Tuesday, July 24, 2012

American Ninja Challenge

I caught this show on NBC last night and was really sucked in.  Competitors attempt to complete a series of obstacle courses.  The first two stages are timed and none of the competitors finished the untimed 3rd stage.  The winner of the challenge is entered into Sasuke, a Japanese sports show.  Only 3 competitors have completed all four stages.

I was very impressed by the nature of the challenges.  I missed stage 1.  Stage 2, consisted of these power, strength, grip obstacles that stressed not only grip and core strength, but power to weight ratio.  I have seen cross fit challenges, but these exercises were completely over the top.  I have a hard enough time doing a pull-up, but the salmon ladder had a bar that you would swing up and catch on a set of hooks above the hooks you started on.

The athletes were rock climbers, martial arts enthusiasts, military and others.  One of the more successful competitors from a previous season was a software developer and father of 3 kids.  The original season was based on mail in videos showing your prowess and then 100 competitors were selected.  Currently there are four tryouts and about 1000 competitors were whittled down to 100 to compete in the finals in Las Vegas.  24 competitors made it through stage 1 and only 1 completed stage 2.  He got passed the cliffhanger which had foiled all previous competitors, but could not get through the inverted rock wall. 

While there are 40 year olds who have competed, it is not on my list of goals.  I am more concerned with functional strength and plan to spend more time on the monkey bars when I take the girls to the park.

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