Roseville ‘ninja’ gym features obstacles inspired by popular NBC show

Katie Lauer photos • Ian Marquez, Ellie Northrop, Nancy Trejo, Jaysen Sly, Mackenzie Flaharty, Ryan Wu and Tyler Palzer attended a Tuesday evening class at Five Star Ninja Warrior in Roseville. The gym, located at 2500 Cleveland Ave., offers a different kind of fitness with obstacles and endurance training.

Gym owner and trainer Jaysen Saly demonstrates one of the obstacles at Five Star Ninja Warrior, swinging his body to leap to another hanging platform. He competed in season 9 of “American Ninja Warrior” and finished in the top 40 of contestants.

The Roseville gym features a 14.5-foot “warp wall,” which is the same height as the wall featured on the TV show.

The many obstacles at Five Star Ninja Warrior give members a full-body workout that also provides a mental challenge. Whether preparing for Ninja Warrior competitions or just working out, members say they enjoy the challenge the gym brings.

The small-group classes offered at Five Star Ninja Warrior give members the opportunity to train and learn physical techniques involved in the course.

Pulling, swinging, leaping, climbing — a new gym offers a different type of fitness in Roseville with its obstacle and endurance training.

Located at 2500 Cleveland Ave., the Five Star Ninja Warrior gym features many of the infamous obstacles seen on the popular NBC show, “American Ninja Warrior,” including a 14.5-foot warped wall, the lateral swinging “wing nut” obstacle, the “salmon ladder” and many climbing ropes.

While the obstacles can sound daunting, gym owner Jaysen Saly said the doors are open for anyone who wants to try, no matter their skill level. 

“Our mission here is to really provide a safe space for people to come challenge themselves,” Saly said. “I want to create a diverse group of people in this sport. Who we are sets us apart.”

Since its grand opening on Oct. 27, the gym has seen more than 1,000 people walk through its doors. While there are currently only 30 members, open gym times allow the public to get a feel for what the space offers. 

However, its 37-year-old owner recommends attending classes to fully learn the physical techniques and skills involved.

“I think most people are curious because they’ve seen the show,” Saly says. “But I think people come back because they want to conquer a course or are training for something else.”

For Twin Cites athletes who participate in Tough Mudder or Spartan-style races, Saly said the gym offers that same rigorous, full-body endurance training. 


Training from experience

Saly is no stranger to the obstacles he works with every day. After a self-proclaimed “body transformation” from training in ninja gyms, he appeared on season nine of “American Ninja Warrior” last year.

Training at a gym in Buffalo, Minnesota, he said his body transformation was a learning process.

“We all had to figure it out ourselves, and we all taught each other,” Saly said. “Now, everyone I trained with three years ago either works at a ninja gym or owns one.”

Finishing as one of the top 40 contestants on the show, he wanted to help share the experience and knowledge he gained with others back home.

Tyler Palzer of Minneapolis — who only got involved with the sport in November — said he found the gym out of curiosity.

“I tried lifting for a year and didn’t enjoy it much,” the 22-year-old said. “This is the only time that I’ve ever actually wanted to come to the gym.”

Despite only having four months of ninja workouts under his belt, Palzer can now scale the warp wall, wing nut and salmon ladder successfully. He attributes his success to the combination of Saly’s technique training and the gym’s encouraging environment. 

“Everyone is really supportive here at this gym,” Palzer said. “There’s quite a few different skill levels here, and the nice thing is that no one’s judgmental. Everything’s catered to your skills.”

That level of accessibility has helped create a sense of community in the gym that allows anyone to join.

“Everyone has their own fitness niche and something they’ll enjoy,” Palzer said. “It’s really a mix of a hobby and a workout, and there’s no harm in trying.”

But those looking for a challenging workout aren’t the only ones who can enjoy the gym.


Next generation ninjas

Saly said he’s had great success with the many birthday parties that have been held at Five Star Ninja Warrior.

“We really work with the kids and coordinate things for the families,” he said. “We have them do a team tug-of-war and have them run up the warp wall, where we have candy up there as motivation. We keep them moving for two hours.”

The guided, private parties aren’t the only way the gym connects with Twin Cities youth, though.

A Roseville resident himself, Saly has reached out to nearby elementary and high schools, police departments and other groups to plan events at the gym. Looking forward, he said he wants to connect with the greater community of Roseville while continuing to grow the community inside his ninja gym’s walls.

“We have our own little subculture and community, but it’s growing,” Saly said. “We want to keep this open for everybody.”


Five Star Ninja Warrior will be hosting a local endurance competition on March 24, and NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” will be hosting season 10 qualifying rounds at U.S. Bank Stadium in May. For more information about the gym go to


– Katie Lauer can be reached at

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