The American Ninja Warrior fans have spoken and they clearly favor two first obstacles over the other options.
The Floating Steps and the Shrinking Steps soundly topped out our poll.
The poor Quad Steps came in dead last.
Each season of American Ninja Warrior, the first obstacle leads off the courses and tends to stay the same as the show travels from location to location. (In season 10, the Archer Steps were introduced as the first obstacle of the City Finals courses.) In an effort to keep things fresh and challenging, the first obstacle has changed several times over the show’s 12 seasons. Altogether, five different obstacles have started things off.
We understand why the fans favor these two obstacles.
The Floating Steps appeared in seasons eight, nine, and 10. Depending on a competitor’s confidence level, there were a couple of different approaches to this. A Ninja could jump and cling to each step, turning their bodies and pushing off to the next step. Or, they could do a quick double step to land, position, and jump off. A few Ninjas even managed to one-step the obstacle, jumping between the steps in a single bound.
There were many opportunities for error on this obstacle. But the shape of the steps sometimes allowed for a Ninja to cling and climb back up if they slipped. This created a couple of dramatic saves. Overall, it’s a fun obstacle to watch.
The Shrinking Steps were introduced in season 11 and were repeated in season 12. Unlike the Floating Steps, there’s no room for error here. The Ninjas have to take bold strides between the steps. Each step is slightly higher and smaller than the last, requiring the Ninjas to keep their momentum forward and their balance in the center. They complete the obstacle by leaping to a rope and swinging to the landing platform. It seems simple enough but put one foot in the wrong place and the season is over.
Season 13 of American Ninja Warrior will debut on Monday, May 31 at 8 pm on NBC. Only time will tell if the show brings back a repeat first obstacle for the new season.