Photos by Paul Flessland
Learn how these two former NDSU football players are going above and beyond with their gym and why you’ll see the best results by working with them.
Just over a year ago in March, former NDSU Bison football players Cole Jirik and Christian Dudzik opened Dynasty Performance Training in South Fargo, a free-weight gym and training facility that specializes in customized workouts for all types of athletes, teams and adults looking to advance their fitness training. And they do it all themselves using what they learned by being a part of the football dynasty at NDSU. Close to two years before that, Jirik and Dudzik were both approaching the end of their playing careers and decided to come back to Fargo with the idea of opening a gym to train and mentor young athletes in their journeys.
Cole Jirik (left) and Christian Dudzik, owners and operators of Dynasty Performance Training
“We both gave the pros another shot and ended up not getting the deals we wanted so we decided to come back,” said Jirik. “We both have great knowledge of training athletes, training ourselves and how the process works with high school athletes transitioning into college and professional sports, so we wanted to give back to the area and the community.”
Sure, working out with two former college football stars might seem intimidating, but it’s truly the opposite. Here are a few things that set Dynasty apart from other gyms, and why adults and kids of all abilities can benefit from its unique features.
There is training for all types of athletes, ages and levels.
Currently, the youngest athlete is 9 years old, but the gym also sees all kinds of adults coming in for group workouts. They’ve seen athletes all across the sporting world spectrum from dancers, swimmers and track athletes to football players, volleyball teams and wrestlers.
“In this first year, we’ve had professional football players and baseball players, high school and middle school kids, adults,” said Jirik “Just a wide range of everything in. We’ve had great success with our athletes so far in this first year.”
There are individualized workouts so that you can reach your goals.
“We try to find what a kids’ flaws are, learn what their goals are and then take that program and build their workout into it,” said Jirik. “We put an individual program in a group of kids and have their program tailor toward them getting better. I think that’s a lot different than what others in town do.”
You’ll be held accountable.
No matter your age, Dudzik and Jirik said that they try to train everyone the way their athletes are trained and everyone is held accountable when it comes to reaching their goals.
“We have everyone be very accountable for what they do and make sure they’re working hard while they’re in here so that they can get results,” said Jirik. “We’re trying new workouts and methods all the time to get them to their goals. We hold them accountable because we expect them to hold us accountable to getting them to where they want to be.”
Adults can benefit from group workouts and small class sizes.
Jirik and Dudzik said that they have looked into hiring additional help, but that they still want to keep a small trainer-to-athlete ratio to pay enough attention to each athlete. The duo sets workouts for each adult class so that you can work with others doing the same activities, but the activities are also modified to accommodate an individual’s personal needs and goals. It’s the best of both worlds.
“You still get the group atmosphere with the camaraderie and the accountability with other people,” said Jirik. “You have someone encouraging you besides your trainer to help you get through reps because you know someone else is maybe struggling just as much as you are.”
They can teach you things that might be too intimidating to learn in a typical gym setting.
“We teach them how to do some of the things that might be more intimidating in a regular gym setting such as squatting or dead lifting,” said Dudzik. “If you just go to a regular gym franchise or watch a video and try to do things by yourself, you can hurt yourself or not hit the muscles you should be hitting. We try to help with the things that are more intimidating and we see a lot of confidence grown because of that.”
Dynasty cares about everyone that comes in, and it’s not just about sports.
“Sometimes, I think when you hire a personal trainer,” said Jirik. “They don’t really care if their client sees results or not. We don’t just focus on sports. We ask them how their day was or how their classes are going. We try to get to know every athlete on a personal level as well as a professional setting as their trainer.”
“We’re trying to raise their standards and teach them some of the principles we learned at NDSU,” said Dudzik. “One of our biggest things is finishing–finish every rep, every set, all of the drills. It’s one of the things that led us to be successful at NDSU, so we just want to pass that down to the kids.”
Editor’s Firsthand Workout Experience
As stated, you don’t have to be an athlete to work out with Dynasty. Christian Dudzik took me through an average one-hour adult workout that can be accommodated to all ability levels. As a former college dancer and coach, I was always used to workouts that focused mostly on legs and core. What I like about this workout is that it’s very well rounded and approachable. It involves multi-joint/ muscle exercises so that you’re working multiple parts of your body all at once versus trying to target one specific zone or muscle group.
*This workout is stylized by number of sets x number of reps. For example, 3×10 means three sets of ten reps each.
Goblet Squats (3×10)
Squat and return to a standing position while holding a dumbbell the long way with your palms holding the top part. Make sure you lean back and squat down far enough into your backside so that your knee doesn’t go past a 90-degree angle over your foot.
Medicine Ball Push-Ups (3×10)
You’ll have your hands on the ball, which really adds an element of balance for your core, while doing a traditional pushup or modified with your knees on the ground.
Medicine Ball Sit-Ups (3×10)
Do a traditional sit-up but make sure the ball stays straight up when you’re on your back and then over the crown of your head when you sit up. This was a challenge for me to always have the ball up and keep my arms straight while also focusing on the actual sit-up itself.
Rest two minutes
Single Arm Lunges (3×5 each leg)
Lunge and return back to a standing position after each rep. Like squats, remember to make sure your knee doesn’t go over your foot and creates a 90-degree angle. You’ll also hold a weight in your hand and hold it above your head the entire time, switching arms for the opposite leg you’re lunging on.
Front/Lateral/Rear Raises (3×8 each)
Front: You’ll hold the dumbbells down in front of you like you’re holding buckets, starting with your knuckles facing the ground and lifting to chest level and back down to the starting position (controlled) for each rep.
Front/Lateral/Rear Raises (3×8 each)
Lateral: Start by holding the weights at your sides and raising them out just past shoulder level and back down for each rep.
Front/Lateral/Rear Raises (3×8 each)
Rear: You’ll be in almost a half-squat position with your back parallel to the ground and your arms straight down with your knuckles facing the floor while holding the weights. Raise your arms out to your sides and back down to the starting position (controlled) for each rep.
Physio Ball Mountain Climbers (3×30)
The ball will lean up against the wall while you balance on it and switch back and forth between each leg quickly. Literally, just think of it as a climbing-like motion and you’ll nail it. One back-and-forth leg switch counts as one rep.
Rest two minutes
Hex Bar Dead Lift (3×8)
This one is pretty straightforward, but keep in mind the proper form for doing squatting positions.
Alt. Medicine Ball Slams (3×8 each side)
With this exercise, I circled the medicine back around my head with my arms stretched out and when I got to each side, I slammed the ball down as hard as I could. Once you get the hang of the fluid motions, it’s easier to do this at a quicker pace.
Bench Leg-Ups (3×15)
Start by laying on a bench with your butt hanging off the edge and your legs extended. Slowly raise your legs and then lift your butt off the bench when they get to an upright position. Then you’ll slowly bring your legs back down to the starting position to finish the rep. The key here is to take it rather slow and have controlled motions to really engage your muscles.
Hurdle Hops (3×20 seconds)
I will say that this exercise one took a lot out of me. Jump side to side over the hurdle and each time you land, you’ll land in a controlled crouched/ squat-like position so that you’re engaging multiple muscles and not just jumping back and forth. The squat landing also maintains healthy knee angles for strength and to minimize the risk of injury.