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Build Your Own American Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course

An American Ninja Warrior vet gives us the secrets to his ninja training.

David Campbell - American Ninja Warrior

“When I started, it was all about making videos to get chosen,” says Campbell, who is coming off back-to-back runs as a finalist on ANW. “Most of the people who got voted in were parkour practitioners who had these crazy videos. If you wanted to compete with the parkour guys, you needed some flashy tricks that would get people to vote for you.”

Since Campbell wasn’t a parkour pro, he needed another route to gain some onlookers. (According to him, simply hanging off bars for a long time to show off grip strength doesn’t come across very well on video).

So Campbell, inspired by the DIY (do-it-yourself) attitude of the new millennium, did just that; he built his own homemade obstacle course in the backyard of his California home. The project killed two birds with one stone; it gave Campbell a selling point to be chosen for ANW, while providing him the perfect training ground for the course-crazed competition.

Campbell kept expanding on the course, with the help of nephew and fellow ANW veteran Travis Furlanic, to the point where construction was shifted to a larger property in Santa Cruz owned by Campbell’s brother. It was there where things really took off, and three years of hard work culminated into the ultimate backyard creation.

“We basically have close to a carbon copy of the course in Japan,” says Campbell, who took some measurements while at Mt. Midoriyama, and extrapolated the dimensions. “It’s the biggest and most elaborate replica in the country. There’s some other pretty good ones, just not quite as sophisticated in the design.” Campbell and Furlanic also received help from Brian Kretsch, another ANW vet.

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