Phosphocreatine Energy System
The phosphocreatine energy system is a very effective metabolic pathway that is used when individual’s engage in any type of explosive movement that lasts for only a brief moment. Typically, the phosphocreatine energy system is best for an exercise duration that lasts for up to around 15 seconds. The type of sports that would greatly utilize the phosphocreatine energy stystem would be American football, baseball, powerlifting, 100 meter dash, shot put, discus, etc. Essentially, the phosphocreatine energy system is utilized during anaerobic exercise.
The phosphocreatine energy system is also called the ATP-PC system. This is due to the large role that ATP plays in this metabolic pathway. Below, you’ll see just how the phosphocreatine energy system works by breaking it down into three coherent steps. Having a better understanding of this system will allow you to get a better grip on how your body manages to garner the energy necessary to instantly take off into an all out sprint or to bench press as much weight as possible for a 1 rep max.
Phosphocreatine Energy System Steps
Here are the 3 easy to understand steps of the phosphocreatine energy system, according to PT Direct :
1. ATP that is stored within the myosin cross-bridges (of the muscle tissue) is broken down to release energy to encourage muscle contraction. This leaves the by-products of ATP breakdown: adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and one inorganic phosphate (Pi) all on its own.
2. Then, Phosphocreatine (PC) is broken down by the enzyme called creatine kinase into Creatine and Pi.
3. The energy that is released in the breakdown of PC allows ADP and Pi to rejoin, which allows for the formation of more ATP. This newly formed ATP can now be broken down to release energy to fuel movement.
Even though the phosphocreatine energy system is the first metabolic pathway that will engage upon initial exercise. About 10-15 seconds after it starts, you will quickly begin to utilize several other metabolic pathways. Some other pathways that you can expect to “activate” are glycolysis, glycogenolysis, and the Krebs cycle. These pathways can be considered as “transition pathways” as you will start to transition from using more anaerobic systems to more aerobic systems. This is of course only the case if exercise where to continue for a significant amount of time with the absence of a quick cessation in activity. Some pathways that are considered more aerobic include Beta Oxidation and the Electron Transport Chain (ETC).
Anaerobic VS Aerobic exercise
If you are still unsure as to the difference between anaerobic and aerobic modes of exercise. You can think of anaerobic exercise as using fast, explosive movements, while aerobic exercise includes more long distance, oxygen-taxing activities like running a marathon or biking a long distance. This is one of the best ways of understanding the main differences between these two modes of exercise. Besides the way in which these two types of protocols are implemented, they also call for the utilization of some very different metabolic pathways. This is essential for ensuring that the body’s demands get met during and after exercise concludes.
- “The ATP-PC System.” PT Direct. https://www.ptdirect.com/training-design/anatomy-and-physiology/the-atp-pc-system