Tips to Improving Your 40 Time
Tips to Improving Your 40 Time
Get faster and improve your athletic performance with these speed drills.
So, to lower that time to Chris Johnson status, use the tips below to improve your 40.
Extensive Tempo Runs
The workouts below are from my track coach, Carl Valle, who has prepared several athletes for the Olympics and currently coaches a team in Boston. They’ve prepared me for my first track meet with just a few months of training, and have been very helpful for all of my athletes.
Tempo runs are necessary to work on technique. You can’t just perform 10’s or 15’s or even 20’s. Like in any highly technical movement, technique practiced at a much lower percentage of effort is necessary to create changes and improve technique. Relaxation is half the battle in sprinting, and these tempo runs allow an athlete to learn how to run without the stress of trying to run fast at 100% effort. If you can learn how to run well, you will know how to sprint fast.
Tempo Workouts: (To be performed on Grass if possible)
- 2 Sets of 10 100m runs @70%
- 45 seconds in between each run
- 4 minutes in between sets
- 2 Sets of 5 200m Runs @ 70%
- 45 Seconds in between each run
- 5 minutes in between sets
Master the Start
They say it’s all about the first ten yards in the 40. Depending on the amount of time you have to prepare for your combine, you’ll make the greatest improvements by focusing solely on your start, and the first 10 yards. Starts are different for body type, as shorter guys will have their feet closer to the line, but generally speaking, the hips should be “high to fly and butt low is slow.” The front shin should be at about 45 degrees, and the rear should be about 135. The emphasis should be on a two foot push and full range of motion for the first few strides.
Training for the first 10 yards with two sample tempo workouts every week will be fine for most beginners.
Here is a sample microcycle:
- Mon: 8-10 10 Yd Sprints @ 90-100% intensity/Lower Body Lift
- Wed: Tempo Workout 1/Upper Body Lift
- Friday: Tempo Workout 2/ Light lower/Upper combo
Improve Strength and Power in the Weight Room
It takes minimal improvement in the weight room to yield to performance improvements in the 40. Sure many athletes never lifted and had amazing 40 times (Hershel Walker and Carl Lewis come to mind), but for most, the weight room helps with durability, mobility, body composition, and power, as long as technique is not sacrificed. Snatches, cleans, front squats, and trap bar deadlifts are the best four for developing great power and strength, but it should be in a balanced strength and conditioning program.
Charles Poliquin has written about the importance of structural balance within the program. A strength training program which is balanced will always help athletes handle sprint volumes, prevent hamstring pulls, and make an extremely durable athlete. A balance between hip and knee dominant exercises and push/pull exercises will compliment a great sprint program.
Cool Down and Warm Up like a Pro:
Cool downs and warm ups are a great time to work on individual weaknesses. Warm ups should include low speed technique work, skip drills, carioca, shuffles, high knee drills, backwards running. These are all basic warm up movements, and all help prepare an athlete for speed. Cool downs are a great time to improve tissue quality and also allow the athlete to relax after high intensity work.
If improving your 40 is something that matters to you, don’t just take the tips above to heart. DO THEM. Not only will they make you faster, but they’ll also improve your athletic performance and ensure that you test better when it’s showtime.
To increase your power and your speed, 1R would also recommend the following supplements:
- Cytosport Creatine - By increasing your body's ATP production creatine will help you become more explosive, more powerful, and more athletic when taken before or after workouts
- Optimum Nutrition AmiNO Energy - This preworkout supplement contains vital amino acids and beta alanine to get you ready for any workout that may come your way
- Optimum Nutrition Threshold Beta-Alanine - Will help increase your workout capacity which will improve performance and strength during high intensity training
About the Author
Matthew Delaney is a strength coach for Inner City Weightlifting. A non-profit organization, which aims at impacting Boston’s youth through fitness. Matt is also a competitive athlete who competes in Olympic Lifting and Track and Field. Matt has competed at the National level in Olympic lifts and has best lifts of 258lb snatch and 301lb clean and jerk weighing 169lbs.
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