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All About The 40-Yard Dash…

By Alex On September 29, 2009 Under Speed Training Workouts

I love watching the NFL Combine! I can clearly still remember when I was a kid, watching the SportsCenter highlights from all of the most explosive and strongest football players in the world…the competition between all of them and whose performance would be best and catapult them to stardom…all of it just got me going!

Today, I mainly watch the 40-Yard Dashes (this is Game SPEED Insider, right?) and I love it for a couple reasons:

1. It’s a simple, objective, REAL challenge. It’s the guy, living and dying for his dreams of professional football, a grassy surface of 40+ yards ahead of him, the beating eyes of scouts and coaches and a timer. That’s it. It’s a SICK challenge and there’s no if’s, and’s or but’s. You either ran it fast, or you didn’t.

2. It can tell you a TON about someone as an athlete to see how fast they ran the 40-Yard dash, and to see their splits (as in, how fast they were after 10-Yards, after 20-Yards, after 30-Yards and so on). Let’s go into that in a little bit more detail…

If someone runs a fast 40-Yard Dash overall, they’re fast, plain and simple. They might have top-notch explosiveness, they might have great reactivity, they might posesess great starting strength and quickness, or they might have all 3. But let’s break this down by every 10-Yards…

If someone has a blazing first 10-Yards, they probably have a great combination of quickness and relative strength. The quickness is evident because they jump off the line like a cat on caffeine, and the relative strength is important because after that first couple steps, you need sick relative strength to overcome your bodyweight and inertia (so you can keep accelerating and blazing a beastly trail).

If someone has a top-notch 20-Yard split, then they likely have some combo of good relative strength and  explosiveness. In general, it’s the first 20-Yards that rely heavily on the synergy of quickness, relative strength and explosiveness (which are all inter-related).

If someone starts to get faster in the 20-30 Yard range, then they probably have a solid combination of reactivity and explosiveness. After the first 20 yards or so of the sprint, you’ll see the strides of the athlete start to get longer and their feet spend less time on the ground. This is because your reacitivty (or the elastic contributions from your muscles and tendons) starts to play a bigger role, since tendons have no contractile properties (and they don’t have to waste time contracting like muscles). Because of this, the more reactive (or “bouncy”) athletes usually do better as the sprint goes on.

If someone flies during the 30-40 Yard portion, they have some solid elastic properties working for them. Simple as that.

Now, I think it’s pretty clear that the 40-Yard Dash has more merit to it than just a test for the NFL Combine. You can tell a TON about an athlete just by looking at the breakdown of their Dash. You can see what athletic qualities you need to focus on (just use the info above and figure out what’s lacking).

It also kicks butt because it’s a CHALLENGE. No subjectivity, no judges, no real potential for error. It’s just you, the 40-Yards in front of you and a timer.

So, if you want to take on a new challenge or find out what areas of athleticism you’re lacking, then try out the 40…it’s really fun. 🙂

Also, let me know what your current 40-Yard time is right now in the Comments section (if you already know it of course). If I get 20 responses, I’ll be back on Thursday with even MORE detailed info regarding this truly awesome challenge of a sprint!


40 comments - add yours
Daryl thomas

September 29, 2009


Dan Ona

September 29, 2009

Can’t wait

curtis wallace

September 29, 2009

Alex, As you probaly know in baseball its the 60yd in which the prospects speed is evaluated.Can you give me a similar breakdown as like you did with the 40yd.


September 29, 2009

4.97 and also, for baseball 7.35 on the 60 yd dash. I think I need to build more strength.


September 29, 2009

my 40 yard dash is 4.8 seconds


September 29, 2009

Hey Alex, I have a question im hoping youll be able to answer for me, i have your quickness chronicles i workout 2 times a week with weights i was wondering if on a 3rd day can i do your quickness chonricles all of week 1 on the same day? so the speed, absorption and endurance work all in the one session? will i still get results? thanks

Ethan Cohen

September 29, 2009

Hi Alex:

I am 15yo and have an electrically timed 40 yd of 4.87 secs.

Here are relative splits..

0-10yd 1.75
10-20yd 1.10
20-40 yd 2.00


September 29, 2009

I ran a 4.68 40 yd dash.


September 29, 2009

at one point it wuz actually a 5.5, ouch, i’m pretty sure its under 4.9 now but havent tried it out in a while


September 29, 2009

I don’t know my 40-yard time , but what will it tell me, if I know it.
And what is a good time??? For a quick athlete (to be called that)


September 29, 2009

I ran a 4.86 my first day in freshman camp after doing nothing all summer but sitting.


September 29, 2009

I am 37 years old and I just ran a 4.91. In college I was timed at our pro day at 4.53


September 29, 2009

I ran originally at 5.1. After minor work on just progressive acceleration + posterior chain I improved to 4.8. That was 2 months ago. I have yet to test again since I’ve been working+university.


September 29, 2009

5.8(senior year in HS) following offseason knee surgery
I was a 5.2 (junior year) prior to the surgery


September 29, 2009

I’m 14 and ran the 40 yds. in 4.06


September 30, 2009

Hi Alex.
I am 44 and my 40yd run this season was 4.49


September 30, 2009

I ran a 4.28 this past January.

Tim Ivey

September 30, 2009

At age 39 I clocked at 4.49.I’m a trainer and I’ve never stopped working out after my sports career was over,so that’s a major contributor.No major injuries also helps.


September 30, 2009

4.76 has been my best time so far.
Sophomore in college.
Basketball small forward.

frank gutierrez

September 30, 2009

my son is 14 and started freshmen football he is at 5.8 in the 40


September 30, 2009

I dno what my 40yd time is but its probably in the high fives, and @Tanner are you sure u didn’t mean 5.06 because 4.06 means you ran on of the fastest 40 yard dashes of all time.


September 30, 2009

4.93 not to bad for someone who is almost 50


September 30, 2009

Clocked out at 4.8 last time I was timed (~2yrs ago)


September 30, 2009

6.1 in full football pads.


September 30, 2009

5.4 but i think my main problem is leg endurance. I need as much info as I can.

Derek Steiner

September 30, 2009



September 30, 2009

5 flat

Cardell Henderson

September 30, 2009



September 30, 2009

clocked in at 4.5 at a college combine. Trying to get back after tearing my acl 1 year ago.

Jason Hruban

October 1, 2009

Last timed at 5.04. I always got off the line faster then others but would get passed around 15 yards. My reaction time is good but my overall and relative strength is lacking.

Ross Van Allen

October 2, 2009

I ran a 5.4 in pads, about a 5.2 without. I don’t know what my problem is, i have pretty good strength…i think my core is not very strong and is holding me back


February 18, 2010

To the guys who are past high-school/college age, could I ask where you’re going to get electronic timing?? I wish I could get in on that!


March 25, 2010

7 seconds… its really bad


March 25, 2010


Vinny Vegas

March 26, 2010

Ran a 4.5 after a Frappier treadmill program; 40+ yrs old


March 27, 2010

WOW~ How can you know that??
Can you tell me?


March 27, 2010

It looks like Tanner, Joesph and Jimmy ( 3 in a row) must do a lot of stretching, stretching the TRUTH. Come on man!!!


March 27, 2010

5.03 and I’m a female, 23…there any stats for women?


May 2, 2010


brandon marsh

May 18, 2010

4.5 /I am 5-11/180lbs/16 yrs. old