The Allan Wells Book of Sprinting

Does anyone own the Allan Wells Book of Sprinting? If so, is it a worthwhile book to buy (if it’s still in print)?

In his gym phase it has some exercises liste for up to 100 reps. Would this not be over stimulating slow twitch fibres (for a sprinter), how would 2 x 100 squats for example, directly or indirectly improve his sprinting?

I spoke to Allan last year, he suggested that if he had his time again he would not repeat such high volume circuits.

I have seen research that suggests repetitions as low as 8 can cause fast twitch fibre atrophy. 50 reps+ are probably at best inefficient.

Whatever, Allan won Olympic gold so two fingers to the research eh!

I have it…
Its a totally different system to anything you read here…any is not really described in great detail…nice to read but there are better sources of information.

Thanks aj1. ?Would you mind giving us a brief synopsis of Allan’s training?
I know that he did lots of speedball as well as chin ups, push ups, sit ups and bodyweight squats. I also heard he used to do plyos 6x week for 6 weeks before switching to the track. Is this correct?
I haven’t heard anything about the sort of track work he used to do. Would you care to fill me in on that?

I remember reading the book a few years ago but it doesn’t go into a great amount of detail. The 2nd Sprints & Relays book (Tafnews Press) had an article with info.

The basic Wells prgram was derived from a brilliant coach called Jim Bradley, which went pretty much like this:

Gym period - 6/8 weeks: bodyweight exercises and speedball.

Track period - 5 weeks: week 1, easy 120 yard runthroughs; wk 2, three-quarter pace 60s; wk 3, three-quarter pace 60-20-60s; wk 4, near max speed 60s; wk 5, near max speed 60-20-60s.

Blockwork - 6 weeks: start with 60 & 80 yards x 2 … develop to 3x60 … sometimes 2x60 or 60 & 80. Also introduce 30s. Race or Trial couple of times a week.

I believe Wells added his own plyos, as did many Scots sprinters who followed the Bradley basics.

I think the training of Allan Wells is definitely worth looking at, in order to see what can be done with incredibly meagre facilities. Those in a similar circumstance should look closely.

neospeed, will put up some stuff tonight, don’t have the book with me at the moment, on the balls stuff is correct, and probably a little more detailed in terms of track work.
Jim Bradley coaches in Australia, his program has been used by a number of Australian sprinters to good effect.

Thanks ontheball. Do you know if Allan did any gym work at all during the 11 weeks of track work? Also, did he do any track work during the 6-8 weeks gym period, or just plyos?

Sorry about delay in getting back to you as I have been forced offline for a week.

I do not know from first-hand what Wells did re gym work during track phase. However, I did some training in the mid-80s with the coach Wells had from '78 onwards and we did plenty of abs after trackwork and sometimes burnout press ups eg press ups to max / 100 chinnies / press ups to max / 100 chinnies … short, sharp and effective.

Re track work during gym phase. I believe that during the 60s, Bradley’s sprinters might only have done a few runthroughs after their gym work, maybe three times a week, after initial soreness from gym work was gone.

Again, I don’t know what Wells did but when I went over to Edinburgh in the mid-80s we mixed in a few sessions like 4x300 and 2x5x150 during the gym phase.

During track phase I think Wells, because he also competed over 200m, developed Bradley’s 60-20-60 yard sessions (designed for the 120 yards of the New Year Sprint) to 60-20-70m.

Thanks ontheball. Interesting track work there with the 60-20-60s. I wonder why he went as short as 20m in the middle of 2 60s. Were these from blocks?
Do you know if Allan has ever done any coaching of sprinters? Do you know what Allan is doing with himself these days?

By the way, Jacko, if you could put up some info on Wells’ training when you get a chance, I’d appreciate it.
Thanks mate.

I thought that Margo(Alan’s wife) was his coach for the majority of his career.

Gym Phase
am - Bounding/Hopping ect (on grass)

pm) - Chinnies,Squats,Press ups,Speedball
increasing reps ie start at 4x25 chinnies progressing to 2 x 100
all exercises in circuit format

track fitness phase
2 x 6 x 60 at 70%
2 x 5 x 100 at 70% or perhaps 60-20-60’s
gradually increasing speed and reducing reps
3 x 60m flat out from blocks or 2 x 4 x 30m from blocks
Race fitness stage
100 & 200m time trials.

there’s not a lot more info in the book, yes his wife was his coach (and apparently used the same system to go from 12.1 to 11.4)

PS the bounding work was maintained in the track phase so there was strength work, he says elastic strength is the main requirement for a sprinter.

[i], yes his wife was his coach (and apparently used the same system to go from 12.1 to 11.4)

I have been at a couple of sprint clinics/coaching courses taken by his coach Bill Walker. Margo I think took over later on. I am sure ontheball will clarify this

Wells was a club class sprinter/long jumper until he switched to Wilson Young’s squad in the mid-70s.

Wilson, who learned his trade under Jim Bradley (see above), was a dynamic young sprint coach in the Charlie Francis mould who quickly had the best sprint squad in Britain.

Wells’ achievements can be largely attributed to Young even though the pair fell out around the time of the Commonwealth Games in 1978.

Others stepped in (Charlie Affleck/Margot) but Wells continued to follow the same basics set by Wilson.

I met Margo here in NC along with Carl Johnson, Pfaff, others back in 1997 and by most standards it seems he performed an insane volume of sprinting with very limited recovery between sessions but it worked for him, evidently.

If I want to HYPERtrophy my fast twitch fibres and not ATrophy them, should my exercises be at the 2 to 8 rep range?

Generally yes.

Olympic lift derviatives (P. Clean, Hg P. Snatch): 1- 3 reps
Core strength exercises (squat, bench): 3 - 8 reps
Remedial exercises (Hypers, abs etc): 8 - 12 reps


Many strength experts (e.g. Bompa, Poloquin) recommend staying within a certain rep range for the workout. However, the protocols for reps you have listed allude to varying rep ranges, within a workout, depending on the excercise, example:

Power Clean: sets of 3 reps
Squat: sets of 6 reps
Glute-Ham raise: sets of 8 reps

I don’t disagree with the protocols stated but would be interested to hear your thoughts on this contradiction.