The ultimate, action-packed competition series, American Ninja Warrior, is back on the NBC networks for its seventh season. The program which airs on both NBC and the Esquire network, is set to premiere its brand new season on both networks starting on Monday, May 25. American Ninja Warrior is hosted by Akbar Gbajabiamila, Matt Iseman and Kristine Leahy (she is officially listed as co-host).
Contestants on American Ninja Warrior must contend with the ultimate obstacle course, with a prize of $1 million dollars, as well as overwhelming bragging rights. As the program moves forward, the course gets more challenging as obstacles are added, until the very end. On top of the classic obstacles such as the warped wall and the salmon ladder, there are 23 new obstacles for this season. The national finals include a four stage obstacle course known as Mount Midoriyama, named after the original course out of Japan. The competition is a test of each of the competitors over-all strength, balance, endurance, grip strength and upper body strength.
Another aspect of the show is the large variety of contestants who take part in the competition. These are individuals with all different backgrounds, from doctors to weathermen, firefighters and gymnasts, some contestants are experts in rock climbing, while others engage in parkour. In fact, on this season of American Ninja Warrior one of the competitors is a punter for the Seahawks, Jon Ryan. While other NFL players spend their summer’s training, Ryan is training in an entirely different manner.
Ryan has apparently been training for NBC’s American Ninja Warrior’s return for awhile. In an interview to help promote the show, he said that in the NFL, the workouts are full body, but for the contest he has been focusing more on not only doing pullups, but also “ninja-specific type things.” This year, Ryan’s training has included more than the normal workouts required for his football team. He has even posted pictures to his Instagram account of his American Ninja Warrior training sessions.
In this new season, there are more contestants competing than ever before. There are over 700 contestants looking to be the first to ever complete the final stage of competition and make it to the top of Mount Midoriyama. The 2015 season kicks off with the first qualifying competition in Venice Beach, California. After that first stop, the competition will also go to a number of other cities before making it to the final destination in Las Vegas, Nevada. The other cities on the American Ninja Warrior circuit are Houston, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Orlando (the Universal Studios).
For this newest season on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior, there will also be two special episodes. These episodes see the series team up with Got Your 6, a nonprofit organization for military veterans. Both of these episodes will feature a cast of strictly an all-military group of contestants. These individuals will be either retired or active duty military personnel. With dual airings of the program on the Esquire and NBC networks, new episodes begin airing on NBC on May 25 and on Esquire on May 26.
By Kimberley Spinney
Esquire Network: American Ninja Warrior
NBC: About American Ninja Warrior
Fox Sports: Seahawks punter Jon Ryan competes in ‘American Ninja Warrior’
Photo Courtesy of slownsilent’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License