It’s no secret that having a fast 40 yard dash time and playing with that speed (which is even more important) can greatly improve your chances at playing college ball or making it pro.

So let’s talk about how to increase speed in football.

Related: What Everybody Ought to Know About Improving Football Speed


Some say that Deion Sanders ran a 4.17 40 yard dash time in 1989 at the NFL Combine. (ICON Sports)

The stuff I’m going to talk about today doesn’t cover everything you need to know, but they’re good things to know nonetheless.


The Importance of Strength


Until a few years ago, I had no idea how big of a role a person’s physical strength played in their speed.

Physical strength is like horsepower in a car, in that it’s what gives you the ability to accelerate and move quickly.

Just like a car can have high performance tires, a spoiler and other aerodynamic crap on it to make it faster, you can have supreme flexibility, the lightest shoes, and whatever else, but unless you have that horsepower under the hood (aka strength), you’re never going to be as fast as you could be.

Related: How to Get a Faster 40 Time – Part One


I’ve heard strength coaches say that they’ve helped beginner athletes improve their speed just by improving their strength alone; even before getting into any speed-specific training.


The Technical Reason Why Strength is Important.

Your strength is the backbone that controls everything else; your agility, speed, explosion, jumping ability and more are all affected by how strong you are.

Related: Little-Known Ways to Jump Higher!

I can’t really explain it much better than the dude in the article The Importance of Strength For Enhanced Explosiveness:

… a 200 pound man capable of squatting 250 pounds for a single rep will have a mere 50 pounds of reserve strength available to propel his body upward during a vertical jump. Contrast this with a 200-pound elite-class powerlifter capable of squatting 600 pounds. Now we’ve got 400 pounds of strength reserve available, and all things being equal, he will have a vastly superior vertical jump compared to the novice squatter.

That should clear it up for you.

Sorry, I know that was kinda long…  Moving on…


Strength Isn’t Everything, Though.

But there’s more to the equation than just being strong.

In fact, if all you work on is just developing your strength, you’ll actually get slower.

Why? Because all you’ll do is just gain weight.

And you have to have a training program that converts that strength into power.

That’s the key.

Related: Strength Training Fundamentals Every Player Should Know – Part One


Speaking of that…


You Gotta Transfer Strength to Explosion and Power!

“Power” is what you need to be as explosive and fast as you want to be.

Two different cars might be able to get to 60 miles per hour, but the one with more “power” under the hood is able to get to that top speed faster.

Related: 40 Yard Dash Training


It’s the same thing with us humans when it comes to developing speed.


Let’s Get Scientific

Or is the right word “mathematical?”

Who cares. Anyways, remember this equation in Physics class?

W/T = P

That equation says that Power is equal to the amount of work (W) you’re able to put out over a specific period of time (T).

We know, that in order to increase our football speed we want to be able to accelerate as “fast” as possible, agreed?

Are you training properly for speed in the off season? (Image:

So in other words, in the equation above, we want the “T” (for time) in this equation to be as small as possible.

Let’s throw these random number into the above Power equation, for the sake of having round numbers to work with:

100/2 = 50 (100 is Work, 2 is Time, and 50 is Power)

Now let’s say your power number increases to 100.

Let’s revisit that equation:

100/T = 100

100 divided by what equals 100?

That’s right, “1.”

This shows you that the more power you have, the less time it takes you move.

Make sense?

Damn, I feel all smart and stuff…  🙂

Check back for part two.


Who do you think is the fastest dude in the NFL right now?  Leave a comment.

Follow me on Twitter. @alvingrier

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Web References:
The Importance of Strength For Enhanced Explosiveness (via
How Strength Training Helps Your Run (via
From Strength Training for Football… The Elite Approach (via
Role of Periodization (via
How to Fix Muscle Imbalance (via
Speed: Beyond Genetics (via 

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