The Ninja Warrior franchise is known for attracting some of the fittest and most driven people in the world—but you don’t compete in those outlandish obstacle courses, which require extraordinary amounts of strength, coordination, and endurance, without first passing a rigorous audition process.
In a recent video, Australian YouTuber Ben Polson undertook the physical fitness test that all applicants on Ninja Warrior must complete before they can be considered to take part in the show.
The test begins with 10 explosive pullups, followed by a series of exercises on the pullup bar known as the “pyramid of death”: 20 seconds of hands to knees, a 10-second dead hang, 10 seconds with the arms locked at 90 degrees (ensuring that your head is kept fully above and not touching the bar at any point), and then 10 seconds at full lock. This sequence is then performed again in reverse, and finished off by dismounting the bar in a precision lache, to demonstrate that you can land without staggering.
“If you accidentally fall off the bar at any point in the workout, you are officially disqualified,” says Polson. This entire routine is performed twice, and in between, while the forearms are recovering, participants perform the “half-time burner”: 40 bicycle crunches, and 10 burpees.
The video includes footage of Polson completing the grueling test in full, and providing commentary. For instance, he says that during the pullups, a kipping motion is allowed, and in fact he encourages it. And the lache technique might take some serious practice: “Make sure you know how to build up a swing, get that momentum, and stick the landing.”
But it’s after the burner, during the second pyramid of death, that things get truly difficult. “This is where the forearms will really be tested,” he says, “and what will separate the new ninjas from the more experienced ninjas.”
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