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How Can You Improve Your 40 Yard Dash Time?

Once again this week was full of amazing responses. We at Bodybuilding.com truly enjoy seeing all of the effort put in to the forum and how beneficial they can be to everyone that reads them. Keep up the great work and congratulations to all the winners!

By: Topic Of The Week


TOPIC: How Can You Improve Your 40 Yard Dash Time?

The Question:

In bodybuilding, people ask, "How much do ya bench?" In the speed world, people ask, "What's yer 40 time?" What are the secrets of improving your 40 time?

What type of weightlifting workout program should you follow to improve your sprinting speed? How many days a week should you workout? What type of running workouts should you do? What type of plyometrics are best?

Is there any type of special equipment you can use? Are there any supplements that will help?

Are there any special starting or running techniques that people can use to improve their time?

Are there any activities you should avoid that could actually slow you down?

What type of improvement can you expect in four weeks? Twelve weeks? One year?

Bonus Question: What is a good 40 time for a junior high athlete? For a high school athlete? For a college athlete? What is your 40 time?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    Prizes:
      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.
      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ will@bodybuilding.com for more info.


1st Place - doggiejoe

Gone in 4.2 Seconds

Ah the good ol' 40. The test which makes and breaks athletic careers. It's what will make you get on the field or make you watch from the bench. There's no other test more recognized than the 40-yard dash. It's just 40 yards, but the world makes this test more important than the S.A.T.

Let's be honest here. What's the first stat you sort in the Madden '05 draft combine? Yes the good ol' 40. If a guy is not fast enough, coaches don't even care if they can play the sport or not. They think, if they got speed, I can coach the sport. That's why you see so many sprinters turned football player wide receivers drop balls on television. This doesn't mean a guy with average speed can't improve their speed. In this article, I will teach you basic methods to improve your speed. You won't be disappointed.

The Workout

    When training for speed, you will need to follow workouts made for explosion. These workouts include exercises like the bench press, squat, deadlift, military press, power clean and snatch. These exercises are called the "core lifts" in the workout and are all compound lifts.


    Click To Enlarge.

    Then you have exercises like incline bench press, close grip bench press, triceps pushdown, front raises, lunges, step-ups, leg extensions, leg curls and hang cleans which are labeled "auxiliary lifts". This workout will be a 3-day split. The days off from lifting will be the time spent on the field running. The running will consist of drills like cone drills (shuttle, figure 8, side to side, suicides, etc.), hill running, and 10,20,40,60,100,200,300 and 400-yard sprints. On running days the athlete will also perform plyometrics which I'll go into later.

    The workout will go something like this...

    Sample Routine

      Monday
      Weight room- 3 core, 3 auxiliary lifts

      Tuesday
      Running/Plyometrics- Sprints, all plyometrics

      Wednesday
      Weight room- 3 core, 3 auxiliary lifts

      Thursday
      Running/Plyometrics- Hill running or cone/position drills, all plyometrics

      Friday
      Weight room- 3 core, 3 auxiliary lifts

      Saturday/Sunday
      Light conditioning if desired.

Plyometrics

    I believe plyometrics are the best form of exercise involved in shaving off valuable time from your 40. Plyometrics use shocking methods to turn your slow twitch muscle fibers into fast ones. Slow twitch fibers are used for distance running, while fast twitch fibers are used for speed bursts.

    Marathon runners are full of slow-twitch fibers while sprinters are full of fast-twitch fibers. Not only will plyometrics make you run faster, but it will even increase your vertical jump! Depending on skill level, plyometrics can shave off valuable miliseconds from your 40 and add inches to your vertical jump. All in all, plyometrics will make you more explosive and better overall athlete.

    Here Are Some Of My Personal Favorite Plyometric Exercises:

      Lunge Jumps
      Begin in the regular lunge position then explode up and go as high as possible while switching feet in the air. Do 2 sets of 10.


      Lunge Jumps
      Click To Enlarge.

      Video
      View: Mpeg
      View: Windows Media
      View: Real Player

      Squat Jumps
      Begin in the bottom position of the squat then explode straight up with legs straight as high as possible. Do 2 sets of 10.


      Squat Jumps
      Click To Enlarge.

      Squat Tuck Jumps
      Begin in the bottom position of the squat then explode straight up with your legs tucked into your chest as high as possible. Do 2 sets of 10.


      Squat Tuck Jumps
      Click To Enlarge.

      Video
      View: Mpeg
      View: Windows Media
      View: Real Player

      Side To Side
      Place an object of 12 inches or so tall and jump side to side over it as fast as possible. Do 2 sets of 30.


      Side To Side
      Click To Enlarge.

      Skips
      Skip with a running motion and pump your arms hard. Do 2 sets of 40 yards.


      Skips
      Click To Enlarge.

      Frog Jumps
      Get in the bottom position of the squat then explode up and forward and repeat. Do 2 sets of 40 yards.


      Frog Jumps
      Click To Enlarge.

      Video
      View: Mpeg
      View: Windows Media

      Jump Ups
      Set a surface of 2-3 ft high and jump onto it as fast as possible and plant both feet firmly on the surface. You can increase or decrease the height depending on your abilities. Do 2 sets of 10.


      Jump Ups
      Click To Enlarge.

      Video
      View: Mpeg
      View: Windows Media
      View: Real Player

      Death Drops
      These are my favorite. Get on a surface of 2-3 ft and let yourself drop from it and as soon as you hit the floor, jump as high as possible. Do 2 sets of 10.


    Death Drops
    Click To Enlarge.

Accessories - Equipment

    Speed Latter
    This latter can be used to make your feet quicker, thus making you faster and more agile overall. These are many exercises you can do with a speed latter so use your imagination. You don't necessarily have to purchase one because you can create one on your own.

    Cones
    Cones or something representing cones are a must. Cones can be used for the shuttle run, which improves your acceleration, which is needed to cut time off your 40.

    Parachute/Sled
    Parachutes and sleds can be used to add resistance to your runs and will make you run faster at the end. They will improve your overall running strength.

    Jump Sole Shoes
    These are the famous shoes athletes use to improve their vertical jump and to improve their speed. They have a sole on the bottom front so you run on your heels. They make you workout your calves even more. They can also be dangerous and cause injury, so beware.

Supplements

    Multi-Vitamins
    Every athlete needs more vitamins than a regular person. So the regular one-a-day won't cut it. Since athletes train more and lose more sweat and vitamins, you need to put back what you lose in your body.

    Protein
    Protein is another essential supplement for athletes. And again athletes need more protein than the regular person. They also assist you in reaching your daily protein requirements. I can't stress enough the importance of protein.

    Creatine
    Creatine is really the supplement that can put you ahead of the pack. It will give you amazing strength gains and will also take your athletic performance to another level. It is also safe and the best bet to get you where you want. If you want to get ahead of the game then look no further.

    Taurine
    Taurine is my secret weapon. Like creatine it will expand your cells, allowing more water to enter, leaving your muscles looking fuller. It is also very cheap and effective. Another benefit is the energy you will receive from taking this product. Look at the back of the most famous energy drink Red Bull, it has taurine! Taurine and creatine stacked together will work wonders for your athletic performance.

    Caffeine
    If you find it hard to get through your workout and your running, then you need energy. Caffeine gives you that energy you need and desire. It will make working out a lot easier and you'll find yourself breezing through everything. It will also elevate your alertness on the field and in the weight room so you'll never be caught dozing off.

Running Technique

    This is probably the fastest and quickest way to drop your 40 time. On the start you need to focus on exploding off the line. Remember, the clock starts on your first move. At the line you want to place your right hand on the line and bring back your right foot. Then at a 90-degree angle you should put your left arm as if you were putting it inside your pocket.

    The first ten yards you want to stay at a 45-degree angle and slowly creep up to a full running stance. You want to pump your arms as fast as you can at a 90 degree angle. Remember to run through the line and pretend you're running a 50-yard dash. You also want to take smooth large strides toward the finish line in a straight line.

What To Avoid

    If you want to get faster I don't recommend you go on a bulking or cutting diet. You should stay on a maintenance diet so your body has everything it needs to perform. Remember to keep your diet clean (if not, you're not getting anywhere). You should avoid long cardio sessions. They don't make you any faster and only will make you lose valuable muscles. You don't want to jog either. If you want to run, then sprint!


    Click To Enlarge.

Expectations

    Don't expect to cut a whole second off your 40 after reading this article. Be more realistic and set goals. Set short-term goals like taking off .1 second in a month and long-term goals like .5 second in a year. With hard work and dedication anything is possible. Remember consistency is the key to everything in life. Don't ever quit and always think big.

Other Factors To Improve Your 40

    Flexibility
    I got news for you. If you can't touch your toes without bending your knees, then you haven't reached your full potential in running. Flexibility gives you the ability to take larger strides and thus shaves time of your 40.

    So work on your flexibility and watch the time lower. Flexibility and running technique are the easiest way to improve your time and your athletic performance.

    Core Performance
    If you didn't know, your abs and hips control your running. This can make or break your 40 time. So if you haven't focused on your core, this is the time to start. A stronger core will equal a stronger time. There are many exercises and stretches to improve your core.

    Shoulders
    Shoulders? Yes, shoulders. Your feet will only move as fast as your arms. Meaning if you pump your arms harder, you'll run harder. Look at all the world-class sprinters. What do they have in common? They all have amazing defined shoulders. So never forget the importance of your arms and shoulders and keep those arms pumping.

Bonus Question:
What is a good 40 time for a junior high athlete? For a high school athlete? For a college athlete? What is your 40 time?

    Junior High Athlete

      Pos. / Elite / Above Average / Average / Below Average

      Football
      WR,CB,RB / Under 4.7 / 4.7-5.0 / 5.0-5.3 / 5.3 and higher
      LB, S,FB,TE / Under 4.9 / 4.9-5.3 / 5.3-5.6 / 5.6 and higher
      OL,DL,QB / Under 5.3 / 5.3-5.5 / 5.6-6.1 / 6.1 and higher

      Basketball
      PG, SG, SF / Under 4.9 / 4.9-5.3 / 5.3-5.6 / 5.6 and higher
      PF,C / Under 5.1 / 5.1-5.4 / 5.4-5.8 / 5.8 and higher

      Baseball
      OF,2B,SS / Under 4.9 / 4.9-5.3 / 5.3-5.6 / 5.6 and higher
      1B,3B,C,P / Under 5.1 / 5.1-5.4 / 5.4-5.8 / 5.8 and higher

      Track & Field
      All / Under 4.7 / 4.7-5.0 / 5.0-5.3 / 5.3 and higher

    High School Athlete

      Pos. / Elite / Above Average / Average / Below Average

      Football
      WR,CB,RB / Under 4.5 / 4.5-4.8 / 4.8-5.1 / 5.1 and higher
      LB, S,FB,TE / Under 4.8 / 4.8-5.2 / 5.2-5.5 / 5.5 and higher

      OL,DL,QB / Under 5.2 / 5.2-5.4 / 5.5-6.0 / 6.0 and higher

      Basketball
      PG, SG, SF / Under 4.7 / 4.7-5.1 / 5.1-5.4 / 5.4 and higher
      PF,C / Under 5.0 / 5.0-5.3 / 5.3-5.7 / 5.7 and higher

      Baseball
      OF,2B,SS / Under 4.7 / 4.7-5.1 / 5.1-5.4 / 5.4 and higher
      1B,3B,C,P / Under 5.0 / 5.0-5.3 / 5.3-5.7 / 5.7 and higher

      Track and Field
      All / Under 4.5 / 4.5-4.8 / 4.8-5.1 / 5.1 and higher

    College Athlete

      Pos. / Elite / Above Average / Average / Below Average

      Football
      WR,CB,RB / Under 4.4 / 4.4-4.6 / 4.6-4.7 / 4.7 and higher
      LB, S,FB,TE / Under 4.7 / 4.7-4.9 / 4.9-5.1 / 5.1 and higher
      OL,DL,QB / Under 4.9 / 4.9-5.2 / 5.2-5.5 / 5.5 and higher

      Basketball
      PG, SG, SF / Under 4.5 / 4.6-4.8 / 4.8-5.2 / 5.2 and higher
      PF,C / Under 4.9 / 4.9-5.2 / 5.2-5.5 / 5.5 and higher

      Baseball
      OF,2B,SS / Under 4.5 / 4.5-4.8 / 4.8-5.2 / 5.2 and higher
      1B,3B,C,P / Under 4.9 / 4.9-5.2 / 5.2-5.5 / 5.5 and higher

      Track and Field
      All / Under 4.3 / 4.3-4.4 / 4.4-4.5 / 4.5 and higher

    The fastest I ever ran the 40 was 4.62 this high school football season. Right now I would guarantee a 40 of under 4.8.


2nd Place - live4this13

Improving Your 40 Time.

What is a 40 time?

    A 40 time is the time it takes for an individual to run forty yards.

Why is it important?

    The 40 time is possibly one of the most vital stats to an athlete. Not only does an individual's 40 time show how fast someone is, it also shows their explosiveness and acceleration.

    Many colleges look at a person's 40 time to see not only how fast a person is, but as well as how fast they can get up to speed. For instance, an extremely fast athlete could have a slow 40 time if it takes them 20 yards to get up to full speed.

    Whereas another athlete could be slower than the first but have a better 40 time because they can accelerate quicker. This is why, when we train for our 40 we must include both speed and acceleration training.

Form

    I firmly believe you can make the most improvement in your 40 time by working with what you already have. What does this mean? It means that the best way to get a better time is work on your form. Correcting even the smallest flaws can shave tenths of seconds off your overall time. With that being said here is what I suggest you focus on to improve form:

    Lengthen Your Stride-
    Stride length is extremely important because if your steps are short and choppy you will waste vital energy. Short strides cause your body to work twice as hard to travel the same distance. This is not something you want when focusing on speed. Practice stretching your legs out and covering the most ground in one step as possible, saving energy and improving speed. Remember, don't stride out so far that you get off balance, but avoid short strides. You will find your ideal stride length with practice.

    Video Tape Your Start-
    If at all possible have a friend or coach video tape your start. Once you have yourself on tape, analyze your start, and try to pick up anything that could cause you to lose time.

Improving Your Start For Sprinters!
An effective start is a critical part of the short sprints. In this article, I will explain: the start, exercises that improve your start, and a variety of other technical aspects that go along with it.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    Also do a "Google Search" for sprinting videos and compare them side by side and note where your limbs (arms, legs, head position, etc.) are in comparison to other sprinters. Note how your feet move at the start, try to get out of your stance and into your full stride by your second step.

    Upper Body Movements-
    Another point often overlooked is the upper body movements in sprinting. Make sure you swing your arms when sprinting; this propels your body forward and creates an equal balance between upper and lower limbs. Avoid excessive and exaggerated jerking, and opt for a smooth rocking motion. You should be able to find your ideal movements by practicing.

Sprinting & Plyometrics Routine

    Sprinting and plyometrics are important, due to the fact that if you aim for increased speed, what better way to accomplish that than by actually getting out and sprinting. Since I will have you on a "Modified Westside" weight program (see below) it would be ideal to keep our sprint work consistent with our weight training. Our layout will be as follows:

      MONDAY (A.M.) - Max-Effort Upper Body lift (below)
      MONDAY (P.M.) - Plyometrics Routine
      TUESDAY - Sprint work
      WEDNESDAY - Max-Effort Lower Body Lift (below)
      THURSDAY - Plyometric Routine
      FRIDAY - Repetition Upper Body lift (below)
      SATURDAY - Sprint work and Plyometric Routine
      SUNDAY - OFF

    I selected this program because of the variety of things you can do with it. It allows you to still be able to hit the weight room hard, and still get in your speed work. I suggest only having one leg day in order to make sure you don't over train your legs.

    Now that we have the program laid out, you are probably wondering what each day means. Well I will explain the Sprint and Plyometrics routines now, however, I will save the weight days for later, so ignore the lifting part for now.

    Plyometrics Routine

      Plyometrics should not be overlooked, they are vital in increasing overall power output and explosiveness. I personally like simple plyometrics routines. I believe you should use them as a focus on learning how your body moves, and to create rhythm. Here is the plyometrics routine I suggest:

        Warm-up:
        30 yd run at 50% speed
        30 yd run at 50% speed
        40 yd run at 75% speed
        40 yd run at 90% speed

        High Knees 3x30 yd

        Butt Kicks 3x30 yd

        Transition Sprints 4x40 yd

        Lunges 2x15 yd

        Frog Leaps 2x15 yd

    Plyometrics Explained

      Warm-up - Self explanatory, make sure you perform them to get your blood flowing, and loosened up.

      High Knees - Bring your knees up as high as possible while jogging

      Butt Kicks - Jogging while kicking yourself in the butt

      Transition Sprints - Sprint the first 20 yards then turn around and backpedal the last 20. Focus on keeping your balance while turning around, you should be able to get your footwork down to where you don't have to slow down when turning.

      Lunges - Hands behind your head, step out as far as possible go down slowly then back up. Make sure not to go too fast on these.

      Frog Leaps - Go down like a squat then explode back up off two feet, focus on really stretching out and jumping far, but don't sacrifice form.

    Sprint Routine

      Make sure to concentrate on going hard on all your sprint work. Sprint work is vital to become a faster athlete. In this routine we will focus on both longer and shorter sprints.

5 Key Tips On Designing Effective Sprint Programs!
No single program works for every athlete. Even a program that works well for an athlete today may lose its effectiveness in a week, a month or a year. It all depends on the individual and what level they're at in training.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

      The longer sprints will increase your anaerobic threshold, so you can maintain your short speed and power throughout the course of your sprints. Shorter sprints prepare you for the actual 40 test and help more in the speed department.

        Warm-up:
        30 yd run at 50% speed
        60 yd run at 50% speed
        60 yd run at 70% speed
        80 yd run at 70% speed

        Full Speed Sprints:
        2x10 yd
        5x40 yd
        2x80 yd
        1x100 yd

        Reverse Sprints **
        3x30 yd

      **On Reverse sprints you will backpedal for 30 yards and sprint back to the starting point.**

Weight Training

Overview

    This routine allows for a lot of exercise variation. I suggest you follow this set up for a few weeks, then switch it up to your liking. However, if you decide to change the exercise selection, be sure to include a variation of a squatting movement, and a posterior chain movement. These are both vital to create speed and explosiveness.

Nutrition

    It is extremely hard to lay out a nutritional program without knowing someone's body type, experience, etc. Therefore, I will just be giving some basic tips that everyone could follow. I would suggest a 45%:35%:20% Carbs: Protein: Fat ratio.

    Your carbs should be mostly complex, and come from: brown rice, wheat bread, pasta and oatmeal. Try to bracket most of your carbs around your workouts and in the morning hours.

    Make sure you take in 1.2-1.5g per pound of bodyweight in protein. All your fats should be healthy fats, and come from sources like: natural peanut butter, and fish or flax oil. Try to avoid carbs before bed, and foods that contain a lot of sugar or trans fats.

Calculate Your Protein Needs:

Enter Your Bodyweight In The Box Below:

Your Bodyweight In Pounds: OR In Kilograms:

Supplements

    With so many different choices out today it's hard to know what is best. While supplements are not a huge part of getting faster, they can help. I will explain a few areas where I think supplements can help, and give you a product choice for each one.

    Protein-
    Protein is extremely important right after a workout. It helps repair your muscles and fuel them. I suggest a Whey Protein for pre and post workout. You can also include a casein protein to help reach your protein requirements:

    Creatine-
    Creatine helps increase energy stores, and strength output. Creatine will help you get through your workouts and increase strength. I suggest these creatines:

    Energy-
    Everyone can always use extra energy boost. My personal favorites are:

Other Things To Note

    Try to avoid a lot of extra running, and long distance runs. Also avoid putting on a lot of fat, and eating unhealthy.

    Things to Remember when preparing for a contest:

      Warm up prior to your 40 sprint
      Make sure you have plenty of carbs and protein pre and post workout.
      Try to avoid any heavy leg lifting a week before although you may want to have one light leg session 3-4 days before your 40 day.

    What kind of improvements can you expect?

      This depends on your body, current time, etc. It is really hard to say, however if you are currently an "average" athlete, you can expect to increase your 40 time in as little as 4 weeks just by correcting your form. I'd say with good training and good genetics you could lower it a full second in a year.

    Any special equipment?

      I do not believe any equipment increases speed. The only thing I would support is a Speed Ladder. It is not vital, and really wouldn't fit into the routine I laid out.

Bonus:

    Times vary from athlete to athlete, and position to position. I'd be happy with a time in these ranges:

      Junior High Athlete- 4.9-5.3
      High School Athlete- 4.5-4.7
      College- 4.4-4.6

    My time is approximately 4.7, coming from 5.6. I improved my time by correcting form, increasing my stride and working on explosiveness. I believe that with hard work and dedication the program I laid out will help you reach your max potential. Good Luck reaching your goal, and please be sure to stretch out prior to running.

References

Here is the link to all the Westside information used in this article, however my split is modified and varies some from the split he lays out. So if you wanted to see his actual split it is in this link.


2nd Place - Twin (Tie)

4.5 Seconds of Fame

I've been running in intervals of 40 yards since I was 12-years old and playing pee-wee football. It was necessary then; it's necessary now. Speed and acceleration are the first things college recruiters look for.

It's measured on tracks, on field and on court. It's the equivalent of the bench press in football and vertical jump in basketball. If you plan to excel in sports, you will most likely test in the 40-yard dash. Below are plenty of exercises, methods, and advice for lowering you 40 time.

What Type Of Weightlifting Workout Program Should You Follow To Improve Your Sprinting Speed?

    There are plenty exercises that will lower your 40 time. I'll give you all base lifts you need and a couple other auxiliary lifts you can use to get that qualifying 40.

    Cleans
    This lift is for improving your acceleration off the starting line. Many coaches and trainers agree this is the most important lift to lower your 40. if completed properly the clean will work your back and hip flexors which will make a huge difference in your explosion off the line. It will also put stress on your shoulders which will assist in your arm pump. 3-5 sets ... don't do more than 5 cleans in a set

    Squat
    This lift will build the foundation for the legs. Working your quads, hamstrings, glutes and your lower back, squats are one of the most recommended lifts for improving your speed. 3-5 sets.

    Deadlift
    Another lift great for improving your explosion off the line. 3-5 sets

    Front Squat
    This lift will help increase your stride and maintain speed. 3-5 sets

    Lunges
    This lift helps you maintain your speed throughout the dash. These should be done with a barbell across the back, Do all reps on one leg before alternating. 2-4 sets

    Hamstring Curls
    Hamstrings are usually forgotten and are important in running. You don't want to go real heavy on these. 2-4 sets

    Weighted decline Sit ups
    To build a foundation to run on. Abs are important and frequently forgotten in training for running. 3-5 sets

    Calf Raises
    Do these with a medium weight and in a swift but controlled manner.3-5 sets

    Jump Squats
    Awesome lift used by many colleges to improve speed and jumping ability. These can be done with 5-10 pound plates or dumbbells in each hand. Hold a squat position for 2-5 seconds while holding weights in each hand then explode up as high as you can for ten reps. Then drop the weights and do the same for 10, pick up the weight and repeat once more for one set. 3-4 sets

    You can make your own workout, but all lifts above except jump squats should be rested at least a day, preferably two, before attempting again.

    2-3 days a week is ideal.

What Type Of Running Workouts Should You Do?

    Of course a good way to improve your running is to run. Here are a couple of workouts that will lower your 40. Note that stretching should be done before and after running and plyometrics. Also relax during both running and plyometric exercises.

      10 yard sprints. Focus on first step and acceleration. 3-5 sets
      40 yards sprints. 4-6 sets
      Flying 50. Jog 10 yards and sprint for 40. 4-5 sets
      Arm Pumps. Done sitting down. 30-45 seconds for 3-5 sets
      100 yard sprints. Will help improve top speed. 3-5 sets
      Bear Crawls-100 yard for 3-5 sets
      Falling forward sprints. Position feet and fall forward and sprint out for 10 yards. 3-5 sets
      Stadiums- 6-8 sets

Plyometrics

    These should be done on grass and 2-3 times a week...perform on balls of feet

    High Knees- Aim for 40-60 a set. 4 sets
    Broad Jumps- Aim for 3-5 a jump. 20 -30 yards a set- 3-6 sets
    Kick Butt- 20 yards for 3-5 sets
    Scissor Kick Lunges- Done standing in place. 15 jump for 3-5 sets
    Foot Fire- for 10 - 20 yard. 3-5 sets
    Heel Walks for 20 yards. 3-8 sets
    Walking Lunges for 50 yards.3-8 sets
    Skips for distance for 50 yards 3-5 sets

    Bounding for 50 yards. Good for stride. Pretend you're jumping over puddles. Get good stretch on every jump 3-5 sets
    backward bounding for 50. 3-5 sets

Is There Any Type Of Special Equipment You Can Use?

    There's plenty of paraphernalia made for running. Here are a couple that will help your 40:

    Bands-
    Requires a partner. You and your partner strap up at opposite ends of the band. Stand behind each other the distance of the band. The person in front should sprint out hard while the person in back waits until the stretch is too much and follows. This gives resistance to the person in front and helps stride for the person in back.

    Ankle Weights-
    These can work your Achilles' tendon and recruit fast-twitch fibers if done with running workouts. Don't do during plyometrics and be cautious while wearing them.

    Jump Ropes-
    Can be done with some plyometrics and running workouts.

    Weight on a Rope.-
    Another form of resistance. Can be performed on a beach.

    Calf Shoes-
    These are the shoes with a pump in front to keep your off you heels. These can also be worn during running workout and will strengthen your Achilles' heel and ankle.

Are There Any Supplements That Will Help?

    Before supplements you should make sure your eating habits are healthy. Every athlete doesn't have to eat like a bodybuilder. Just make good choices on what you eat. That being said there are plenty of supplements that will help you in your quest to lower your 40. Here's a couple:

    Protein-
    Must have supplement. Helps recovery and strength progress.

    Joint Relief-
    Keep your knees and ankles in good condition for running.

    Multi Vitamin-
    Also a must have. Make sure your body gets everything it needs for physical progress.

    Amino Acids-
    Many on the market. help with recovery and upkeep of muscles

Are There Any Special Starting Or Running Techniques That People Can Use To Improve Their Time?

    Form is very important in running and can shave hundredths off your 40-yard dash. Here are a couple of tips:

    Create a starting stance that's comfortable for you. It should have the potential for you to come out low. Find a stance that's comfortable for you and explode out of it. Don't stand up out of it. This creates bad habits.

    Find your first step leg. Stand feet together and have a friend slightly push you from behind. Whichever foot you land on should be the leg that's in the back of your stance.

    Try not to stutter step out of your stance on the start.

    Make sure you run on the balls of your feet to include calves in your foot strike and increase length in stride.

    Hold your breath in your stance and let it out in your explosion out.

    Come out of your stance low.

    Don't let your arms cross your body. This is wasted energy and lowers speed. Try to pump straight ahead.

    Take powerful but relaxed foot strikes.

    Finish through the line. A lot of runners come up short of the line adding time to their run.

    Stretch frequently-
    Not only does this help prevent injury but it will make you faster.

Are There Any Activities That You Should Avoid That Could Actually Slow You Down?

    Endurance activities such as jogging or long swimming will slow you down on your sprints. These long endurance activities recruit more slow-twitch fibers which are good for long distance and cardio, but is not what we want as sprinters.


    Long Distance Activities Can Slow Down Your Sprinting Speed.
    Click To Enlarge.

What Type Of Improvement Can You Expect In Four Weeks? Twelve Weeks? One Year?

    The improvement of your 40-yard dash can depend on factors such as age and experience. Give it at least 4 weeks before expecting results. Some people can see results within the first week.

    Ideal results are .05 to .1 a month. Don't get discouraged thinking that's not enough. A tenth of a second can make or break your dreams. Of course you will eventually come to your natural plateau and progress will be slower but this doesn't mean you can't get faster. Olympic runners are always getting faster.

Bonus Question:
What is a good 40 time for a junior high athlete? For a high school athlete? For a college athlete? What is your 40 time?

    These times are based on electronic timing on a track as opposed to hand timing. Electronic times are more accurate and as of result the time will be higher. Electronic timing can add .05 to .15 to your 40. Also keep in mind track times will be a little faster than on a field.

      Junior High-
      Your athletes in junior high will run around 5.6 to 5.4 Your elite kids will run 5.4 to 5 flat

      High School-
      Your athletes in high school will run around 5 flat to 4.7 Your elite will run from 4.7 to 4.5

      College/ pro-
      The time range is lower considering the athleticism in college and the pros. 4.6 to 4.4. Your rare elite will run 4.4 to 4.3

    I'm a senior in a Florida High School and I run an electronic 4.4 on track.


3rd Place - bigcalves

How Can You Improve Your 40 Time?

In the fitness world everyone asks what your bench is. On the track world every asks what your 40 and 100 time is. This brings us to our next goal. Increasing the highly sought after achievements for each individual event.

There are multitudes of bench press exercises explaining how to increase your bench in 'x' amount of time. Our goal in this article will be to increase your 40 time and get faster and stronger legs. By having a good 40 time, you might have a chance in your event. I will show you specific workout for your legs and your whole body to increase your 40 time.

Stronger legs are important to your 40 time, but also your routine for running and practicing will be important too. In bodybuilding all you need is weights, but in track, especially the 40 requires a different approach. You will need to work on your body in the gym, and practice running on the track. It's way harder, and dedication will help. I will show you routines for working out in the gym, specific leg workout and also running exercises that condition you. By doing this, you will get the fastest time you can at the 40. So buckle up your belts, and get ready for a faster 40 time.

Our goal will be to increase your 40 time. Workouts will be intense, running practices hard. Would that be it? Well, if you want to run track at your local high school, yeah. You can stop reading now and go hang out somewhere else. If you want a fast 40 time, that will require dedication and hard work with awesome results, continue reading.

Even though we have workout and running practices, don't forget nutrition and recovery time. People seem to forget how important to your body these factors are. Without good nutrition forget making it anywhere. Also without good recovery time, you can forget about gaining muscle and strength on your legs. So make sure to rest for 8-9 hours per night. No more than 9 and no less than 8. You need your HGH to be kicking during the night to build explosive power in your body for that 40 event. So make sure to get your set and to eat good. What's good? Well we will discuss nutrition in depth in this article too. So keep reading and you will be on your way to an incredible 40 time.

Weight Training

    Weightlifting is important to any athlete. Especially bodybuilders and track stars. Without weight training, your muscles will be average size, and any other person on the track with bigger muscles will have more power and domination. So weight training is a must for track. Even though thousands of athletes flock to the weight room, not everyone knows what they are doing. Benching and curling 2-3 times a week will not improve your 40 time. I guarantee it.

    You need a routine that should be effective and give your more power and explosiveness. Don't pick your routine from the magazines, since the routines are hard on your body and built for bodybuilders/gym rats. Don't expect to have results from these routines. You need a specific routine customized to your goal, and in this case a faster 40 time.

    Our focus is not building muscle, but speed and explosion. Sure muscle will come, but don't expect to be the next bodybuilding champ. We are not looking to bulk 15-25 lbs because that will actually slow you down. We are looking for explosive muscles, that will deliver speed and power. So logically, our training will be different. Like I said, we are not looking to build a perfect body so exercises will be focused on the main groups that provide explosiveness and power.

    Legs will be the main muscle group, while back and arms will be secondary. This is not the routine for you if you are trying to build a big chest. Chest will be done or even skipped in sacrifice to our other important muscle groups. You will go into the weight room 3 times a week, because the other 3 you will be out on the track busy with running practices. You will have 1 day off to take a rest and enjoy life. Our reps will stay low, so we can focus on power and explosiveness. Remember that quads, hamstrings and calves are the most important muscles for the 40.

    Weight Training Routine

Running & Plyometrics

    Since you are running the 40, you will need to practice sprints. Your muscles need to get used to the pressure and speed they need in that 5 seconds or less. So running for hours will not help you on the 40. Practice 40s and 100s for a faster time. Remember that you need explosion. That's our goal here. Explosive power, because in those 5 seconds you will not be able to have time to adjust your speed. Only the fastest survive and that's what you need. So remember, no running long distances. Run for short, intense moments, build up strength and power. Here is a routine that will help you run.

    Remember you already have a weight training routine designed. Plug this routine into your weight training routine for success at the 40 event. Remember that the routine is not made to get you big and bulked up. You are looking at the wrong sport if that's your desire. Your goal is speed. That's all. Speed and explosion to get a good time. Always leave 1 day off in your training schedule since it relaxes you physically and mentally and you feel much better the following day to begin your training all over.

    Running Routine

      MON- Springs-
      Spring until you can't anymore and jog for 30-60 seconds and repeat. 15-25 minutes

      TUE- See Weight Training Routine

      WED- Same as MON

      THUR- See Weigh Training Routine

      FRI- Same as MON

      SAT- See Weight Training Routine

      SUN- OFF

    Plyometrics

      Plyometrics is a word that not everyone has heard. People know the exercises but are not sure what the general name is. Plyometrics have been done for a long time. They involve jumping, bounding and hopping exercises and have been used in various ways to enhance athletic performance. That way you get more muscle power, strength and explosion.

      In the 40, athletes can benefit a great deal because it will give them more power and elasticity, which will help you get faster. In that 5 seconds you don't have time to get up to speed. You need the speed at the start. So by doing plyometrics your muscle will get better elasticity (like a rubber band). You pull it and when you release, it springs back fast with amazing power. That's the same thing we are trying to create to get a faster 40 time.

      Here we have a few lower body plyometrics that condition the most important muscles for the 40.

      Drop Jumping
      You get on a box and drop, not jump down. After that you jump up to the next box. Make a small line of 4-6 boxes and practice it. It will provide excellent conditioning to the hamstrings, quads and calves.

      Also be sure to have a set of a few jumps. Focus on quality rather than quantity. Our goal is to gain power and speed, not endurance because everyone's body can handle 5 seconds of sprinting, our goal is power.

      Medicine Ball
      This is done for the upper body. Get a 5-10lb medicine ball and a spotter. Get the spotter to drop it on your chest and as soon as you catch it, throw it back at him. Get about 10-15 reps on it and about 2-3 sets.

    Take Your Medicine: Medicine Ball Training!
    Catching and throwing of medicine balls, or jelly balls, is used to develop arm and upper body speed, strength and balance.
    [ Click here to learn more. ]

      You can include these exercises in your weight training routine that I provided. Also make sure to warm up, because if you are using heavier weight, you can get injured or pull a muscle.

Nutrition & Supplements

    Nutrition

      In today's world coaches are uneducated. Most people don't know the way to a good nutrition plan. If you want a fast time you will need to get all the factors that effect it and put them in check. Weights, running, practice, rest, nutrition, supplements ... all of these factors, when done perfectly, produce world class athletes. Sure you may not be the next Michael Johnson, but you will get fast.

      Most people complain about genetics and how that slows them down. The fact is that they are uneducated and ignorant. They don't know their left from right in the track world. Good nutrition is the key to reaching your goals. Ask any professional athlete and you will hear it from them. Nutrition will be in the top 3 things that made them a success. Now there are carbs, proteins and fats.

      Carbs are made for energy. They come in a variety of things. Potatoes, rice, pasta and fruit are all carbs. Carbs produce energy and get stored in your muscle cell as glycogen and will be used later on. That's why most athletes do a carb-loading and that helps them get more out of the energy stored in their muscle.

      Carb-loading might not be so good, since it's a short event, but we want the fastest time. I highly recommend carb-loading for your 40 event. Next on the chart is protein. Protein rebuilds cells, so you need it. With all the training you will have, you will need it more than the average Joe. You will need 1.5-2 grams per each lb. of body weight. So if you weigh 100lbs, you will get 150-200 grams of protein per day.

      Protein is found in meats, beans and fish. Fats are the last main macronutrient you will need to know. Fats are good for you. There is bad and good fat. Saturated fats are bad, while unsaturated, Poly and Mono, are good for you. Twenty percent of your calories should come from good, high quality fat. Fat helps burn fat, and it's an important macronutrient in your body.

    Supplements

      Supplements can always give you an extra boost and that might be what you just need to overcome a plateau and become faster. By using supplements you will have an advantage over your body, providing it with extra stuff so it overcomes. Using supplements is not only a smart idea but a must in getting an extra boost. It will help and you will feel good.

      Bodybuilding.com has an excellent store, filled with wonderful supplements to help your goals at very affordable prices and I highly recommend buying from them. Out of the thousands of useful supplements I will show the 5 most common and useful ones. Here are a few supplements that will help you get faster and more explosive:

      Creatine
      Creatine is a wonderful supplement. It almost doubles ATP energy stores which are responsible for energy and short-term movements of muscles, or during a heavy workout. By having extra ATP, you will be able to lift more, and last longer than people with normal creatine levels in them. Creatine is all natural and used by thousands of athletes worldwide.

      Whey Protein
      Whey protein is a must. It's protein that is easily dissolved in the bloodstream. It's a must for after a workout and any other time you need protein in you, fast! With normal diets, most people don't get enough protein and by supplementing with whey protein you increase your protein and help your body build up. It's a must in the fitness lifestyle.

      Multi Vitamin
      In today's diets we don't get enough vitamins and minerals. You simply cannot supplement all your needs with food, so multi vitamins are extremely needed. Even people who don't workout use them, imagine how important they are to athletes, especially when looking to overcome a plateau.

      Glutamine
      Glutamine is a popular supplement. It is an amino acid that prevents muscle loss and helps recovery. Good for when bulking and a must for cutting. It can give you a boost with recovery that can "push" you through your plateau. It is a must to have and it is completely natural and used by thousands of athletes worldwide.

      Fat Burner
      Fat burners are not magic pills that burn fat. They are filled with ingredients that 'wake up' the metabolism and make it faster. That will result in burning more calories and then fat loss. If you are cutting and stuck and not losing body fat, then consider using a fat burner. >From personal experience I can say they work, and especially when in a plateau they can help a lot.

Additional Tips

    Remember to avoid running or any vigorous activities before an event. That way you will use up your glycogen stores, and by the time the event comes your will not do good. Remember not to do squats or any other workout 2-3 days before the race. It's not good since it will make you more tired and slower and that's the last thing we want.

    I would recommend sleeping. Sleep for 1-4 hours around 2 hours before the meet. Then wake up, have some carbs and protein and get ready for that race. Give yourself time to warm up and don't be shy or afraid to do some stretching exercise and small running/sprinting warm ups.

    A good improvement over time is possible with hard work and dedication. Don't expect any magical results in the first 4 weeks. Maybe lowering your time but .1 will be great. After 12 weeks it would be nice to lower .1-.3 from your time and even then it would be done with hard work.

    After 1 year of keeping a strict routine and having discipline you can lower it by .1-.5. Just don't expect anything magical. Plus if you are already doing 4.7 don't think that in one year you will do 4.2. It doesn't work that way, otherwise people will be doing that in 2 seconds. Just remember to work hard, push yourself, and maintain discipline and it should all work out.

Bonus Question
What is a good 40 time for a junior high athlete? For a high school athlete? For a college athlete? What is your 40 time?

    Everyone is different. Different body types, genetics, height, weight, build. So everyone has a different time. For someone in High School I would say a 5.00 - 5.2 is good. As for someone more advanced would be 4.45. As you go in college, things get fast, and people can do 4.33 and better. But don't give up if your time is bad. Rome wasn't build in a day. Just relax, take a deep breath and get ready for a long journey. A journey that will get you fast.

    Well, this is it. Remember to eat healthy, exercise and your goals will be met. There is no reason why you can't be the next track superstar. Believe in yourself and don't let go of your dream.

    Good Luck!


3rd Place - dragontraining

Simply, the 40-yard dash of today's world can get you almost anywhere in a D-I college or even into the NFL. We are starting to realize that. Here is what you need to become a king at the 40-yard dash.

How To Be Successful At the 40 Yard Dash

    There's three things that you need to have to be successful at the 40-yard dash

    Heart-
    If you don't have heart and mentality you certainly will not achieve your goal. It's not supplements that make the player it's the heart and the mind of the player. Sure supplements can make you a better athlete but it truly comes down to what's inside of you not on the outside.

    Training-
    You must have free time to train, I recommend training 5 days a week. You will never get your achieved time if you don't have time planned out to practice.

    Time-
    You must tell yourself that these things take time, you're not going to go from a 5.9 to a 4.4 overnight after practicing, you must tell yourself that it takes time to reach your dreams. Anything is possible if you try.

    OK, now that I told you the three things that are first needed to run the 40 here are the physical things you want.

Supplements

I am not a big fan of supplements but if you wish ...

  • Creatine-
    Creatine is an excellent product. It will make you faster and have more power. Bodybuilding.com is where I would shop, (no I am not kissing up). It's just that they have very low prices and you can really get some steals on there.

  • Lipo6-
    I put Lipo down because I have tried this product for its energy ... and BOY did I get energy. I ran .2 faster when taking 2 pills before my workout and I got explosive energy which is highly needed for a 40.

Running & Lifting

    Now that you got that information down I will tell you what you need to do running and weight-lifting wise. I will make this easy so it can be read by younger fellas (yea I feel ya guys I know coaches are tough on the 40).

    Lifting:

      Squats-
      5 sets of 10 ... Keep it at a low weight and go down slowly then explode up so you really get that workout.

      Trap Bar-
      3 sets of 8 ... Very good for the 40, Do around 75 percent of your max and flip the bar over backward and grab it the other way for more resistance.

      Leg Press-
      5 sets of 10 ... Excellent exercise for the 40. Do around 85 percent of your max.

      Standing Calf Raises-
      5 sets of 20 ... I love this, it's good for your explosion in the 40, take about 35lb dumbbells and stand on your tippy toes and come back down, you really feel it.

    Cardio

      Bleachers-
      This is highly recommended it will really build up your endurance and legs for your 40.

      40 and 100 yard sprints-
      Hey, have you ever noticed if you run the 40 over and over again that you will be used to it and if you run constant 100s that the 40 will seem like nothing to you? Do around 5 sets of each.

      Jump-rope-
      Jump-rope is extremely good cardio, it's good for your legs and builds up your explosion.

      Skipping and Butt kicker drills-
      These are very good drills to keep your blood pumping and get you coordinated, recommended for warm-up purposes.

Equipment

    Yes, There is one "special" equipment that I would use for the 40 and yes it's torture but it will give you amazing results for the 40 yard dash. It's the sled! The sled is an excellent device that will surely give you a lower 40.

    You can do different drills with it, like run with it behind your back for 100 yards, (Warning: Do not sprint; it will give you an injury). Do 40-yard walks with it, It can be very useful.

Techniques

    There aren't many techniques you can do, but what I do recommend is this.

    Think about something you hate, something that really PISSES YOU OFF! Get down in your 40 stance, left hand on the ground and bend, now raise your hand slowly, take in a VERY PISSED OFF deep breath and REMEMBER your left foot is behind your right foot but not far because if it is far then you're just gaining yardage you'll be running a 41 or 42-yard dash, ha ha.

    OK, above is when you get set, that's all people tell you in articles, but I will tell you what to do IN the 40 yard dash because, HELL everything counts right?

    10- Keep your head down and look down on the ground, rise up about the 20. HOLD your breath.

    20- You should just be getting out of the slant of your body and be rising up let your air out through your NOSE not your mouth.

    30-You should be looking up and getting ready for the big finish

    40- Race right into the finish line in, and envision your girlfriend or someone you love being beat-up and you want to help them. Charge right in there and save them! Do not, I repeat, do not leap into the finish line, you will loose .1 or .2 seconds; it does not make you get there faster trust me!

    Also, When you start off do not go back and forth. Run straight! Don't waddle; you'll just lose precious time.

Negative Activities

    The only bad activities that could hurt you are eating bad and not being true to yourself.

    Avoid skateboarding; it could really damage your legs and such. It will affect your body a lot. Eat healthy: you won't get anywhere if you don't eat right. I am not going to sit here and tell you a great diet cause that's bull, just look at the food pyramid and always remember this quote "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

Before The Big Dash

    Wear under-armour or something tight and spandex, where white because you'll be much cooler, black and dark colors will slow you down. I recommend getting these sneakers Nike Men's Air Zoom Vick's. You can find them on www.eastbay.com keyword: Vick (on the site.)

    Also eat a good meal and get good night's rest, you'll be energized for tomorrow. Try eating something light like a banana and some Cheerios with some Gatorade.

Improvement

    You can expect improvement at any time given time. If you work your hardest and train like I said I tell you, you will achieve your goals ... Believe in yourself bro!

Bonus Question:
What is a good 40 time for a junior high athlete? For a high school athlete? For a college athlete? What is your 40 time?

    Junior High Athlete
    5.2 and below

    High School Athlete
    4.8 and below

    College Athlete
    4.6 and below

    My 40 time
    Priceless, ha ha just kidding I run a 4.5.

    I want to tell you guys I wish you the best and I hope you achieve your dreams e-mail me at any time at protossmatt@yahoo.com guys!

    P.S All Exercises can be found at Bodybuilding.com


What Other People Think?

BigRyan56

    Strength training is a great way to improve your forty time. The main exercises you should concentrate on if you wanna improve your forty are Squats, Cleans, Snatch, etc...

hardtrainer25

    I will first start this by dispelling the notion that speed cannot be learned...

Aaron Legall

    One concept I believe in is the concept of specific adaptation to imposed demand. In other words your body can only get better at what you train it to do.


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