Australian Ninja Warrior is the ultimate test of pure athleticism.
The obstacles demand an elite blend of speed, strength and power. They also require more intangible skills: the balance of a gymnast, the accuracy of an archer, the proprioception of a trapeze artist.
So you’d think the audition workout would require outlandish shows of gymnastic athleticism.
The workout is simple. Dead simple. But it’s also hard. Very hard. I know, because I did it (that's me below).
Here’s how it works...
Complete the each of four exercises below for five minutes straight, with each five-minute block separated by a 60-second rest. So, hold a plank for five minutes, rest 60 seconds, then do five minutes of burpee chin-ups and so on. Judges will be watching carefully, scoring you on each five-minute block.
Plank (on your elbows)
For the first five-minute block, the judges are looking for rock-solid stability. No bum-raising, no hip-sagging, no head-bobbing. Also, aim to keep your facial expressions under control: no grimacing or groaning. The judges expect you to hold this with relative ease (I did – just). If you can’t hold a plank for five minutes, you’re little to no chance of making the cut.
If you’ve got tricks (single-arm chins, muscle-ups, single arm muscle-ups) now’s the time to pull them out. If you don’t have tricks (like me), the judges are looking for a fast but consistent tempo. They don’t want to see you burning out at the two-minute mark after nailing 20 reps in the first 60 seconds. I managed 37 reps in total. I was told this was “passable”.
This sounds simple but is actually torture of the highest grade. Your grip will already be fatigued after the chin-ups – a dead hang will finish it off. Rest assured almost no one will last the full five minutes (pro rock climbers excluded) so your aim is to hang as long as possible. I scraped past the two-minute mark before dropping off. The scalding pain in my fingers was difficult to describe. After that first drop, I could barely last 30 seconds before sliding off the bar. Not good enough.
Again, if you’ve got tricks (cross-overs, double-unders, triple-unders) unveil them here. If you don’t have tricks – me again! – aim to hold a consistent tempo without catching the rope on your feet too often. I found the most difficult part of this section was simply holding the skipping-rope handles – my hands and forearms had been obliterated by the chin-ups and dead hang. By the three-minute mark of this section I could barely manage 10 consecutive reps without tripping over the rope. Again, not good enough.
Now, admittedly, I didn’t audition for the show – I completed this workout as a Men’s Health media rep.
But would I have made it on to the show given my performance? The judges grimaced. Borderline, they said.
My guess? No chance.
Want more short, sharp and brutally tough workouts? Try this: