Blog: Challenging Yourself with an Obstacle Course

YMCA staff and gym member Emma with fiancé  Nick
Emma with fiancé Nick

Blog by YMCA Staff member Emma Sleight

I recently visited Sheffield’s Ninja Warrior Adventure Park and had a go at a course replicating the tv show’s iconic obstacles. For those who may not know, Ninja Warrior UK is a physical obstacle assault course tv game show which tests the speed, strength and agility of participants. Me being me (ultra-competitive), I knew I wanted to give it my all, whereas other participants in the group viewed it as time to have some fun – I do wish I was more like that sometimes!

Anyway, after signing up and waiting to get onto the course, I could see all the obstacles in front of us. We opted for using gloves which turned out to be a good move for some of us as they proved to be a huge help traversing the course! For others, the gloves ripped which wasn’t so great. On starting, the more eager members of the group couldn’t contain their excitement and dove straight in, taking on the obstacles immediately. I, on the other hand, liking to suss each one out, made a plan of action – very similar to how I act when taking on an OCR (Obstacle Course Race) to be honest! Because the course was so busy, we began our attempt at the obstacles in reverse.

The obstacles

The first obstacle was extremely tricky, three spinning wheels at various heights which we had to navigate across. A long reach and getting into a rhythm was definitely required! Those of us who are somewhat vertically challenged really struggled with that obstacle!
Next was another tough obstacle, a set of three poles which you had to grip onto and navigate across. I ended up spinning around these ones!! The following obstacle, I had to swing from bars that were moving automatically which I found incredibly difficult. It took a number of attempts to complete but I knew I could do it and on the final attempt, I did it! What’s the saying? If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Other notable obstacles we encountered were the jigsaw movable holds which were pretty tough especially as it had another section to it which made it doubly difficult! I also really enjoyed the first obstacle which consisted of rings and involved using your body weight to move the rings to different heights whilst moving forward. I think visually this one is the easiest to explain!

Sadly, I didn’t get to have a go on the infamous warped wall – there were so many people waiting for it. I personally thought that the main obstacles were more challenging anyway! They tested numerous aspects of my fitness such as grip strength, overall upper body strength and most certainly core strength! I absolutely enjoyed the challenge, both physically and mentally but can assure you I ached the following day.

Learning about your fitness

Taking part also encouraged me to address areas of potential weakness in my physical abilities, which I found to be really useful. So I’ve started attending CrossFit at YMCA Gym to improve my strength, working specifically on grip strength, olympic lifts and gymnastic movements. If I attempted the course today I believe I would do much better.

If you are interested in taking part in Ninja Warrior at an adventure park, I would definitely recommend it. There are one and two hour slots available and they certainly fly by! Longer slots will give you the opportunity to work on weaknesses and give you the chance to take on the warped wall! There are closer locations such as Leicester and the pricing is not bad at all. It is safe in terms of COVID safety and the staff are very helpful! After all my competitiveness, I really did enjoy it! You will get something out of it, whatever your fitness ability. If you do go, I really hope you get as much out of it as I did – enjoy!

Emma 😀