Following the popularity of NBC’s show, American Ninja Warrior (ANW), which recently wrapped up its 11th season, gyms with obstacle courses in which kids can vault, swing, climb, and dodge have popped up all over. Try out these places for fun, or train for the next season of American Ninja Warrior Junior.
“[Flow Vault] is unique in the way that it brings both parkour and Ninja Warrior professional training from basic recreational classes to competitive teams,” says owner and ANW competitor, Lorin Ball. Parkour utilizes climbing, swinging, vaulting, and tumbling to get from point A to point B, explains Ball, while ninja training focuses on obstacles modeled after the TV show, usually involving more upper body conditioning. Age five and up.
Ninja Intensity owner Brandi Lebsack opened the gym for her son. “I knew there were kids out there that didn’t love the typical or traditional sports,” she says. “We also have kids that maybe can’t do other sports due to disabilities of some sort, yet they can come to our gym and instantly become a ninja.” Ninja Intensity is always adding something new and trying to duplicate the obstacles seen on ANW. Age four and up.
In business for 14 years, Warrior Challenge Arena houses more than 120 different challenges in four categories: team challenges, personal challenges, competition games, and high-flying stunts. “Every activity is facilitated by a coach who will customize the program based on the ages, skill sets, competitiveness, and interests of the group,” says Michael Homan, owner. Age three and up.
A competitive gymnastics facility, 5280 Gymnastics features a challenging salmon ladder obstacle. “Students that are able to master it can be confident to beat the same obstacle almost anywhere else,” says 5280’s ninja director, Donielle Court. Classes are based on the curriculum created by ANW champion, Drew Drechsel. Age six and up.
Centennial and Lafayette
Ninja Nation offers many of the same iconic obstacles seen on ANW, with an emphasis on safety. “Our focus on energy, encouragement, and engagement really helps kids learn to fail and get back up again,” says Jill Cummiskey, regional director of operations. Age five and up.