Improving your 40-yard dash time is important for many athletes and football players especially. Considered one of the most important tests for any athletic career regardless of your specialty, your 40-yard dash time is part of your secret arsenal on the field. Since most sports privilege speed over other athletic attributes as one of the bigger indicators of skill, it's important that you learn how to increase your speed. These tips will do wonders for your 40-yard dash time.
Most athletes train for speed the same way they train for endurance and power. However, there are several categories of muscle fiber, and the ones that control response work differently than the ones that govern strength. Doing exercises the build explosive power, such as plyometrics, can dramatically increase how quickly your fast twitch muscle fibers respond.
A plyometric exercise works by shocking the muscle, forcing it to react rather than work off of stored energy. Plyometric exercises include lunge jumps, squat jumps, squat tuck jumps, side-to-side jumps, skips, frog jumps, jump-ups, and death drops. Most of these exercises incorporate some form of jumping, hence the explosive power. Harnessing this force and working with it can do wonders for your 40-yard dash time, as it relies on you being able to start running immediately after the gun goes off.
Many runners force themselves to run as quickly as possible, which often introduces excess stress and tension into the body. However, this is not necessary in order to run fast. Relaxed running is an exercise you must practice in order to achieve. However, it is best to let the speed come rather than force it. If you are clenching your fists, tightening your shoulders, or have a shortened stride, then you are running with tension. Practice running as loosely as possible in order to encourage your body's natural responses.
Increasing your stride length is imperative in order to be more efficient in your running and ideally shave off time. The optimal stride length should be 2.5 to 2.7 times your leg length. The best exercises to work on increasing your stride include flexibility exercises that work on your dynamic range of motion along with strength and power training exercises.
When it comes to keeping the most efficient form on the track, try this method for exploding off the line. Place your right hand on the line and bring the right foot back as normal. You'll want your left arm at a 90-degree angle at your side. When the gun goes off, start at a 45-degree angle for the first ten yards. After that, slowly move to a full running stance, pumping your arms as fast as possible.
Other essentials of form include keeping your foot strikes on the forefoot and under the center of your mass to ensure best connection. Again, keep all your parts relaxed with a tight stomach and flat back. Keep the hips forward and tall. Also make sure your toes and knees are up in order to reduce hamstring fatigue and to allow the heel to clear the leg correctly.