Flow Course Format

This format is sometimes referred to as the “one and done” format because the athlete’s progress is only tracked till their first missed obstacle. In this format there is significant emphasis placed on the athletes ability to adapt their abilities and complete new obstacles on their first attempt. Here is how it works:

Athletes will receive one point for each obstacle they successfully complete.

Once the athlete comes in contact with something not in play while attempting an obstacle the ref will mark them as having failed to complete that obstacle.

At this point, the athletes score will reflect the time registered for their last completed obstacle.

As long as there is time remaining, athletes may continue to attempt obstacles. However, no additional progress for the athlete will be recorded.

All athletes in the competition will be sorted by the most completed obstacles in the least amount of time.

Flow Course Strategies

There are a few strategies athletes or coaches may execute when faced with the Flow Course format. Must of these strategies revolve around the crux point. Let’s start by defining a crux point:

Crux Point

The term crux point comes from Rock Climbing. In climbing the term refers to hardest part of a climbing route or project. In ninja, the term crux point is often used to describe the obstacle on the course with the highest fail percentage.

Today we will focus on two of the most popular strategies: Racing to the Crux and Pacing to the Crux.

Racing to the Crux

In the Flow Format athletes are evaluated by the most obstacles in the least time. If all athletes in a competition fail the crux point, the athlete who made it there fastest will win. Therefore, it’s a common strategy for the athlete to get to the crux point as quickly as they can. This will give them the best possible positioning if they are unable to clear the crux. However, this strategy has the downside of fatiguing the athlete. It is common to see the athlete rest after racing to the crux to recover some of their energy but typically athletes will have exhausted more energy then if they paced themselves to the crux point.

Pacing to the Crux

Athletes who feel confident in their ability to clear a crux may pace themselves through the obstacles leading into the crux. This slower approach will put them in a poor position if they are unable to clear the crux. However, this strategy consumes less energy and often puts the athlete in the best position to successfully complete the crux obstacle.


This concludes our discussion of the Flow Course Format. After completing this section you should feel comfortable explaining the full course format to others. You should have a basic understanding of Crux points be familiar with how Flow competitions are scored and timed.