Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash Start

March 31, 2013 | Raymond Tucker

Must See Speed Videos

The 40-Yard Dash is a critical test of speed, which is why it's performed at the NFL Combine. Yes, the top speed part of the test is flashy and exciting. But what sets the stage for a successful run is the start. (Avoid these 40-Yard Dash mistakes.)

A strong 40-Yard Dash start allows you to accelerate as fast as possible to reach your top speed. The goal is to maximize the amount of force you put into the ground, so you can drive out of your starting stance. If you have poor technique, you will waste valuable time and energy and fail to reach your top speed.

To lower your 40 time, I recommend these starting tips.

  1. Determine your strong leg by taking a few steps, then jumping. The leg you jumped with is your strong leg, which should be your forward leg during the 40.
  2. Place your strong leg six inches from the starting line. Kneel down and line up your opposite knee with the heel of your strong foot. Your knee should be at least six inches away from your strong heel.
  3. Take your weak-side hand and place it on the starting line.
  4. From a kneeling position, lift your hips to get into your starting position. Your front knee should be at about 90 degrees and your back knee should be at about 120 degrees.
  5. Your forward arm should be locked with your elbow pointed downfield and your weight resting on your thumb and fingertips.
  6. Shift your weight forward, so it feels as if you are about to fall forward. Make sure that your back is straight and that you are not hunched over.
  7. Align your head with your spine and look down.

Practice getting into this position until you feel comfortable with it. Nest, follow these tips to achieve an explosive acceleration. (Watch the 40-Yard Dash in action.)

  1. When you raise your body, take a deep breath and hold.
  2. Explode out of the start, pushing with both feet.
  3. Get a good extension out of the hip, knee and ankle.
  4. Drive your knees up during each stride.
  5. Do not bring the rear leg to your butt when starting. Keep your foot close to the ground, and remember to push back into the ground during the acceleration phase.
  6. Pump your arms as fast you can.
  7. Maintain a 45-degree body angle when accelerating.
Topics: 40-YARD DASH
Raymond Tucker
- Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association and Level 1 FMS certified by Functional Movement...
Raymond Tucker
- Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association and Level 1 FMS certified by Functional Movement...
Must See
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 9,430,417
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 27,860,608
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 6,829,964

Featured Videos

Abby Wambach's Med Ball Core Workout Views: 187,099
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 12,178
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 5: Fundamentals Training Views: 220,234
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,842
Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose
Views: 3,539,378
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,865,919
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,798,784
Johny Hendricks Workout Overview
Views: 822,554

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Deceleration: The Missing Link for Hockey Speed Training

If you were a track athlete or a speed skater, deceleration would be none of your concern those are pure speed sports. Hockey is different. Once we...

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

5 Weight Room Speed Exercises You're Not Doing

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

Supreme Speed: 6 Training Tips from Football's Fastest Man

Todd Durkin's 5 Drills for Faster Sprints

Increase Your Lacrosse Speed With Multi-Directional Exercises

4 Speed Training Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

Improve Your Baseball Speed With This On-Field Workout

Speed Drill of the Day: Get More Explosive with Ankle Hops

Linear Speed Drills to Improve Athleticism

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

3 Biggest Myths About Soccer Speed

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

Acceleration Drills to Increase Speed

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

Build Sprint Speed Like an Olympian

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

Sprinting Technique Errors and How to Fix Them

3 Acceleration Drills for a Faster First Step

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

Run Faster and Longer

8 Speed Workout Tips to Get Faster

The 10 Best Speed Exercises for Athletes

6 Essential Multi-Directional Speed Drills

3 Simple Steps to Get Quick

King of the Hill: 5 Hill Run Exercises to Supercharge Your Speed

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

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

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

How the Cable Machine Can Help You Get Faster

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather