The 40-yard dash is one of the few drills every NFL prospect goes through during the draft process. It's a way teams can measure a player's speed and acceleration. While this event was mostly an important measuring stick to assess defensive backs, wide receivers, and running backs, having a faster 40 these days, regardless of position, can play an important role to help improve any prospect's draft stock. It's like preparing for an Olympic sprint, a millisecond can make or break your performance. The only difference in the NFL is prospects typically have only seven to eight weeks to prepare for it.
The technique around the 40-yard dash can get pretty complicated. Everything from foot placement, stance before running, the motion of your arms… Everything is important, which is expected. After all, each player only gets two opportunities to prove they're faster than what fans and scouts see on tv.
It is important to note that not every training facility or prospect will have similar training methods to what we'll discuss below. Every player is unique and requires different methods to realize his full potential. We've chosen a video from the NFL archives to use as a basis for this article. So, without further ado, here's how NFL prospects train for the 40-yard dash.
NFL prospects train six times a week in former Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson‘s facility during the days leading up to the NFL Combine. It's a mix of high-intensity movement exercises in the morning and weightlifting exercises in the afternoon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Meanwhile, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, players are given a lesser load to give their muscles a chance to recover. But before any workout begins, players undergo dynamic warmups.
Exercises To Increase 40-Yard Dash
Trainers normally split the 40-yard dash into three segments. The start (0 to 5 yards), acceleration (5 to 20 yards), max velocity (20 to 40 yards). Weighted sleds are one of the best exercises to improve a player's power during the middle of the drill. But if you're at home without any equipment and thinking of trying to know what it's like to prepare for a 40-yard dash, here are three exercises you should do: arm swings, high knees, and walking lunges.