Jessie Graff: Train like a ninja warrior

Jessie Graff aka “Tumbleweed” is a professional athlete, stunt woman and fitness influencer fro United States. She became widely known thanks to the show American Ninja Warrior (first woman to advance to a City Final in 2013).

In an interview “Strong Magazine” Jessie told about her training philosophy to improve strength, agility, and even recovery time.

Choose a skill, then train for it

“I think it’s really important to choose your physical goals based on the skill you want to be able to do, not how you want to look,” says Jessie, who’s currently training with pull-ups to improve her grip and upper-body strength to become a better rock climber and Ninja Warrior. “That’s the mentality that makes me the most productive.”

Be creative

With her crazy and unpredictable work schedule, being open-minded is a must. “I was stuck on set on leg day, so I thought, what exercises can I do in a corner in my costume where I’m not bothering anyone?” The answer? A few rounds of slow-motion kicks, pistol squats, calf raises, and stair hops to get the job done.

Work the negatives

Can’t do a pull-up? Jessie recommends doing negatives by jumping up to a pull-up position and lowering back down as slowly as possible. “What’s the slowest negative you can do? By the time you get to a minute negative, you should be able to do a full pull-up.”

Recover. Recover. Recover

Building in time for rest and active recovery helps your muscles get stronger, where overtraining will just continue to break them down. When she can’t work out, Jessie incorporates foam rolling, physiotherapy, and massage to speed her recovery. “I train as hard as I can, then take two days off from training that muscle group. I stay balanced as much as possible. I have to discipline myself to take those rest times but they help me get stronger.”