Jon Alexis Jr. stands at 6 feet 6 inches tall. His weight a lean 198lbs. His body resembles that of an NBA guard or an NFL receiver. Traditionally in the past athletes of Jon "The Giant's" size do not fair well on Ninja obstacles.
Kamerion Wimbley(NFL) and Bull Bullard (Harlem Globetrotter) have both competed in the past and made it through the first round of obstacles. However, both athletes failed to progress deep into stages 2 and 3 because of a lack of upper body strength and obstacle technique.
The problem with professional or Olympic athletes is their discipline-specific training. Typically playing in the NFL or NBA require a very specific diet and training regiment. An athlete like Kamerion Wimbley spent most of his life training to be larger than life and dedicated a lot of time to developing pushing power. A different kind of upper body strength than what is required for Ninja Warrior.
In order to make it in the NFL or NBA, it helps to have these three things. Natural Ability, good work ethic, and proper size. In almost all sports there is an ideal size to compete. Gymnastics it pays to be small. NBA it pays to be tall. NFL the bigger you are the better typically. Now, obviously there are exceptions to these rules but for the most part, those are standards.
Typically for Ninja Warrior, the idea height and weight falls somewhere between 5'6 and 5'11 around 140lbs to 160lbs. However, what if Jon can break this mold and use his disadvantages as advantages? Here are five reasons we think Jon "The Giant" will be the future of the sport: Reason 1: Height Like pro athletes from the past Jon's size is a huge advantage. In Buffalo we watched him step over arguably one of the most difficult obstacles we will see this season. When asked about his size Jon had this to say "I consider myself a scaled up version of other athletes: I think I still have decent proportions and proportionate strength, so it's as if most obstacles are "dwarfed" and easier to move through quickly."
Reason 2: Reach When people talk about bigger athletes like Jon they always mention their weight as a disadvantage. Never is it brought up their reach actually gives them a huge advantage. At 6 foot 6 inches, Jon is able to easily reach obstacles other athletes would struggle through. It also means fewer movements and less time spent on each obstacle. This is key in a game of conserving upper body strength
Reason 3: Diet Weight can be a disadvantage for an athlete the size of Jon "The Giant" . However, Jon is lucky. He "finds it hard to gain weight." He finds that he is constantly moving around and playing on anything he can. He also is mostly pescetarian. Meaning he eats mostly fish. He also balances junk food with eating lots of salad! This helps him stay lean and keep up his strength to body weight ratio. This is key to his future success. Reason 4: Training Regiment Although Jon admits it will take longer to build up tendon and muscle strength due to his size, he is still doing the right training to get that strength. Unlike our supersized Professionals from past season Jon's work out revolve heavily around getting ready for Ninja Warrior.
"I'll play around on a slackline about 3 times a month but a typical training day would happen at either a rock gym or a ninja gym. I warm up with rowing or running, dynamic stretching, and a bit of weight lifting, touching different muscle groups on different days, then playing around on rock walls or ninja obstacles, guided by how my body feels. There's usually no specific plan for the meat of my workout. I cool down with some brief static stretching."
This type of Ninja Warrior specific training along with his size will help him become arguably one of the most dominant athletes in the history of the show.
Reason 5: Exhibit A & B Jon competing in Orlando! Utilizing his wingspan and size to his advantage! If that isn't enough for you check Jon dominating Buffalo's NNL qualifier in Video 2!