TD1 Minute: Perfect 40-Yard Dash Technique | STACK

TD1 Minute: Perfect 40-Yard Dash Technique

June 29, 2012

Coming Up

In this TD1 Minute weekly series, Kurt Hester, National Training Director for D1 Sports Training and a driving force behind The Dominant One Challenge, offers instructional tips on how to master your training and dominate your sport. In this fourth installment, Hester provides detailed guidelines on proper 40-Yard Dash technique. For more information on the TD1 Challenge, visit

The 40-Yard Dash is the highlight of the NFL Combine. It's exciting and explosive, and a tenth of a second can be the difference between getting picked in the first round or the third.

The 40 is a pure measure of how quickly an athlete can explode off the line and reach top speed. It's measured at the 10-, 20- and 40-yard marks to get accurate readings of the entire run:

10 Yards - Measures acceleration from a standstill
20 Yards - Measures acceleration to top speed
40 Yards - Measures how well top speed is maintained

The 40 requires precise technique to produce numbers that will impress coaches and scouts. Below are five steps that will immediately improve your 40 time. Be sure to watch the instructional video above for more tips.

Step 1

Get into start position. You must be completely motionless for a three-count before exploding off the line.

Step 2

Take a deep breath. Explode off the line, punch your trailing arm forward, and keep your chin down while holding your breath. It's essential to keep your chin down so that you don't rise up too fast, which will limit your powerful leg drive. Keep holding your breath for the first 12 to 15 yards, and focus on increasing the force you put into the ground and firing your arms to increase your stride length and frequency.


Step 3

At around 15 to 20 yards, begin the transition to an upright position and release your breath. Some athletes will take another breath and hold it to the finish, while others resume a normal relaxed breathing pattern throughout the run. I have seen great results with both techniques, so it's personal preference.

Step 4

Relax your entire body and cycle your legs through a natural sprint motion without trying to run fast. This is the hardest thing for an athlete to do. Keep arm action at full range of motion, driving your elbows back through the finish. Most athletes allow their arm action to slow down the last five yards of the race, which reduces top speed.

Step 5

Run through the finish line with your head punching through tape.

Check out previous episodes of the TD1 Minute to learn proper technique for the:

Topics: 40-YARD DASH
Kurt Hester
- Kurt Hester is the head strength and conditioning coach at Louisiana Tech. Prior to that, he served as D1’s director of training. In addition, he...
Kurt Hester
- Kurt Hester is the head strength and conditioning coach at Louisiana Tech. Prior to that, he served as D1’s director of training. In addition, he...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Rev Up Your Sprint Training With These Complexes

The Science Stuff For a sprinter, there are three key objectives to strength development in sprint training. Increase force production by myofibrillar...

Mario Manningham's Combine Training

2-Week Long-Distance Track Workout Training Plan

3 Speed Training Essentials You Must Develop to Get Faster

Michael Johnson's Guide to a Faster 40

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

Increase Your Soccer Speed With 4 Sprint Drills

Refine Your 40-Yard Dash Start Technique

TD1 Minute: Perfect 40-Yard Dash Technique

How to Run a Perfect 40-Yard Dash

TD1 Minute: 40-Yard Dash Training Program, Weeks 1-2

40-Yard Dash Form Tips From the Pros

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

Pyramids: A Sprint Workout for the Strong

TD1 Minute: 40-Yard Dash Training Program, Weeks 3-4

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Treadmill Challenge

Ditch the Sprints. Here's How to Build True Sports Speed

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash

Make Quick and Powerful Cuts Like Adrian Peterson

8 Positions to Lower Your 40-Yard-Dash Time

Stability Training Can Improve Your Agility and Range of Motion

Von Miller

Why NFL Draft Prospects Are Running Faster Than Ever

5 Essential Cross Country Workouts Explained

Soccer Speed and Agility Drills for Women

Form Techniques for 40-Yard Dash Transition

Football Speed Drills to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash

Avoid These Common 40-Yard Dash Start Mistakes

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

Do Combine Scores Affect Draft Results?

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

Get the Most Out of Foam Rolling

Burn Your Competition with This Sprint Workout

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

Terrell McClain's Time to Shine at the Combine

TD1 Minute: 40-Yard Dash Training Focal Points

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Track Sprints

Step Counting: How Big Men Can Run a Faster 40

Get More Explosive Off the Line of Scrimmage Like DeSean Jackson

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

How to Safely Decelerate Faster

Get Faster With This Sprint Form Checklist

The Speed Drill That Set Up DeSean Jackson's 64-Yard Touchdown

2011 NFL Combine Results: Wide Receivers

10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Faster

40-Yard Dash: Get Faster With a Form Checklist

3 Speed Drills to Help You Sprint Faster and Lower Your 40 Time

Build Game-Breaking Speed With This Exercise

Here's Why Andre Williams' Breakout Performance Was No Fluke

3 Box Drills That Develop True Game Speed

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

Get Faster With 3 Essential Speed Training Strategies

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Ladder Drills

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

4 Foot Speed Drills to Increase Speed and Agility

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Multidirectional Run

Get Faster With 'The .10 Second Difference' From EXOS

Soccer Players: Get Faster with the Montreal Impact Workout

Perfect Your 40-Yard Dash, Part 1: The Start

Get Faster With the Ultimate Stair Workout

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Sprint Speed

Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash Start

Reactive Agility: The Next Big Thing in Speed Training

How Sammy Watkins Built His Game-Breaking Speed

3 Speed Workouts to Improve Your Top-End Sprints

40-Yard Dash Three-Point Stance Essentials

STACK Challenge: 300-Yard Shuttle

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program