ATP is the energy currency of the cell and provides energy for processes that builds molecules, tissues, transportation molecules across the cell membranes and facilitates enzymatic activities which in turn facilitate all physiological function and physical movements.
The structure of ATP is comprised of three phosphate groups, a ribose sugar, and a nitrogenous base called adenine. So how does it work? Whilst in its rested state, ATP is bound to the myosin head, this blocks interaction with actin preventing unwanted release of energy. During ATP hydrolysis water is used to split apart ATP molecules and reduce it into ADP (adenosine diphosphate). When the myosin head that binds to the actin molecule is broken, this allows a cross bridge formation and the ATP stored in the cells can be reduced into ADP+ Pi+ energy. This process can be replicated to keep producing energy, however humans cannot store enough ATP to sustain for all energy requirements, especially during intense exercise where more energy is needed to sustain rapid muscle contractions. Therefore, different energy production pathways are required sustain energy demands. These pathways work together to provide energy through different energy systems to ensure that energy can be provided to aid in intense or sustained exertions.
The phosphocreatine system is the first line of energy production during 5- 10s of exercise, this process is activated when both stored ATP and PCr are present together in the cell. This system is essential for creation of energy for maximal force for under five seconds and is essential in sport that require high intensity short bursts of explosive power (movements in combat sports such as kicking, punching and jumping). As previously mentioned, the body has a very limited amount of PCr available for use which means we are unable to rely on a sustained energy and power production after the initial 5-10s of exercise, prolonged bouts of activity require input of additional systems to maintain a high level of function. Additionally, resynthesise of PCr occurs during low intensity exercise and cannot be returned to pre-exercise levels until at complete rest. (SIT training has been shown to improve the efficiency PCr re-synthesis resulting in increased energy production for short bouts and increased recovery between exercise intervals)
The anaerobic system supplies the muscles with energy for short, quick bursts of maximal power during any intense production of force. During maximal effort exercise between 0-15 seconds ATP is predominately resynthesized by phosphocreatine (PCr) degradation (Phosphagen System) and anaerobic glycolysis. These two energy systems work in tandem to supply energy and are both described as being anaerobic as neither requires oxygen to be present within the cell. Anaerobic metabolism is hugely important processes such as SIT which require maximal exertion over a 10-15s period with minimal rest. By adopting this method of training, it is possible to improve the efficiency of both these energy systems resulting in increased energy production during the short window of exercise and aid in the recovery between exercise intervals.
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