Former ‘American Ninja Warrior’ contestant to open obstacle gym

Feb. 15, 2018

A former competitor on the TV show “American Ninja Warrior” is opening a gym with obstacles for training or just having fun.

Jason Steinberg and his wife, Lacy, are starting 605 Ninja Academy in the former Tuesday Morning space in the Western Mall.

“This is new to the area, but gyms similar to this are popping up all over the U.S.,” said Steinberg, who competed on “American Ninja Warrior” in 2017 at the Kansas City regional.

The Steinbergs hope to open the gym March 1, and registration for classes starts today at

In addition to structured classes, 605 Ninja Academy will offer open gym times in 50-minute blocks and birthday party rentals. Gym users must be 5 or older. The obstacles cover 4,500 square feet of the 7,000-square-foot space, so there will be room for 30 to 50 people, Steinberg said.

“It’s a good way for kids to burn off energy,” he said. There will be a waiting area for parents, but the obstacles will be fun for adults, too.

Steinberg and a construction crew are creating more than 30 obstacles such as warped walls, a salmon ladder, devil’s steps, cliff hanger, spider climb, rings, unstable bridge, and web and net climbs.

Part of the gym will be set up for parkour athletes who perform flips and other movements using stationary objects, Steinberg said. There also will be a rock-climbing wall.

While the obstacles might not be as elaborate as those on the TV show, they will give athletes the chance to learn how to tackle them. The ninja class will provide instruction on skills and help with balance, agility and strength training, Steinberg said.

The initial class offerings are Monday and Thursday nights for youths, and more classes will be added.

Steinberg, who competed as a decathlete at USD, has been operating his own training business, working out of local gyms and providing in-home services. Lacy Steinberg teaches cheer and tumbling and also will be involved in 605 Ninja Academy full-time. She will teach a fundamentals of tumbling class, including skills that are needed for obstacle competitions.

When Steinberg decided to pursue “American Ninja Warrior,” the closest competition-level gym was in Minneapolis, so he had to travel to train.

“Last year, there were 77,000 applicants (for the show), and they took 100 in each of seven regions,” he said. “I did good; I just barely missed finals.”

Steinberg applied to compete again this year and expects to find out in March.

605 Ninja Academy will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

The open gym fee is $13, and weekly classes are $59 a month.

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Former ‘American Ninja Warrior’ contestant to open obstacle gym

A former competitor on the TV show “American Ninja Warrior” is opening a gym with obstacles for training or just having fun.

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