Everybody knows the importance of the 40.

So let’s talk about how to get a faster 40 time.

The 40 alone can make or break a career.

Related: 40 Yard Dash Training


How Important is the 4o to Scouts?

A few years ago we had a wide receiver client that ran a high 4.6 on his pro day.

Scouts told me that if he would’ve ran a low 4.5 or lower, he would’ve gotten picked up as an undrafted free agent.

Guess what?  He didn’t.

All because of his 40 time.


How to Get a Faster 40 Time

There’s a ton of crap you can do that can help you with your 4o in one way or another.  Today I’m going to share with you a few of ’em.

Disclaimer: Your trainer may teach some of these philosophies a little differently. With that said, I’m confidant that most trainers will agree with most of the information you’ll read below.


Related: What Everybody Ought to Know About Improving Football Speed


Make Sure You Warm-Up Properly

You should have at least a light sweat going before you test in the 40.

If you watch it on tv, you’ll see a lot of guys at the NFL Combine keep on their sweats and stay moving before they test in the 40.

It’s because they’re trying to keep their body temperature up.

Our muscles perform their best when they’re warm.

Now let’s talk stance real quick.



If I were you, I’d get comfortable with my starting stance loooonng before I showed up for testing day.

You should be so used to it, that it feels like second nature.


Front Hand Positioning

Your front hand, which is usually your dominant hand, should be aligned parallel to the start line.

It should be placed as close to the starting line as possible.
Rear Hand/Arm Positioning

Coming up, I was taught to place my rear arm straight up in the air above my back before I exploded out of the blocks.

Nowadays, I’m finding that more and more trainers are telling their clients to keep their rear arm in a 90-degree angle position, placed next to, or on, your butt.

The philosophy behind this, is that if your hand is wayyyy up in the air, the timers are going to start the clock when that hand moves…

…and if that’s the case, they’re probably going to start the timer long before you’ve actually started to move forward.

And that ain’t good.

The end result can be hundredths, or even tenths of a seconds tacked-onto your 40 time before you’ve even started to run!
Weight Distribution

When you line up, you want about 90 percent of your weight resting on your front hand and foot.

Lean forward, so your shoulders are as far over the starting line as you can stand before you topple-over.

This makes the distance you have to travel to the finish line shorter.


Front Leg Positioning

Your front leg should be your “power” leg.

Not sure which one is your power leg?  It’s usually the one you’d prefer to jump with if you had to choose between the two.

If that still doesn’t help you identify it, it’s normally the foot opposite your dominant hand.


Front Leg Placement

Your power leg should be anywhere from six to nine inches behind the starting line.

The toes of your rear foot should be in-line with the end of the heel of your power leg.
Shin Positioning

While you’re in your stance, your shins should be as close to parallel to the ground as possible.

If your legs are vertical (in other words, perpendicular to the ground) when you start, your first movement out of the blocks will be to crouch-down before you explode out of your stance.

This isn’t good, because you’re going to trigger the timer to start before you’ve made any progress towards the finish line.

I gotta run for now (no pun intended), but stay tuned for part 2 and part 3 to this series.

Related: 40 Yard Dash Training – STRETCHING to Improve Your 40 Time??


What’s your fastest 40 time? What drills or exercises have helped you shave time off your 40?  Leave a comment below.

Follow me on Twitter! @alvingrier

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Web References:

How to Run a Fast 40 Yard Dash (via ezines.com)
National Athletic Testing System – Drills: Speed (via nats.us)
NFL Scouting Combine (via NFL.com) 

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