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Cardinals RB David Johnson turns to yoga to improve flexibility

David Johnson jogs during OTA workouts in May. Johnson has taken up yoga with his wife and credits it for giving him more flexibility. Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

TEMPE, Ariz. -- When Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson first started doing yoga with his wife, Meghan, in their dining room this offseason, he was reluctant.

Anyone who works out can relate. There were times in the beginning -- more often than not, actually -- that he just didn't want to do another workout, regardless of how much his coaches told him he needed to improve his flexibility. But Meghan was persistent and David relented.

Months later, adding yoga to his repertoire has paid off for the All-Pro running back. On Friday, when Johnson and the Cardinals report to University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale for their conditioning test to kick off training camp, his newfound flexibility will be on display.

"I like doing it," Johnson said. "At the start, I didn't like doing it. It's like when you work out. At the start, you don't feel like necessarily getting up there, but you know it's good for you, and after it, I feel like it definitely helped out. I am glad that I'm doing it."

With their infant son sleeping, David and Meghan would take to the dining room and go through a series of movements. They both said it wasn't a specific form of yoga, rather a collection of down dogs, up dogs, sun salutations and stretches. A lot of stretches.

"It's pretty basic stuff," Meghan said.

"It's more stretching," David said. "Not doing those poses. I can't do those poses anyways, so it doesn't matter.

"We get some good stretches in. Some tough stretches. She's always the one to convince me to do the pose longer."

Meghan has done yoga for a while, so she was able to take her experience and teach her husband.

"He needed to do it," Meghan said. "I think his coaches convinced him to do that. They're like, 'You aren't flexible; let's work on this.'"

With Meghan's help, David's flexibility has improved.

"I don't care what people say -- women are more flexible than guys," David said. "They are.

"She does yoga all the time. She used to do hot yoga, so she learned a lot, and then we started doing yoga, so now she's my instructor and she's doing a great job."

The yoga has improved David's flexibility and loosened his muscles. His hamstrings weren't as tight during OTAs and minicamp this past offseason, giving David peace of mind when it comes to suffering potential soft-tissue injuries.

"I feel like I don't have to worry so much about them being tight or warming up as much as I used to last year or even before I started yoga," David said. "I think that's the biggest thing is that my hamstrings and just my legs in general [feel more loose]."

Added flexibility could help him stay fresh and healthy this coming season. Coach Bruce Arians wants to get Johnson 30 touches a game and thinks the third-year running back can average 200 yards per game. Last season Johnson led the NFL with 373 touches, 2,118 all-purpose yards and 20 touchdowns from scrimmage.

"I'm already feeling like my legs are rejuvenated," Johnson said.