Diamond Dallas Page is one of the most colorful and recognizable pro wrestling stars from one of the most popular eras in pro wrestling’s history. The three-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion also proved himself to be a master of branding as he invented and patented the diamond-cutter symbol that would later be used by professional athletes and music stars.
Remarkably, the in-ring segment of DDP’s wrestling career didn’t begin until he was 35, and in his early 40s he suffered a career threatening back injury. Fortunately, he turned to yoga and was able to return to the ring and enjoy his greatest period of success.
Since his retirement, Dallas has gone on to design a series of yoga-inspired workouts that are sold under the name “DDP YOGA,” and the popularity of the series has exploded. While answering our questions about his workout series, DDP offered us five reasons why all athletes should incorporate, if not DDP YOGA, at least some kind of yoga into their regular workout routines.
1. It will increase your strength at any age
Many parents and coaches are concerned about starting young athletes on resistance training workouts out of fear that such training will stunt an athlete’s growth. Dallas says that one of the benefits to yoga-based workouts like his is they can be modified as needed and performed by athletes in any age group. Athletes of all ages that do workouts like DDP YOGA will show obvious improvements in strength and, more importantly, no negative side effects.
“I’ve know kids three and four years of age doing DDP YOGA, and I’ve got an eight year old that’s really good at it,” Dallas said. “My eleven-year-old niece, Skylar, is really good at it, she competes at the highest level of jujitsu, and she hasn’t lost a tournament in I don’t know how long. She’s just so much stronger than the other girls even though she’s tiny, and if she gets you in a rear naked choke or a triangle, you’re finished. She has never been hurt, I’d be willing to bet that she never gets hurt, and what she’s doing is something that is going to make you stronger and not beat you up like other workouts will.”
2. You can do it anywhere
Many athletes get frustrated and feel like they won’t be able to get a meaningful workout if they can’t get to the gym, the pool, the treadmill or the track simply because time and circumstances don’t allow it. Fortunately, yoga-based workouts like the kind available in DDP YOGA can be modified so that they can be performed no matter what your spatial limitations might be. And, since doing the exercises properly can elevate the heart rate to 140 beats per minute or more, there is an obvious cardiovascular benefit to the workouts as well.
“One of my old wrestling buddies, Stevie Richards, will whip out the workouts and do them right in the middle of the locker rooms at independent wrestling shows,” Dallas said. “When you’re on a plane, you feel the effects of gravity pulling on you and dehydrating you, but if I have a little room at the front of the plane, I can do a segment of my workouts with the dynamic resistance, and I’ll be getting a workout right on the plane while I’m also breaking up scar tissue. So it’s literally something you can get done no matter where you are.”
3. You can do it every day
One of the shortfalls of conventional weightlifting workouts is the necessary recovery period during which the muscles heal. This means that, out of necessity, hardcore weightlifters typically take days off between weight workouts before they return to train the same muscle groups again, and workouts longer than 45 minutes are almost pointless because the muscles have been pushed to the limit by that point. In the case of DDP, his yoga workouts can easily be performed to the continuing benefit of the athlete for several hours each day, every day of the week, so there are no built-in limitations on the amount of time you can spend working out.
“Back when I was wrestling, I would do my yoga workouts before I went out on TV. Those TV days I would do it for three hours a day. The workouts can be done seven days a week,” Dallas said. “You can’t lift weights for three hours a day, but you can do DDP YOGA for three hours a day. By the time I went out on TV, I was pumped and looking like I’d just left the weight room but I’d also warmed my tendons up, warmed my ligaments up, and even though I was in my mid 40s, I was bouncing around the ring like I was 24. And when I was wrestling, this basically was my cardio, too. It gets you crazy strong and flexible, and it replaces cardio.”
4. It will prevent injuries
Most athletes stretch to some degree before or during workouts, and before or after competitions. Despite all of this stretching, athletes at every level experience career-shortening or career-ending injuries every day. According to DDP, this is because there is a fundamental distinction between stretching and yoga that often goes overlooked, but it makes all the difference in the world when it comes to injury prevention.
“Yoga is not just stretching,” Dallas explained. “I stretched my entire wrestling career, and then I blew my back out and I was done. Until I started stretching and strengthening my ligaments and my tendons, and not just my muscles, then it wasn’t going to be enough. That’s what a yoga program like DDP YOGA does for you. You feel like you’re lifting, but it also takes your body into a deep stretch, and that makes all the difference when it comes to injury prevention. Of the athletes that went down with injuries last weekend playing football, probably 60 percent of them wouldn’t have gotten injured if they were doing a yoga program like mine.”
5. It will help you recover from existing injuries
Flexibility is one of the most underrated advantages that an athlete can have. Not only does having great flexibility give you a greater range of motion than your stiff-bodied competitors, but it also increases the limits to which you can push your body without suffering a serious injury. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, adding flexibility to your body through a yoga program like DDP’s will also accelerate your recovery time once you’ve already sustained an injury.
“Look at Chris Jericho,” Dallas said. “He’d just had acupuncture because he’d herniated a disc in his back, and I called him and sent him the video of the disabled veteran I helped walk again (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX9FSZJu448). He got back to me minutes later and told me he’d do whatever I wanted him to. He couldn’t wrestle; he couldn’t even sing. Three months later, the pain in his back was gone, and he could get back in the ring and back on stage. Indirectly, I put millions of dollars back in his pocket. When I got injured, my vertebrae in my spine were basically bone on bone. My DDP YOGA workouts lengthened my spine and built up all the muscles around it so that I could recover from the injury.”
The Meijer State Games of Michigan is a multi-sport, Olympic-style event(s) that welcome athletes regardless of age or ability level. The Games embody the values of participation, sportsmanship and healthy living.