Tuesday, July 26, 2016

New TV Shows Test Limits of Competitors

This has been a fun and exciting summer of television.  I have been a fan of American Ninja Warrior  for several years now, but this year, the networks have taken the competition shows up a notch.  I have added two new team competition shows, American Grit  and Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge, to my list of favorites and hope they will return next year.  American Grit  actually premiered in the spring, but ended in June.

American Grit

American Grit – Four teams of four, guided by military personnel (“The Cadre”), embark on challenges that mirror actual military training.  Some of the challenges included breaking down camp and setting it back up in another location;  building a shelter, purifying water, and making a fire using very basic supplies; and using a compass and map to navigate to a checkpoint out in the forest, then navigating back to the starting point.  The team who wins the challenge gets a reward and is also safe from having a team member eliminated.  The Cadre for the other teams must select one member of the team to participate in “The Circus.”  The Circus involves a brutal obstacle course followed by an endurance challenge.  Endurance challenges ranged from squatting in a small enclosure while balancing a cylinder on a block to performing sets of burpees followed by immersing your entire body in ice.  The first person to “fail” the endurance challenge is eliminated.  Remaining team members must carry out future missions and face The Circus despite their shrinking numbers.  The ultimate prize is $250,000 for each team member who survives the final Circus.

Dunk Wall - Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge
Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge
Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge – Spartan races have been around for quite a while, but the standard Spartan race is an individual competition.  The course for the Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge  was modified to create challenges that required teamwork in order to complete.  For example, team members had to lift a 250-lb wall with a rope to allow members of the team to dunk themselves in 55-degree water and go under it.  Another challenge required all five team members (led by professional Spartan racers) to climb a rope over a body of water and once the last team member is physically out of the water, pass a flag up the rope so the person at the top can clip it to a hook.  Each episode features two heats.  The winner of Heat 1 advances to the final to face the winner of Heat 2 and the team with the next fastest time after both heats.  The team that wins each week’s final moves on to compete for $250,000 in the finale.  The Spartan course for the finale was modified to make it even more difficult.

It is so exciting to watch people push themselves to their physical limits to help their teams succeed.  It’s even better to be able to do that while sitting on the couch eating potato chips.  Although the shows have ended for the season, you can watch all the episodes of Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge  on NBC.com or the NBC app.  Episodes of American Grit  can be viewed on FOX.com or the FOXNOW app.  Start training now for next year’s competition!  Maybe I’ll be watching you from the couch (or the recliner).


Shea Robinson said...

Alabama Spartan Race: November 19, 2016 Saraland, AL

Are you in?

G. Jones said...

I'll be happy to watch it on television if they film it. :-)