TV’s toughest competition series is about to get even more impossible: This summer, NBC’s cult hit American Ninja Warrior —the only U.S. reality show that nobody has ever actually won—is set to introduce 23 all-new obstacles for its legion of fitness obsessive competitors to tackle (that will make the rest of us feel totally out of shape). We got a first look at the most brutal new obstacles from season 7, which premieres May 25. Competitors, start building these in your backyard now!
1. Hourglass Drop (photo above)
The pinnacle of insanity. Runners first have to jump to a hanging red shelf and, while gripping its edges, hop along it—which alone is normally a Ninja Warrior Finals challenge. Then they have to drop down to a trampoline, strike it just right and with enough force to spring back up, Super Mario-like, to yet another hanging shelf, grab it with both hands, then traverse it too.
Executive producer Kent Weed says: “It’s sick, it’s crazy. I would say the majority of our runners we lost on that one obstacle.”
2. The Walking Bar
This new challenge is also inspired by a Las Vegas Finals obstacle that has taken out several top competitors—only it’s even harder. Runners have to jump a bar from shelf to shelf, but they have to do one side at a time (instead of both sides at once). Bonus: The distances between the landing spots change.
Kent Weed says: “A couple veterans said it was the toughest obstacle they’ve ever seen.”
3. Swinging Spikes
The Ninja Warrior design team learned that nunchaku-like spikes are really difficult to grip, so they loaded up this challenge with them.
Kent Weed says: “They have to swing from spike to spike, and have to let go fully then grab a new set of spikes danging in the air.”
4. Flying Shelf Grab:
A variation on the classic Cliff Hanger, the team put this obstacle on the Kansas City course because they knew a lot of rock climbers were coming. They’re just mean like that.
Kent Weed says: “You have to jump to a ledge that’s only two inches wide, then swing yourself along it.”
5. Tilting Slider:
The usual Ninja Warrior slide-and-grab challenge, only now there’s a twist—literally.
Kent Weed says: “It’s seemingly simple, but if your depth perception is off you miss it entirely. This took out a lot of people.”
6. Bungee Road:
Hanging ropes that are like bungees strung together. Runners have to launch themselves at the ropes, grab on, and then they streeeetch, with various bungees threads popping off.
Kent Weed says: “You get false sense of security when you first grip it, then you end up just holding onto one as they pop out.”