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10 Reasons to Watch American Ninja Warrior

Updated on June 25, 2015

Now starting its seventh season on United States television, the show American Ninja Warrior began on G4 and has moved to NBC's primetime channel. Contestants compete in a series of obstacles hoping to advance through city finals, then more difficult Stages 2 and 3, and finally Mt. Midoriyama.

Now on to the list!

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1. Great Fitness Role Models

One thing about this show, everyone who participates is in great shape. You have to be to compete. Any extra body weight will hurt you. From gymnastics to parkour, to rock climbing - every athlete has to have a great combination of strength, balance, and endurance.

If you're not motivated to get up off the couch and exercise, you're probably in the minority.

2. Great Backstories

The show does a really nice job of highlighting its top competitors and letting everyone into their lives. With great nicknames like The Professor, The Weatherman, and The Spartan to name a few, you really get to connect with the contestants.

Here are some notable competitors from 2013 according to Wiki:

Tennessee Titans safety Jordan Babineaux, freerunners from Jump City: Seattle Brian Orosco, Michael "Frosti" Zernow, David "Flip" Rodriguez, Drew Drechsel, Jake Smith and Brent Steffensen (the first American to complete stage 2). His run ended on stage 3 the "Ultimate Cliffhanger" obstacle, Sasuke (TV series) & ANW veteran David Campbell, stunt-woman Jessie Graff (first woman in ANW history to make it to a regional finals [8]), personal trainer/former American Gladiator "Venom" Beth Horn, world champion freerunner Tim "Livewire" Shieff, Harlem Globetrotter William "Bull" Bullard, "Artix" (a.k.a. Adam Bohn) from the video game studio Artix Entertainment, Olympic Gold Medalist runners Dee Dee Trotter and Lauryn Williams, Olympic Silver Medalist heptathlon athlete Hyleas Fountain, 7th grade English teacher Colby Frontiero, Emergency Room physician Noah Kaufman, MD who reduced another competitor's dislocated shoulder [9] (Alan Connealy,) former National Guardsman & ANW veteran Ryan Stratis, professional MMA fighter Jason Soares, Olympic silver medalist gymnast Terin Humphrey, former professional snowboarder Graham Watanabe, professional UFC MMA fighter and The Ultimate Fighter season 14 winner John Dodson, and former NFL player Shawne Merriman.

3. Epic Crashes

Much like Wipeout, when contestants exit the course, they can go out rough. This year we've seen a few dislocated shoulders, an achilles injury, and one guy smashing his face into the warped wall.

4. Age is Only a Number

Grandpa ninjas!! The show has featured multiple contestants older than fifty years of age and they are all in phenomenal shape. Talk about being a great role model for a whole generation of people.

The oldest to complete the qualifying course was is Kevin Antoinne at 53 years old. See another inspiring run from older competitor Michael Moore below.

5. The Women Have Now Come to Play

In the first five seasons, no woman had completed the city qualifying course. So far, in 2014, three women have tackled the course. Kacy Catanzaro, who is only 5' tall, became the first to complete the course in the Dallas Qualifying. Michelle Warnky and Meagan Martin would follow in subsequent episodes.

Catanzaro followed up her six event qualifying run by conquering the ten-event city finals in the July 14th episode on a course where only a six of twenty-nine male contestants could finish.

What's really impressive for five-foot-tall Catanzaro is that the warped wall obstacle is 14 feet to the top.

6. The Top Athletes are Absolute Freaks

To see what some of these guys can accomplish is amazing. A lot of them are parkour specialists, others are just incredible rock climbers. Just watch the first video below by Ethan Swanson to see a great example, especially around the fifty second mark.

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7. Costumed Heroes

Every season, people come up with some great outfits to run the course in. So far this season, we've had a gold disco suit, a guy competing in a professor's outfit, and the spartan.

8. Schadenfreude

scha·den·freu·de

noun, often capitalized \ˈshä-dən-ˌfrȯi-də\

: a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people


Admit it, you want to see someone crash and burn. As much as you want to get behind some of the competitors, there are others where you're just like, "man, I can't wait to see this fall."

9. National Pride

So far, only three men have completed Mt. Midoriyama and they're all Japanese. If anything, to give the contestants some more support should help an American finish the course.

10. Every Year, Someone Seems to Go Further

The bar seems to get pushed a little further each year, not only for the women, but for the men. Sooner of later, an American will join the three Japanese men who have completed the course.

Below are the 2012, 2013 Finals, and a clip from 2014's USA vs. the World. Should be interesting to see the 2015 ones later this Summer.

Eventually, someone's going to make it. It should be a great moment that you'll want to see.

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