How To Shave Time off Your 40 Yard Dash

Yeah, it’s that time of year again, when people are buzzing about the biggest athletic testing event of the year. The broad jump, shuttle run, and vertical jump all get some attention, but not as much as the 40 yard dash.

The 40 is one of the most impressive feats, as it takes a combination of focus, explosiveness, and mechanics.

Most of an athlete’s success in a 40 yard dash, however, comes in the first 10 yards. If the first 10 yards are wonky and lackadaisical, you can bet that there’ll be crickets when you finish.

However, if you can hone in on your technique and power during those first 10 yards, you can turn heads.

Below, I’m gonna go over 40 yard dash starting technique, as well as throw some acceleration tips your way so that you can dominate the 40.

The Set-Up

As I said above, the start accounts for 90% of an athlete’s success in the 40.

This portion of the 40 might also have the most points of contention among coaches. Below, I’m going to share what worked for me in my combine, and allowed me to get a 4.5 at a heavy, bulky 250 lbs. Whether you follow it or not is your decision.

First thing you have to do is establish your power leg.

If you’re right handed, your power leg is usually your left leg, and vice versa.

Whatever leg it is, that leg is going to be your front  leg.

To set-up your stance, then, you’ll start with your power leg a half foot behind the line, your non-power leg a foot behind the line. Then, you’ll make a 90 degree angle, heels touching,  with your power leg straight ahead, and the non power leg pointing out to the side.

gifs website

Wherever your non power leg’s toe is will be the width of your stance.

The stance you find yourself in is an optimal one. The biggest benefit of this stance is that it places your shins at an angle that allows you to fully tap into your power.

Once you’ve set up your feet, you’ll place your hand down. Whatever leg is back, that same hand will be down on the ground. You’ll also want to place your head and shoulders in front of your hand, then tuck your chin.

Once you’re about ready to go, place your back arm by your back pocket.

The Take-Off

I’m going to start this section with a point of contention…

As far as weight distribution goes, I prefer to have 75% of my weight on my back leg, and 25% on the front. This is because you get more power from the back leg based on where it’s placed. This weight distribution also prevents iffy mechanics at the start, as it forces you to push off with that back leg, instead of cycling it.

Once you do take off, you explode off that back leg, swing the back arm up explosively and throw the other arm back.

Now, it’s important to know that the first 5-10 yards are the acceleration phase. This means you’re building as much speed as possible, and must stay in an optimal position to do so.

gifs website

To prevent this, make sure you keep your eyes down, as the body follows the eyes.


Most of the time, I don’t like to correct an athlete’s mechanics when it comes to the 40 yard dash.

I believe that if the start is right, and the takeoff is efficient, that you should let the athlete display his power the rest of the way. And sometimes, if you mess with the athlete’s mechanics, they don’t run naturally, and therefore, not their fastest.

However, there are two things I’ll correct them on.

  1. Arm Pump

I don’t want the athlete to run out to the side, which means the arms should pump cheek to cheek. I want everything to stay tight.

2. Full Hip Extension

This one is less mechanics and more stretching and mobility, but the ability to reach full hip extension is absolutely critical to generate as much speed as possible during your acceleration phase.

Get Faster for Free?

The 40 yard dash comes down to the first 10. If you can master those first 10, you’ll set yourself apart from the competition.

To do so, the set-up and start are important, as I mentioned here, but there’s more to the mechanics of top speed and acceleration that can help you shave off even more time.

To discover how to do that, click below to get my FREE Advanced Speed Series.

Just this week there have already been 117 guys enrolled.

You ready to join?



The best sports performance training on the internet. We help underdogs become elite level athletes.