I am 100 percent confident that you will never run as fast as Chris Johnson. In 2008, the star National Football League (NFL) running back ran 40 yards in 4.24 seconds. That’s the fastest 40-yard dash time ever at the NFL’s “combine” for college football players who want to be selected by an NFL team in the draft.
Johnson, though, didn’t always run as fast as he did at the NFL combine. The Arizona Cardinals star improved his speed via many workouts. You can too, reports the Men’s Fitness magazine article “NFL Combine Drills To Help You Run Faster.” In fact, “regular fitness guys” can learn from Johnson and other incredibly fast football players and other athletes, combine training expert Nick Winkelman told the magazine.
Winkelman told Men’s Fitness magazine that the most effective NFL combine tips to improve speed include:
- Running as fast as you can twice a week. Winkelman advises running 20 yards four times one day and 50 yards four times on another day. You should run so fast that you “empty the tank” with each run. Within six weeks, he reports, your 40-yard time will drop by a few tenths of a second. It should be noted that you need to warm up properly before running fast. Proper warm-ups include five to 10 minutes of stretching and gradually faster walking and jogging.
- Running around cones to improve your agility and speed. If you run around cones — or objects that you have as substitutes for cones — that are very close to each other, you will have to change directions every fraction of a second. This helps you run faster when you run around turns and shift your body. Winkelman reports that running around cones also strengthens your hips by requiring you to “lower your center of mass” and, thus, improves your body’s rotational power and strength. He recommends running around two rows of three cones that are five yards apart.
- Making sure your muscles recover from an intense workout. You have pain in your muscles after an intense workout because the exercise has caused microscopic tears in your muscles. Working out too soon after an intense workout can cause the tears to become serious injuries. You should rest intensely exercised muscles for at least 48 hours. “Recovery is the key to every great program,” Winkelman said.
Running regularly so you can become a better runner is obviously one of the best ways to improve your speed, but it’s not the only excellent way to improve your speed. Lifting weights and jumping exercises are also crucial notes the Health & Fitness magazine article “Increase your speed.” These exercises should be utilized to strengthen your entire body, not just your legs. You might have noticed, in fact, that many, if not most, of the world’s fastest runners as well as fastest NFL players have very strong arm and chest muscles.
“Don’t be afraid to lift some heavier weights – try a weight you can lift for five to eight reps per set, as this is will help you see the biggest strength gains initially,” reports the article, which lists five simple rules to follow if you want to be fast — get stronger, become leaner, improve your posture, work on technique, and do short sprints.
Specific recommendations about posture and technique that will improve speed include:
- Improve your posture via deadlifts, lunges, and rowing exercises. These exercises will strengthen your back (lower and middle), glutes, hamstrings, and hip flexors.
- Focus on how many strides you take rather than the length of your strides. Shorter runners periodically complain that their shorter strides are disadvantageous to their speed, but the opposite is true. Taking shorter strides helps you take more strides. Increasing your number of strides will improve your speed more than longer strides.