On the attack

BRENT STEFFENSEN’S LOVE OF BIG AIR AND BODY-WEIGHT TRAINING HAS SHAPED HIM INTO A TOP CONTENDER ON NBC’S OBSTACLE COURSE SHOW AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR.

 

BRENT STEFFENSEN has built a career attempting to defy Sir Issac Newton’s laws of gravity. The Utah native’s penchant for leaping, flipping, and climbing has snowballed into feats of aerial and acrobatic brilliance that have included cliff diving, free running, snowboarding, and trampolining. This high-flying athletic résumé helped him garner work as a Hollywood stuntman in big-budget films like After Earth (2013) and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015). Conquering obstacles as an 8-time top-tier competitor on NBC’s wildly popular TV series American Ninja Warrior and after a solid showing in Season 7, where he posted the fastest course time on the mythical Mount Midoriyama, Steffensen is primed for a new set of challenges.

What can we expect from you this season on ANW, and how have you prepared for it?

BS: There will be all new obstacles, [but] coming back helps me be more comfortable on the course. I’ve been training outside the box this year by bringing back some of my old-school roots, like snowboarding, mountain biking, and skateboarding.

How do those activities help you prep for ANW ? Mountain biking has helped increase my cardio; skate- boarding and snowboarding put me in the same mindset as obstacle running. You can’t be worrying about three turns from now, you have to be in the right now and focus on what’s right in front of you.

You’re vegan and you avoid gluten. Does this play into your performance? I had gone 12 years as a pescatarian with periods of veganism but went back to being a [full-time] vegan. As for going gluten-free, when I was about 18 I started having digestion issues, and it took me about five years to figure it out. I still have my cheat days, but it takes me a day or two to recover from a gluten binge.

Have you felt a difference regarding strength? Now that I’ve gone back to veganism, I’m a lot lighter and leaner. At 165 [when I was consuming animal protein], I felt strong, but I don’t think I recovered as quickly. More muscle mass requires more blood and oxygen to fuel, so I think it did make a difference. Endurance athletes tend to have a sleeker body type and can go a little longer and recover a little faster.

[Building] mass is great if you’re going to be lifting cars, but if you’re going to be hanging from your fingertips, it doesn’t help you at all.

BRENT STEFFENSEN

BIRTH DATE: July 18, 1980
BIRTHPLACE: Salt Lake City, UT
RESIDES: San Antonio, TX
HEIGHT: 5’9″
WEIGHT: 150 lbs
Twitter/Instagram: @brentstefensen

NINJA WARRIOR CIRCUIT

Get strong while maintaining agility and athleticism with this circuit from Brent Steffensen’s training journal.

EXERCISE REPS
Calf Raise 55
Neutral-grip L-pullup 18*
Hanging V-up 10

Perform moves consecutively without rest. Perform circuit four times, resting 30 seconds between rounds.

*Brent bends his legs to form an L shape on the first rep. After the first rep, his legs never go back below parallel. He also wears a 20-pound weighted vest for pull ups.

Weight Up “Doing the same body-weight moves can get monotonous and lead to over training certain muscle groups,” Steffensen says. “Find new ways to work those muscles, like using a weighted vest or varying rep speeds.”

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