Are you a big guy who wants a faster 40? Don’t count your steps — count their steps. Ask the fastest athlete on your team to run a 40 and count the number of steps he needs to finish. The total will probably come to 20 steps or less.
Faster athletes take fewer steps. Start training for a faster 40-Yard Dash by counting your steps during speed training.
After a proper dynamic warm-up, perform three full-speed 10-yard sprints and count your steps. Be exact. If your seventh step lands well past the 10-yard mark, you’ve taken 6.5 steps.
Fast athletes usually need 5.5 to six steps to run 10 yards. If you’re an offensive lineman, don’t be surprised if you run it in eight steps. Get that 10-yard sprint down to seven steps, and your 40 will come down!
Improve the most important step of your 40 with Wall Drills. Start with one-counts, then progress to two-counts, maintaining proper knee drive and keeping your toes up. Think of each count as a step in your sprint. If you’re used to starting with your left foot forward and your right foot back, start the Wall Drill with your left knee up. When you hear “Go,” drive your right knee to simulate taking the first step with your right leg.
The key to running a faster 40 is increasing stride length without letting your heel hit the ground. If you strike the ground with your heel, you’re slowing your body by forcing it to pull you down the track. Instead, focus on pushing off the balls of your feet by striking the ground directly underneath your hips.
Start by running 10-yard sprints at 75 percent to prove to yourself that you can make it in six or seven steps. Once you feel comfortable with both your form and the number of steps you’re taking, start speeding up to 100 percent. By slowing down first, you’ll find it much easier to sprint with longer strides when you’re finally running as fast as you can.
If you’re having difficulty lowering your step count, have a coach watch you sprint or set up a camera. Your first step is probably the culprit. We’ve trained many athletes who never knew that their first step was actually moving backward until they saw themselves on camera.