strength

Diamond Dallas Page: 5 Reasons All Athletes Should Do Yoga-Based Workouts

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

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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.

 

Interested in our Summer Games? 
www.StateGamesofMichigan.com/summergames


Interested in our Winter Games? 
www.StateGamesofMichigan.com/wintergames

 

Jeff Jackson: 5 Things That Will Help You Get Recruited For College Hockey

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By the time Jeff Jackson left Michigan to become a professional hockey coach, he had already established himself as one of the most successful coaches of his generation at the college level. In ten seasons of coaching at Lake Superior State University, Jeff coached the Lakers to four NCAA Frozen Four appearances and three NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championships, with Jeff leading the charge toward the last two championships as the head coach.
 
Since returning to the ranks of collegiate coaches, this time at Notre Dame, Jeff has continued his winning ways by guiding the Fighting Irish to multiple CCHA Championships and NCAA Frozen Four appearances.
 
Given all of Jeff’s coaching success, it comes as no surprise that he regularly hears from young hockey players that are intent on making it onto the ice for a top college hockey program. With that in mind, Jeff shared five things with us that hockey players should do if they ever want to tie on their skates and take the ice for a Frozen Four contender.

 1. Make Your Intentions Known

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It’s a popular misconception that college athletic programs have unlimited time and resources to spend recruiting young talent. They don’t. Programs like Notre Dame tend to concentrate on recruiting a certain talent profile within a targeted region of the country. But if you live far away from the school of your choice, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to remain off of its recruiting radar. According to Jeff, if you want to get recruited, sometimes all you have to do is ask.
 
“It never hurts for kids, if they have an interest in a school, to reach out and send a letter or an email to express an interest,” Jeff said. “In most cases, we go out and watch kids. Some of it is word of mouth, but sometimes we hear about a kid that’s a good player who has an interest in Notre Dame. That’s how we got Riley Sheahan who is now playing for the Detroit Red Wings; we heard that he had an interest in Notre Dame, so we went out and saw him play.”
 

2. Learn To Be A Playmaker At High Speed

 Developing skills during practice is all well and good, but unless you can execute during an actual hockey game, those skills are meaningless. Not only should aspiring hockey players play in as many truly competitive games as possible, but Jeff actually suggests limiting the space you have to play in while you practice. That way, you’ll force yourself to assess situations and react quickly, and this ability will make you a more reliable playmaker for your team.
 
“The game is really about mastering time and space, both offensively and defensively,” Jeff said. “At every level you move up, there’s less time and less space to make plays. You can work on your skills, but until you can do those things with pressure in competitive situations, then you can only incrementally improve. These things are developed over time. This is why kids need to try to do things at a high pace when they’re practicing and training.”
 

3. Make Yourself Strong

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 Not only does the time and space on the ice shrink on every new level as a result of your opponent’s increased speed and skill, but it also decreases because your competition is physically larger as well. In order to compete with opponents for that decreased ice space, hockey players that truly wish to be competitive will have to get bigger and stronger in their own right. And in order to do this, lifting weights is absolutely necessary.
 
“Physical strength and explosive power are huge,” Jeff said. “When kids get to that age when they can start training their strength, they should. Some strength is natural and develops over time, but usually it can be developed with weights. Kids should focus on Olympic-type lifts like squats, cleans and deadlifts, and also things that focus on the hockey-type areas between the chest and the knees. A true 18-year-old freshman may end up competing with 24-year-old seniors, and if you’re 150 pounds trying to complete with a guy that weighs 230 pounds, that’s a challenge.”

 4. Learn To Stay In Shape Off The Ice

Let’s be honest; not everyone is blessed enough to grow up with a hockey rink in their backyard like Wayne Gretzky was. For most people, ice time comes with a financial cost, and even then, time on the ice is limited by a rink’s availability. Compounding the problem is the fact that hockey players need to have tremendous conditioning in order to get up and down the ice quickly while maintaining that speed throughout a shift. As Jeff will tell you, the best hockey players find a way to stay in shape even when ice access is limited.
 
“There are aerobic and anaerobic types of conditioning, and hockey players need to have both,” Jeff said. “A lot of conditioning can be done off the ice as long as you are willing to pay the price. There’s running, or there’s the treadmill. Hockey may be an anaerobic sport where things are done in short shifts, but you have to have an aerobic base first. It’s important to be in the top shape of your life to prepare for hockey season, but there’s maintenance done during the season and a lot of that is done off the ice. You can help yourself a lot by going at a high tempo in practice, but if you only go at three-quarters of your speed in practice, you’re not helping yourself very much.”
 

5. Get Used To Monitoring What You Eat

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 If you’re still living at home with your parents, or even if you’re living on your own, you might be able to get away with eating whatever is put in front of you regardless as to how it may influence your body. At a top-tier NCAA program, this is not the case. So, if you’re not making disciplined dietary decisions right now, you should get used to it. Otherwise, it’s going to come as a rude awakening when the school nutritionist starts doling out the meal plans.
 
“When we have a specific player that may need to cut bodyfat, maintain their weight or even gain weight, that player is put on a specific type of diet, and that may be paired with supplements,” Jeff said. “We have things like the training table, which all the athletes attend, and we have pre-game meals and post-game meals that we all have together. So, we can track and monitor what a player eats and what they’re putting into their bodies as far as protein drinks and supplements go. It’s a big part of what we do, and we have people to monitor that for us that are professionals.”
 
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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.

 

Interested in our Summer Games? 
www.StateGamesofMichigan.com/summergames


Interested in our Winter Games? 
www.StateGamesofMichigan.com/wintergames