It’s really, really important to take your training outside as much as you can… it might not always been appealing but you’ve got to train outside for Australian Ninja Warrior.
Gym is for strength, outside is for tough
Let’s say that the gym is where you develop your muscles, the more you train, the stronger you get… but it’s running and climbing and jumping and leaping and hanging and swinging outside that you actually develop your tendons and your connective tissue and your stabilising muscles.
You’ll realise this as soon as you try and obstacle course somewhere… you might be able to do a pull up or two, but suddenly on some course, getting from one tire on a chain to another tire on a chain is really, really challenging… it’s those stabilising muscles that you’re missing.
You might also notice that your legs or arms or whole body gets sore from running and leaping around, and that’s exactly what you need to train and develop. Sometimes on the Ninja Warrior show, you see competitors take massive falls as they’ve leaped off an obstacle at speed. The strength and toughness to hit hard and carry on is as much practise as anything else.
AFL is a good example. Sometimes you see footballers get hit hard or monster tackled to the ground and they just spring back up. That’s because all their stabilising muscles are as strong as their main gym muscles, and their body is used to being hit. Kickboxers have to practise heaps before hitting the bag doesn’t hurt their shins anymore, Karate kids get hit heaps to deaden the nerves and strengthen the connective tissue and fascia.
You can’t run a marathon by just training on a treadmill, your feet and legs need to be hardened to the road. Running on uneven trails is so good for strengthening your ankles. Ninja Warrior seems like a sprint, but it’s more like a marathon, some competitors are toughing it out for 8 minutes or more… and if you are successful, you might be back to do it all again in a couple of days, two weeks tops. After the finale of American Ninja Warrior season 7, everyone stuck around to film a special where the competitors just kept pushing themselves to do a 35 rung salmon ladder, a 18 foot wall, etc.
You’ll need to be tough and you’ll need to be strong to take on the Ninja Warrior course. You are definitely going to make awkward falls, you’re going to have to grip on so tight that your hands would bleed if they weren’t so calloused… you’re going to have to take the hits and bounce along like nothing happened. You can not be successful any other way.
So, training in the gym is fine, get as strong as you can… but you also need to train outside, anywhere that you can find so that you can also get as tough as you can.