Energy System In Track and Field

>> August 28, 2010

Firstly, I won’t go into very detail as I know everyone out there are prefer the simplest way to gain information. Thus I'll try to explain as simple as possible so that people at all levels will get the points.

Basically, three types of energy system sources:

1. ATP-PCr system
2. Glycolytic system
3. Oxidative system

And what the heck all these?!

ATP-PCr : An Immediate energy, is said to be Anaerobic as it can operate
with or without oxygen. Every breakdown of ATP-PCr will produce energy.

Glycolytic: A system that produces ATP (energy) from glycolysis (eg: CHO).
Doesn't require Oxygen, so it’s referred to the process of anaerobic (lactic

Oxidative: The Aerobic system. Utilize oxygen in the production of ATP. As
oxygen is used, this is an aerobic process.

These energy systems make a contribution in all types of activities. However one or two will be predominant.

As an example, in the 100meters, the ATP-PCr is the predominant energy system, but both the glycolytic and oxidative systems provide a small portion of the energy needed.

On the other hand, in the 10,000m, the oxidative system is predominant but both ATP-PCr and Glycolytic systems contribute.

Table below is an estimate of percentage (%) contribution of energy system in Track and Field events.

Hoffman, J. (2002). Physiological Aspects of Sports Training and Performances. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Jack H. Wilmore, David L. Costill. (2004). Physiology of Sport and Exercise (Third ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
William D. McArdle, Frank I. Katch, Victor L. Katch. (2010). Exercise Physiology (Nutrition, Energy and Human Performances (Seventh ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott William & Wilkins.

Recommended reading:  
 Sport Physiology for Coaches
Physiology of Sport and Exercise, Fourth Edition 
Exercise Physiology: Nutrition, Energy, and Human Performance 
Exercise Physiology: Theory and Application to Fitness and Performance

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