Winwood, PW, Posthumus, LR, Cronin, JB, and Keogh, JWL. The acute potentiating effects of heavy sled pulls on sprint performance. J Strength Cond Res 30(5): 1248-1254, 2016 - This study examined the acute potentiating effects of heavy sprint-style sled pulls on sprint performance. Twenty-two experienced resistance-trained rugby athletes performed 2 heavy sprint-style sled pull training protocols on separate occasions using a randomized, crossover, and counterbalanced design. The protocols consisted of 2-baseline 15 m sprints followed by 15 m sprints at 4, 8, and 12 minutes after completing 15 and 7.5 m heavy sled pulls with loads of 75 and 150% body mass (respectively). A significantly faster (p ≤ 0.05) 15 m sprint time was observed at 12 minutes for the 75% body mass load. Small nonsignificant improvements (effect size [ES] 0.22-0.33) in 5, 10, and 15 m sprint times were observed at 8 and 12 minutes after the 75% body mass sled pull. No significant changes were observed for any sprint time after the 150% body mass sled pull. Significant differences in the percentage of change in sprint times between the 2 sled pull conditions were observed at 4 (ES 0.44-0.52), 8 (ES 0.59), and 12 minutes (ES 0.64). It would seem that the 75% body mass sled pull can be an effective preload stimulus for improving subsequent sprint performance provided that adequate recovery (8-12 minutes) is allowed. Practitioners should be advised that prescription of training load based on decrement in sprint velocity may be the best approach to determine loading for athletes.