Will Bulking Up Make Chris Johnson a Better Running Back? | STACK

Will Bulking Up Make Chris Johnson a Better Running Back?

July 18, 2012

Word out of the Tennessee Titans' camp is that running back Chris Johnson has packed on eight pounds of muscle this off-season to help “make him sturdier in the trenches,” according to Titans beat reporter Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

Johnson is coming off a 2011 campaign marred by career-low numbers in several major offensive categories, including touchdowns (4), rushing yards (1,047), yards per attempt (4.0) and yards per game (65.4).

Despite his down year and smaller stature (he was listed last season at 5’11”, 190 pounds), Johnson still ranks among the most durable running backs in the NFL. He has played 63 out of a possible 64 regular season games in his career, most among running back since he entered the league in 2008. Johnson also ranks second in rushing attempts since 2008, with 1,187 carries, just two short of Atlanta Falcons RB Michael Turner’s 1,189.

Details of Johnson’s off-season workout were not disclosed, but it’s fair to speculate that the 2009 rushing champion packed on much of his new muscle in the upper body.

A larger frame will indeed help protect Johnson and reduce his risk of injury. However, his ability to break tackles and change direction to elude defenders was based on his lower-body strength, which he established through stabilizing exercises in off-season workouts leading up to his record-setting 2009 season.

Two such exercises are the Dumbbell Reverse Lunge with Knee Drive and the Dumbbell Split Squat, each of which incorporates an element of instability by way of an Airex pad. These single-leg exercises develop ankle stability, hip flexibility and overall balance, which, for Johnson, translate into longer, stronger strides.

Longer and stronger strides—not a massive upper-body—are what will return CJ2K to his All-Pro form.

Watch the video above to see Johnson perform the Dumbbell Reverse Lunge with Knee Drive, and check out the Airex Pad Dumbbell Split Squat.

Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How to Get Fit Like a Marine

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-9/46508_1553125718981_2106296_n.jpg?oh=aac16fc85c4b6ea24db9d11e0934be16&oe=54BC2349&__gda__=1

4 Easy Fixes for Your Bench Press Routine

Bilateral or Unilateral Exercises: Which Are Better?

Strengthen Your Core With Advanced Plate Push-Outs

How to Train During Your Hockey Season

Build Toughness With This Weight Vest Basketball Workout

The 4 Rules of Bulking Up

Female Athletes: 4 Ways to Test if Your Knees Are Durable

The 5 Foods That Will Rule 2015

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Kettlebell Swing vs. Olympic Lifting: Which Is Better?

The Upper-Body Endurance Combo Workout

Baseball Workout for Power Hitting

Why You're Not Reaching Your Strength and Speed Potential

Why Bear Crawls Are All the Rage Right Now

Get More Explosive With James Harden's Workout

Build Rock Solid Glutes With This 30-Day Workout Plan

Build Hockey Speed and Power with the Hang Clean

3D Triceps Workout: 3 Exercises for Huge Arms

3 Athletic Arm Exercises for Big Guns

Nike Basketball Officially Unveils the Nike Kyrie 1

The 14 Most Beastly Plays of 2014

Nike Basketball Releases 2014 Christmas Collection

3 Loading Schemes to Build Muscle Size

The Hardest Plank of All Time

Develop Speed With a Power Bag Workout

Why One Bench Press Is Not Enough

Get Tougher With Skylar Diggins' Bodyweight Workout

Do Your First Deadlift

Build Explosive Hips to Jump Higher

James Harrison's Physioball Side-to-Side Bridge

Breathing Exercises to Strengthen Your Lifts

Do Your First Pull-Up With This Simple Workout. Guaranteed.

4 Strength Exercises for Female Athletes

Hockey Training Designed Specifically for Goalies

Introducing the Football You Can Throw 100+ Yards

7 Tips to Master Single-Leg Exercises

The Softball Dugout Workout

Improve Your Durability With 3 BOSU Exercises

Sumo Deadlift for Football Strength

Develop a Bulletproof Core With Advanced Barbell Rollouts

3 Tips to Maximize Your Off-Season Baseball Training

3 Simple Tips to Deadlift More Weight

Should You Train for Absolute or Explosive Strength?

5 Exercises to Keep Your Shoulders Healthy All Season Long

Hanley Ramirez's Overhead Tire Pull

Man Does 4,300 Pull-Ups in One Day

The 12 Best RDL Variations

Why the Dead Bug Is Changing Core Training