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What it Takes to Become the Next American Ninja Warrior

It made its debut 12 seasons ago in December of 2009 as a spin off from the popular Sasuke. Sasukse is a Japanese sports entertainment show in which 100 people attempt to complete a four-stage obstacle course with the end goal of being the last man standing. It’s so popular in fact, that an edited version, aptly named Ninja Warrior, is screened in at least 18 other countries worldwide. If you guessed I was talking about American Ninja Warrior, you’d be right! An obstacle course at it’s foundation is essentially a series of challenging physical obstacles an individual, team or animal must navigate, under certain time constraints.

So why are we talking about American Ninja Warrior now? Because one of our very own got the call & is heading to California to try & become the next American Ninja Warrior. Tage Herrington & his family will head out West the second weekend of March to compete in the initial phase of ANW, a city qualifier. What exactly does Tage have to do in order to reach his goal?

Prior to being considered eligible for the competition, contestants have to meet several requirements including but not limited to,

  • Being a legal resident of the US

  • Contestants must be in decent physical shape

  • There is no max age limit & for the first nine seasons the minimum age to compete was 21 years old however, luckily for Tage it has since been amended to 19

  • The contestant must make a video about themselves as well as fill out a 20 page questionnaire.

Once those initial requirements are met then the real fun begins! First, contestants are invited to compete at a city qualifier which consists of six different obstacles, five of which are built over water, the point being if at any point in time, someone touches the water, their run is effectively over. The sixth obstacle is essentially up to the competitor, they can choose between the 14’6” warped wall or the 18’ mega wall. Choosing the mega wall has it’s perks as competitors have the opportunity to win between $2,000 and $10,000 if they can successfully make it to the top within three attempts.

The top 30 competitors from the city qualifier will advance to the city finals course which is held the very next day. In addition to the six obstacles introduced the day before, competitors will have to make it past four new obstacles. The top 15 people who make it the furthest in the least amount of time will be packing their bags & heading to the national finals in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are also opportunities to win cash prizes at this stage for placing top three consisting of $1000 to $5000.

Getting to the national finals is certainly not a walk in the park & once there, competitors will find that the challenges only escalate, after all $1,000,000 is on the line. The national finals consist of four different stages. Stage one has eight obstacles & will test competitors’ on their speed & agility. In order to move on to stage two, these eight obstacles must be completed in 2:35 or less. Stage two consists of only six obstacles & will test competitors on their strength & speed, they will have 4:30 to get through these obstacles in order to advance to the next stage. Stage three goes back to eight obstacles that will test the contestants’ upper body & grip strength. This stage has no time limit & instead counts up in order to act as a tie breaker in the case that no one gets past all the obstacles. The coveted stage four contains the final obstacle of the entire competition which is a 65 ft rope & needs to be climbed in :30 seconds or less.

Obviously it takes quite a bit to be crowned the next American Ninja Warrior & if you’re considering giving it a go, you’ll need to focus on training your speed, endurance, agility, balance, quickness & stabilization. There are specialty gyms all over town that can help you with this. In addition to training at Back to Health of Anthem, Tage trains at both a ninja gym as well as a rock climbing gym. If he makes it through the initial stage, he will more than likely be making his TV debut as well & we will make certain to keep you posted on the potential viewing party!


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