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How to train for 'American Ninja Warrior'

By: Russell McLendon on Sept. 15, 2015, 9:45 a.m.
American Ninja Warrior balance bridge

Photo: Jason Parra/NBC

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Amid all the action on "ANW," simply staying upright may not seem worth extra practice. But top athletes still tumble from the show's wobbly bridges, and many other obstacles also subtly test balance. The Mayo Clinic suggests starting with basic exercises like leg shifts and one-leg stands, then trying trickier feats like curling dumbbells while standing on a pillow with one leg. If that sounds too convoluted, you can always just walk on a balance beam, a short wall or a high curb.

To be a ninja, though, you'll also need another kind of balance: mental stability. Anxiety and anger easily disrupt focus, and even too much excitement can endanger your groove. Serene, slow-burning exercises like trail running may help breed emotional composure in athletic events, but meditation likely offers the most Zen path to ninja nirvana — not to mention bonus health benefits like pain relief, heart health and happiness.