After setting an NFL record with 416 carries last season, Chiefs running back Larry Johnson didn't take much of a break. Instead, he hired a personal trainer with a reputation for keeping workhorse runners in peak condition. Johnson (right) moved his off-season home from Las Vegas to New York City and started working out with Joe Carini, the man who trained Giants running back Tiki Barber from 2004 through last season. During his time with Carini, Barber produced the best three-year span of his 10-year career, averaging 335 attempts and 1,680 rushing yards per season.
Carini, a power lifter who won the New Jersey Strongest Man title six straight years in the 1980s, emphasizes heavy lifting with fewer repetitions and shorter rest periods. The idea is to condition a running back's body to produce bursts of strength and then recover quickly—exactly what the 27-year-old Johnson needs on 30-carry afternoons. So even though he has rushed for 3,539 yards and 37 touchdowns over the last two years, a full off-season with Carini could make him even more formidable in the long run.