Meet the Obstacle-Building Genius Behind Some of Your Favorite Ninja Gyms

As ninja gyms and obstacle course gyms continue to pop up around the country and world, it is more exciting now than ever to visit new Destinations. Who doesn’t love meeting like-minded people, discovering fun locations and best of all the enjoying fresh new obstacles? Let’s face it, exploring new ninja gyms is awesome!

If you’re like us, you’ve had the opportunity to check out some of the Ninja Passport Destinations and discovered some new faves … and chances are, you’ve also explored (and loved) a gym that our next interviewee had a hand in creating. This obstacle-building genius has had a part in some of the most iconic gyms around the country, and has hand-crafted some of the most interesting obstacles around.

Meet Arnold Risvik

We recently had a chance to visit Arnold at his home gym, Ninja Force. The moment you walk into this unassuming gym in an unassuming warehouse in Albuquerque, you know you’ve hit something special in the ninja world. Immediately when you enter, you’re guaranteed to see obstacles  you’ve never seen before, like the 6 ft in diameter Wheel of Doom, or the hydraulically adjustable Spider Wall.

While Arnold co-designs and builds with Ninja Force owner Josh Kronberg on most of the obstacles at the gym,  through his own fabrication company, My Ninja Source, he has crafted some pretty amazing creations that he brings to ninja gyms around the country.

Who is Arnold Risvik?

Arnold Risvik is ninja, dad, welder, and creator.

Like many ninjas we’ve spoken with, Arnold got interested in the sport well before American Ninja Warrior hit NBC’s airwaves. He was fortunate enough to compete on Season 3 (when it was still on the G4 Network), and went on to compete on seasons 4 and 5.

Arnold welding with his son.

Arnold told me he’s always been into non-traditional sports such as skateboarding and parkour, and, as promoted on the show, extreme unicycling. So the progression into ninja warrior was a natural one.

(Yes it’s true, he unicycles up mountains!)

Jumping on the excitement of the sport, Arnold had a history in metal fabrication and knew he wanted to build some of the obstacles he had competed on. He and a few friends opened a gym (that was later sold) but that obstacle building bug stuck.

What is your favorite project?

“Ninja Force because it allows me to showcase a lot of creativity, and I love changing things up. Sometimes obstacles don’t work out, and I can tweak and improve them because I’m here much of the time.”

What is your favorite obstacle that you’ve built?

“Well, to be honest, my favorite obstacle is always the one I’m working on in the moment .. until I master it and move on to a new one. Haha! Aside from that, the Spin Hopper sells really well and I like the Wing Nuts. I enjoy coming up with variations on a lot of obstacles.”

Click the image above to see the Spin Hopper in action

What inspires you?

“I’m inspired by everything, really. I love weird architecture, and being aware of my surroundings and how things work together. When it comes to creating new ninja obstacles, I like to brainstorm ways to stay within the “box” of how an obstacle is built but add a twist – like adding vertical handles to a salmon ladder bar.”

Check out Arnold doing the modified salmon ladder, click the image above.

So, I know you’ve had a hand in many of our favorite ninja gyms. Can  you name a few of your clients?

“I build for Ninja Force, have done builds for Ninja Intensity, and Jungle Gym. I also recently shipped obstacles to Rock Solid Warrior, Warrior Playground and lots of little stuff all over the place. I do a lot of backyard builds”

Any tips for backyard builders?

If you’re not scared to get your hands dirty, and do some YouTubing you can easily build something and feel free to email me (arnold@myninjasource.com) if you have any questions about getting started with a backyard course. I’m going to be launching a structure soon.”

Thank you Arnold for your time! We can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

Be sure to follow Arnold on Facebook, Instagram and check out his website My Ninja Source.

Arnold is offering Passport Members 10% off obstacles & builds. Get details here!

Check out some custom holds Arnold created here ….