‘American Ninja Warrior’: Matt Iseman on How Younger Ninjas Have Raised the Bar (VIDEO)

It wouldn’t be summer without NBC‘s long-running competition series American Ninja Warrior where a complicated physical and mental obstacle course leads to a $1 million prize for one athlete who can make it to (and win) the finale.

Hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila are back (with announcer Zuri Hall on the ground) and one thing you can expect is the level of enthusiasm they all bring to the show. “One of the great things is we never know what to expect,” Iseman tells TV Insider. “What’s great is seeing the growth, seeing these athletes mature, and seeing [Ninja Warrior vet] David Campbell still being competitive now that he’s literally almost three times older than our youngest competitors.”

Last season, the show lowered the minimum age to 15 for incoming competitors and Iseman said it surprised everyone involved when it unexpectedly raised the stakes for everyone. “We knew they might have athletic ability and strength and a motor that just won’t quit. But we didn’t know how they’d handle the pressure of being on the course that they’d grown up watching, competing against their idols, and with millions watching and $1 million on the line — but they handled it so well. It makes me think ‘what was I doing in high school?'”

Watch the video above for more of our chat with Iseman, including his own ideas for an ANW obstacle.

American Ninja Warrior, Mondays, 8/7c, NBC