#THISISMYADVENTURE - Sian Maycock, Ninja Warrior
We talk to Ninja Warrior contestant and Urban Ninja record holder Sian Maycock about her successful transition from climbing into this high octane sport.
Having been a climber since the age of seventeen, Sian first came across Ninja Warrior on Facebook; watching a video of the first woman ever to complete the course, in the American version of the series.
‘The video gave me goosebumps and I knew from then on that it was something I wanted to aspire to do - putting my climbing skills to new use!’
Sian’s first crack at Ninja Warrior came in the third series of the UK version of the show; she managed to make it as far as the semi-finals, one of just seven women to make it that far! She’s also featured in series five, but, as this doesn’t air until early next year we’re going to have to wait a little while to see how she got one!
Series 3 of Ninja Warrior was the first time Sian had ever attempted anything of it’s kind but with her climbing and generally athletic background the basic skills were already there. Since then however, Sian has honed her skills and developed a training schedule specific to her newfound needs as a Ninja Warrior:
‘Following NW3 I knew much more about what to expect and what skills I needed to focus on. For series 5 I specifically worked on balance, endurance, explosive strength and practising dynamic sequences (hanging and swinging of things) to get my body/brain used to overcoming unpredictable scenarios.
My average week consists of cycling to work every day (I work in an Architect’s practice 9am – 6pm), then visit my local climbing centre most evenings. I’m not particularly strict and also don't stick to a regimented training plan. I usually just start by climbing everything I can then follow this up with an endurance session (staying on the wall and traversing/circling the wall until my grip strength runs out and I fall off). I will then do various core and upper body training exercises which include things like weighted pull ups, campus board training, finger strength training, basic calisthenic exercises and stretching etc.
My weekends running up to Ninja Warrior series 5 were spent road-tripping to different climbing centres or occasionally to specialist ‘ninja warrior’ style training facilities such as Ultimate Ninja or Ape Index. I’d also schedule in a big bike ride every so often (ranging anywhere from 30 to 70 miles) when my upper body needed a time-out.
I think the most important thing is to get as much experience as you can on obstacle courses and storing that experience into the ‘muscle memory bank’ so that your body is equipped with the skills needed to overcome similar scenarios in the future. You can have all the strength in the world but you just cannot predict what is going to happen on the day’.
Want to take part? We asked Sian what trying out for Ninja Warrior involves..
‘You start out by filling out an application form online and submit it alongside a short video of yourself showcasing your skills and/or personality - my video was simply a compilation of physical feats due to my inability to talk in front of a camera!
Out of all of the applicants (around 12000 or so) they invite 1000 of those to an audition which is held in various crossfits gyms around the UK. The audition consists of a number of challenges in a circuit style configuration, and include activities such as military style pull-ups, laches, walking a slackline, shuttle runs and various other challenges testing finger strength, upper body, core strength and balance.
There is also a section of the audition called the ‘piece to camera’ in which they (the production team) fire a few questions at you to allow your personality to come across’.
Obstacle course racing may have become far more mainstream thanks to Ninja Warrior but it doesn’t stop there. Sian herself, is a record holder in another discipline - Urban Ninja Warrior.
This is an obstacle course race that pops up in different locations around the UK in the summer months. Sian first competed shortly after Ninja Warrior Series 3:
‘You get to play around on the obstacles for around an hour and then they give you a single shot at a timed run. This is referred to as the ‘Tame Stage’ (there’s another run called the ‘Insane Stage’ which only a handful of men have completed, but I’ll be back to give that one a go one day’!) - Sian holds the record for being the fastest female to complete the course completing the course in 1 minute 2 seconds!
Sian made her debut on the Obstacle Course Racing world stage earlier this month too - finishing on the podium in the Womens Open Team Relay Race in the OCR World Championships, competing for her new team, Nuclear Phoenix!
The relay consists of four stages - speed, strength, technical and a group stage.
Speed is the part of the course that consists of the most running. The strength leg involves lots of ‘carries’ (usually picking up heavy things and running with them) and the technical leg has the most difficult obstacles to overcome - lots of rigs requiring grip & upper body strength.
Sian’s was the technical leg of the race. The final section of the race is a group section in which all 3 of the team are required to tackle the obstacles together.
The future is definitely looking bright for Sian as she plans to pursue more Obstacle Course Racing. You can follow her progress on her Instagram here.
‘Above all and in the spirit of Ascendancy Apparel, I love to explore and find new adventures wherever I go. This is something I will always aspire to maintain’.