When Chris Johnson works out with coach Tom Shaw, he doesn't "lift like a musclehead," says the NFL training guru. Instead, the record-breaker's regimen focuses on building explosiveness and speed. Here's a snapshot of C.J.'s eight-week off-season program.
SETS: 2 (3 sets by end of offseason) REPS: 6-8
If a defender tries to tackle Chris up high, he can just stiff arm and push him off," Shaw says. The jammer simulates this move.
SETS: 3 REPS: 10
Doing curls while lying on your back, elbows on the ground, is tougher because you're not tempted to rock back with your knees.
3 SINGLE-LEG SQUAT
SETS: 3 REPS: 8
"Everyone has a weak side of their body," Shaw says. "You can see, oftentimes with the single-leg squat, that a guy can do 180 pounds on his strong leg, but only 140 on the other. We want to make sure Chris is balanced." Johnson sets up in a Smith machine and takes a lunge position. He bends his front knee until his thigh is parallel to the floor. He works up to six reps on each leg.
4 INCLINE BENCH WITH CHAIN
SETS: 4, 3 minute rest in between REPS: 8
"the thing with Chris, he doesn't want to come out of the game, he wants to play every play," Shaw says. "So this is a good workout for gaining 'muscle endurance.'" Adding chains improves your bench because it gives you momentum to move past your sticking point. Johnson works his way up to six reps, lifting 75% of his one-rep max.
SETS: 1 REPS: 10
While attached to resistance bands, Johnson sprints in place (using high knees) for 30 seconds. He also uses the Vertimax to do vertical jumps (taking a second between jumps) and alternating forward lunges. But Shaw stresses quality over quantity. "We never do more than 10 reps," Shaw says. "But we try to be explosive on every rep because it's only one set."