McKenna Haase’s Ninja Warrior Experience


Just as in racing, Haase’s road to Ninja Warrior participation was grueling and filled with many physical preparations, which she detailed in the wake of completing her run on the program.

“I’ve been doing ninja training, specifically, for about a year and a half … even though I’ve been training hard as an athlete since I got into sprint cars at 17,” explained the now-22-year-old Haase. “I’ve trained in three different ninja gyms that couldn’t have been more different from one another, but each one gave me a different perspective and let me train on different obstacles.

“All of the obstacles were replicas from the show. If you haven’t watched it before, there’s everything from climbing and rock walls to pendulum swings, underwater trials and rope climbing,” she noted. “Some are handmade obstacles and some are professionally made, and then there’s even some training tools that aren’t obstacles at all, but more so skills-training tools. Walking a tightrope was something that I did a lot to get better at balance, preparing for obstacles that might spin or move underneath me.

“Everything we try and do, we do a little bit more difficult than what’s actually on the show. That’s the best way to best prepare yourself, I feel like.”

McKenna Haase tackles an obstacle on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior course. (Photo courtesy of McKenna Haase)

Haase’s episode airs Monday (tonight) at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT) on NBC, and while she couldn’t divulge her exact results, she said that relished all the memories she made while doing the show and “took so much” away from the overall experience.

“I could go on forever about how special doing this was for me,” Haase said. “I had so much fun, and going in, that was my goal. When you train for something for a year and a half, you have really high expectations, and it can be easy to lose sight of the fun that’s involved in doing it. Honestly, the show itself ended up being so much fun that I honestly didn’t even car how I did on paper.

“Beyond the results, the show itself was a great time and so fulfilling,” she added. “In reality TV, you never know what to expect, but in person … it was 10 times more awesome than what everyone gets to see watching it from home.

“I was pretty happy with how I did and proud of my performance.”