set!