By Annie Barrett
August 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT
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Another week, another hour spent in awe of people’s upper bodies while I furiously bicep-curl chips. I’ve finally decided on my summer TV boyfriend — Paul Kasemir, the “Extreme American Ninja Warrior Pro” (whoa!) who crushed the competition with his trademark “quiet consistency” in Monday’s Denver finals episode on NBC. Paul’s headed to Las Vegas’ Mt. Midoriyama (translation: “Mount Green Mountain”) for the fourth year in a row. He has a double personality, which means he has a desk job (writing source code in a lab) and is probably a secret superhero. He’s totally the Andrew Garfield of NBC right this second.

This week presented two new Death to Your Upper Body obstacles for the qualifying Mile High City ninja warriors: Pole Grasper and the Floating Stairs. Strippers or super-fit people who work out on stripper poles for the Core benefits would make a killing on Pole Grasper, for the record. The rock-climbing guys had a distinct advantage over the free runners with this one. Very few ninjas even made it to these new deathtraps, though, considering the Salmon Ladder was still in play. That thing is deadly and a total momentum-crusher. I keep wanting Salmon Ladder to pop up as a dangerously compelling appetizer at my local sushi joint. Buy too many of those and they’ll kill ya.

Who else is moving on? Only five ninjas even completed this newer, scarier Denver course, including Josh Cook, Isaac Caldiero, and Colby Frontiero, whose runs aired during Sunday’s episode on G4. (Look for videos of them here.) In addition to Paul Kasemir, we saw professional rock climber Brian Arnold “just swinging through these poles like Tarzan!” to end up in third place.

“Look at those BACK muscles!” Plus: all the other ones on Tremayne Dortch, 27:

Eric Liebowitz/Netflix

“He’s a personal trainer and you can tell he is just absolutely SHREDDED!” (Sorry, I’m not quite clear on which cohost is speaking, but I love the mutual muscle-mass enthusiasm coming from Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja Biamila.)

Ultimate Inspiration of the Week: Sam Sann, who made it up the Warped Wall after re-injuring his left ankle on the Quintuple Steps.

“This is a guy who escaped a Cambodian work camp at age 8. A sprained ankle is not gonna slow this man down!”

Mortality Flash: At 35, Brian Arnold is the “Elder Statesman of American Ninja Warrior.”

Delusion of Grandeur of the Week: I could totally do this course…underwater.

Next week we’ll be in Vegas for the finals! Are you already devising the perfect array of snacks? Or do you tend to watch this televised adrenaline shot at the gym while SHREDDING IT?

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