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 fifth installment, Hester provides important background information on training for the 40-Yard Dash. For more information on the TD1 Challenge, visit thedominant1.com.
With 16 NFL Combines under my belt, I have acquired considerable knowledge about training for the 40-Yard Dash, which is the showcase event of the Combine. In my 16-year journey, I have learned more from my mistakes than I have from my successes. You can read all the research on sprint mechanics, force production and strength application, but until you put it into a cohesive and progressive program that works on the field, none of it matters. A lot of times, what is seen in the lab cannot be replicated when an athlete is actually on the field sprinting during the 40.
It is fairly easy for young athletes in junior high or high school to make significant improvements in their 40 times. They have little training experience, poor mechanics, limited flexibility and insufficient strength compared to their elite counterparts. So even minimal gains in each of these areas will result in improvements.
Now take athletes who run a 4.45 and try to get them down to 4.35. Their technique is already near perfect, and they have probably been working with a high level strength coach who has developed their strength and mobility. Plus, at the NFL Combine they are running against an electronic timing system, rather than a more favorable handheld timing device. Such considerations give you a better idea of what it takes to train for the 40-Yard Dash at the Combine.
I have created a six-week training cycle designed to improve 40-Yard Dash time. It is not training for sport in any way; it's only appropriate for the 40 test. The six-week cycle accounts for the limited time athletes have to train for the Combine after post-season bowl games, All-Star bowl games and recovering from injuries.
In a previous article, I reviewed some of the finer points of 40-Yard Dash technique. In subsequent articles, you will learn the four focal points of this training program; and finally you will receive the full six-week program, which you can use to prepare for the 40-Yard Dash.
Check out previous episodes of the TD1 Minute to learn proper technique for the: