The 4.30 journey is a story that every athlete who has had to run a 40-yard dash can relate to. It is my journey from running a 4.66 40-yard dash as a freshman in college to running a 4.30 for the New Orleans Saint scouts and the New Orleans Arena 1 football team. I won’t lead you to believe that it’s as easy as most speed centers all across America advertise. It takes perseverance and hard work.

In this journey, I’ll give some insight into the mental preparation, strength training, speed training, nutrition, and environment that was in place during this time. I must warn you that I did not know anything about EliteFTS and didn’t adhere to a concurrent system of training. My point is only that although the program design was flawed and it isn’t what I recommend to my clients, the hard work that I put in led to some positive adaptations.

Mental preparation

My mind was extremely focused at this time because I wasn’t far removed from college and was married with one son and another on the way. I felt that this was one of my best chances to achieve something great and provide a better life for my family. My buddy was a scout for the Saints and arranged the tryout for me. He also gave me a place to stay while I was down there.

Every day, I had training sessions. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and lifted weights. I then went to my full-time job and ran at the local college during my lunch break. I was what you would call “in the zone.” I envisioned myself at the facility in New Orleans running the best 40-yard dash ever. In my mind, I went through my warm up, my stance, my first step. I saw myself succeeding. Envisioning your success is one of the steps often left out in program design, but it can have some profound effects. I believe if you don’t believe it, you won’t achieve it.

Strength training

My training was a sporadic mix of everything I learned from strength coaches during my high school and college days. This was mostly a hybrid of Olympic movements, linear periodization, and hypertrophy-based training. In the training world as we know it now, this type of training should have caused me to be crippled and slow as dirt. The more I train, the more I question philosophies on paper because I’ve found that you must test everything on numerous people with great success before you can come to any conclusions.

What was the program missing?

·          Foam rolling

·          Dynamic warm up

·          Pre-habilitation

·          Lower rep max effort training

·          Balance between movements (vertical pull versus vertical press)

·          Central nervous system (CNS) monitoring (high CNS days versus low CNS days)

·          Great technique on all exercises

·          Planned deload days

What did the program have?

·          Explosive concentric reps

·          Plyometric training

·          Bike and jump rope warm up

·          Main exercises (squats, Romanian deadlifts, snatches, power cleans)

·          Single leg exercises (lunges, step-ups, reverse lunges, single leg squats)

·          Core training

·          Progressive overload (increased weight by at least five percent every workout)

·          Decreased intensity and volume by 50 percent the week before a workout

·          Short rest periods on certain days

·          Varied rep ranges (8–12 on strength rep days and 3–6 on main exercises)

·          Static stretching before every session (I paid for not stretching my hip flexor on a daily basis with low back pain)

·          Back exercises (low row, dumbbell row, bent over row)

·          Chest exercises (bench, plyometric push-ups, dumbbell presses)

Sprint training

My sprint training consisted of running two high intensity speed days as well as one speed endurance day during the week for the eight weeks leading up to the tryout. I didn’t run anything but light tempo runs on the week before the tryout as well as practice events like the short shuttle.

Speed days

Distance: 10–50 yards

Recovery: Didn’t run unless absolutely rested or pressed for time

Volume: 100–400 yards

Stance: Three-point stance

Intensity: 85–95%

Speed endurance days

Distance: 75–150 yards

Recovery: 30–75 seconds

Volume: 600–1000 yards

Stance: Three-point and standing

Intensity: 70–90% depending on feel

Experiment: Mixed a high intensity acceleration with a tempo finish

Science behind program

·          Maximal strength training or training with the greatest amount of weight possible increases recruitment of fast twitch muscle fibers.

·          Max effort training also increases synchronization of motor units.

·          Hypertrophy training with a rep range of 8–12 was used to increase the cross-sectional area of the muscle. The more muscle area there is, the greater the potential to create maximum strength.

·          The fast concentric reps as well as the plyometric drills recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers, which have the greatest potential for growth as well as speed.

·          Speed work involves teaching your central nervous system the right firing patterns. If you train fast, you will teach your body to record that type of neuromuscular firing pattern.

·          Force application into the ground is enhanced by increasing the amount of weight one can lift. Also, the stronger an athlete is, the longer his stride length will become.

·          The speed endurance work with the shorter rest periods didn’t allow the body to rely on ATP and creatine phosphate stores because these stores only last about seven seconds. This type of running allows for heavy build up of lactic acid, which trains the body to handle the production of this waste product. The sport of football is characterized by short bursts of speed and about 40–50-second recoveries between plays, so you must train the body to handle lactic acid.

The training program

The only reason that I did this program was because of my knowledge of the science behind training at that time. I knew that hard work and progressive stress on the body would lead to favorable adaptations. However, I could have managed the stress by using deloading strategies and working on the posterior chain more. Anyways, here it is.

Phase 1 (first four weeks )

Phase 2 (second four weeks)

Day 1


Floor press, 9 X 9 (30 seconds rest between)

Flat bench bar, 1 X 6, 1 X 4, 1 X 2 (spotter needed, 5 minutes rest between)

Incline dumbbell, 3 X 6 (2.5 minutes rest)


Lateral raise single arm, 3 X 8 (45 seconds rest)

Upright rows, 3 X 8 (45 seconds rest)

Rear flyes, 3 X 8 (45 seconds rest)

End with 100 push-ups in a row nonstop

Day 2

Five minutes jump rope

Leg press, 2 X 25 (warm up)

Single leg jump drill (deep), 10 X 6 (30 seconds rest)

Squats, 1 X 12, 1 X 8, 1 X 6 (2.5 minutes rest)

Lunges, 3 X 12 (45 seconds rest)

Bent leg deadlifts, 1 X 12, 1 X 8, 1 X 6 (2.5 minutes rest)

Single leg standing calves, 3 X 12 (45 seconds rest)

Day 3

Low cable rows, 3 X 12 (45 seconds rest)

Power cleans, 6 X 6 (3 minutes rest)

Lat pull-down, 1 X 10, 1 X 8, 1 X 6

Rear flyes, 3 X 10 (45 seconds rest)

Close grip press, 3 X 12 (45 seconds rest)

Skulls, 3 X 10 (45 seconds rest

Cable extension, 2 X 12 (45 seconds rest)

Barbell curls, 3 X 8 (45 seconds rest)

Hammers, 3 X 10 (45 seconds rest)

Concentration, 2 X 12 (45 seconds rest)

Phase 1, running (first four weeks)

Day 1

6 X 10-yard sprints, rest 1–3 minutes, sometimes 45 seconds

Add one sprint every week

Day 2

5 X 75-yard sprints, rest 30–60 seconds

Day 3

Pro agility run, 5 each side, rest one minute

Bounding, one leg, double leg, 5 X 5, rest one minute

Phase 2, running (second four weeks)

Day 1

6 X 20-yard sprints, rest 1–3 minutes, sometimes 45 seconds

Add one sprint every week

Day 2

5 X 40-yard sprints, rest two minutes, repeat 5 X 40-yard sprints

Add one sprint every week

Day 3

Pro agility run, 5 each side, rest one minute

Bounding, one leg, double leg, 5 X 5, rest one minute

Defensive back field drills


My nutrition was very basic. I didn’t count calories. I ate lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. I also ate a lot of carbs like white rice, potatoes, and pasta to match the amount of energy I needed during my sessions. If I knew my training was going to be tough or high intensity, I increased the carbs. I supplemented with Cytogainer after workout sessions to replenish my carbs as well as provide some proteins to deter catabolism.


I was fortunate enough to workout with some guys who were still training for their upcoming college seasons at the college I had attended. The guys were always intense and competing to achieve new PRs at everything we attempted. There was competition in the air, and no one wanted to be out done. From pancake eating nights to the big squat, you didn’t want to get clowned. It was also a very encouraging atmosphere because we all wanted to push each other to the limits so that we could succeed.

There is nothing that will push your lifts higher than when you train with a group of fired up guys who want to lift big weights. This kind of environment is what inspired me to call my training business, The Chamber, and is what I envision my gym to be like when it opens. The chamber is an atmosphere where only the grimy survive, the big plates are clanging, and the air is filled with sweat, dirt, and rust. Some music is blasting, and some huge guy is pushing you to get under the bar. If you have ever had a chamber experience, you know what I’m trying to say and words can’t describe it.


When the smoke cleared and the tryout came and went like a blur, I tallied up my stats and wasn’t surprised. When you believe that you will accomplish something, it isn’t surprising to achieve. I was grateful that the intensity in preparation led to a great victory. My words about my journey to a 4.30 can only paint a picture of how exciting the journey can be. I believe it was Martin Rooney who said, “Enjoy the process of climbing the mountain in your life.” As the summer approaches and many young athletes are preparing for their season, I hope they enjoy each grueling training session and remember to attack each day with purpose.

Final statistics

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 177 lbs

225 rep max: 17

Vertical jump: 42”

Pro agility run: 4.13

40-yard dash: 4.30 twice (turf field)

Broad jump: 11’2”

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