Ninja Warrior Training: Balance & Jumping Simple Assessment
We are back for another round of assessments. Balance & Jumping are indicators of athleticism, unfortunately training these for most adults is not going to greatly improve performance for general balance or jumping. It can improve movement in the situations that are similar to what you are training. An example of what I mean is that as an adult, most of your coordination and spatial awareness is already set. So training on a slack line and getting great at it will not greatly improve your balance while playing a game of soccer with friends. What can be improved a lot is the skill you are working on. So if you train running across unstable objects, Bosu Ball or Balance Pods, you will get really good at that skill. Or if you train on a slack line, you will get good at that and very similar surfaces. If you can master a slack line, then a solid balance beam will be simple because the movement is very similar in nature. If you train on a slack line slowly and controlled it isn’t going to have a great transfer over to running/bounding across the Floating Tiles. Now if you’re capable of jumping/bounding 20+ feet along a slack line and maintain balance the whole time, then you are training a similar skill. So let’s get started on this break down.
Balance & Jumping:
Feet Moving, Horizontal Sprints, Horizontal Objects are pretty simple concepts. You’re running across stuff quickly. This is something that is great to train on rest days or between hard rounds of other obstacle training. Most people know if they have good balance, but the variety available in this category allows everyone to challenge themselves. Jumping, hopping, walking on hand rails, slack line, jumping from an unstable surface, jumping onto an unstable surface, ext.
Feet Landing can be slightly more difficult. Running across a balance beam is easier than a slow controlled movement. Landing and being able to control yourself to stop completely is more difficult because it takes some understanding of how your body needs to lean to counter the momentum you have built up. Simply working on broad jumps and landing correctly with knees bent is a good start. Then work on swinging on objects then land at a target location. Another fun one is to run across objects and stop on the last object. We will do this for time so that you have to move quickly and stop quickly. Once again most people have a good understanding of their abilities here.
Body Hanging Control is not a normal person thing. Most people will struggle with this, but can make rapid improvements. This is your ability to control your body while hanging from your hands. Rock climbers & Gymnast excel at this. The cool static holds are amazing examples of this. Like the Side Lever(human flag) or Front Lever. Not the most exciting category to work on, but very helpful to recover from slips or screw ups. So work on hanging from a bar or ledge and work on slow controlled leg raises and/or monkey bars without a lot of momentum.
Body Swinging Control is used to generate momentum so that we can cover distances that would not be possible simply by reach out with 1 hand. Not a normal thing in most people’s lives, but the understanding comes quickly. Once the motion is understood this gets all of its training during regular Ninja training. So start from a dead hang, pull knees up to chest and kick out. This should start the motion and then like a swing and the playground repeat the motion until you have adequate swing. A general concept is that your feet should swing high enough to almost touch your next target for lache jumps.
For most Ninja Warriors the Climbing part is the large focus, but these other aspects are important as well. The climbing is a large % of the American Ninja Warrior courses, but we shouldn’t neglect the rest. The Balance & Jumping portions also allow us to train harder while giving our hands their much needed recovery time. One point we bring up a lot is the balance obstacles tend to be an all or nothing thing. If you are doing the Ring Toss and miss a peg, strength can save you while you hang from 1 hand. If you are running across a balance obstacle and miss a step you can’t save yourself, you are just swimming. More of Chaos’s competitors went out this year on balance obstacles than the strength obstacles. Please don’t neglect this side of your Ninja Training. Our competitors have adapted an almost unhealthy addiction to slack lines since the show.
As always, thank you for taking time to check out my blog. Next up will be a 3-day general plan. Please leave a comment to let me know what you think or would like some more information on.