Yoga offers mental and physical health benefits in spades, yet it's still nigh on impossible to convince the average guy it isn't an incense-steeped meditation session populated solely by prenatal moms. However, one Diamond Dallas Page would beg to differ. The professional wrestling legend and fitness guru has developed his own brand of the traditional discipline (dubbed, logically, DDP Yoga) that aims to draw in men with its in-your-face intensity and, well, volume. Yoga purists are quick to point out that DDP Yoga is nothing like traditional yoga. That is completely the point.
Combining yoga poses, traditional calisthenics, sports therapy stretches, and isokinetic movement (or what Page calls Dynamic Resistance), DDP Yoga is a high-cardio, minimal-impact home workout. The idea, as Page explains, is that the spirituality-averse get all that yoga offers and arguably more, without ever having to utter namaste. Page says his fitness program originated nearly a decade ago out of his personal need to heal his shattered body after a long and painful career. But DDP Yoga (originally called YRG Fitness, or Yoga for Regular Guys) didn't really take off until after the now legendary Arthur Boorman transformation video went viral last year. In it, Boorman, a disheveled 297-pound war veteran reduced to walking on crutches for the past 15 years, is transformed into an athletic, fit, and happy 160-pound person. It's the kind of story that makes grown men cry. (An early endorsement by devotee Chris Jericho didn't hurt, either.)
Requiring only a yoga mat and a heart monitor, the program's 15 workouts, which come in DVD sets labeled Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Extreme, range from 15 minutes to more than an hour and focus on improving your core, balance, joints, and giving you an overall ass-kicking upper and lower body workout. We find the pacing to be perfect, with built-in modifications for each exercise that allow even the most out-of-shape users to work their way up to each move slowly.
It would be easy to laugh the whole thing off as just another gimmick (we almost did), but after six months of working our way through the DVD sets, there's no denying our core is noticeably stronger, our joints and lower back have come back from the dead, and our flexibility and balance allow us to contort and squat to an almost embarrassing degree. Quite literally we no longer start our day without it. And if you're already in shape and think this program has nothing to offer, pop in the Double Black Diamond, or the aptly named Psycho Extreme Workout, and prepare to get embarrassed. You'll never laugh at yoga (or whatever this is) again. [From $70; ddpyoga.com]