Three Exercises to Lower Your 40-Yard Dash

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Although the 40-Yard Dash may look simple to the untrained eye, it's an incredibly complex test that requires impeccable technique and immense strength and power. Elite athletes spend hundreds of hours performing drills and exercises designed to shave tenths of a second off their times; but such a small improvement can be the difference between catching a coach's attention and blending in with the pack.

Here are three exercises that can help lower your time:

Dumbbell Squat and Press

Boosts lower-body power so you can burst off the line faster and increases shoulder stability so you can support your weight in your starting stance.

  • Holding dumbbells at shoulders with palms facing, assume athletic stance with feet slightly wider than hip width
  • Keeping back straight and knees behind toes, sink hips back and squat until thighs are parallel to ground
  • Extend hips and knees to drive up out of squat position while pressing dumbbells overhead
  • Lower dumbbells to shoulders; repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 3x10

Dumbbell Step-Up

Builds lower-body power so you can propel yourself forward and develops the high knee drive needed to put maximum force into the ground.

  • Holding dumbbells at sides, assume athletic stance in front of knee-high box
  • Step onto box with left foot
  • Explosively extend left hip and knee to raise body onto box
  • Drive right knee up until thigh is parallel to floor
  • Return left foot to ground; repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 3x10 each leg

Dumbbell Incline Bench

Although improving speed is generally associated with the lower body, increasing chest strength helps build a powerful arm drive, which directly impacts overall speed.

  • Lie with back on incline bench, holding dumbbells near front of shoulders
  • Drive dumbbells toward ceiling until arms are straight
  • Lower dumbbells with control; repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 3x10

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