Three Major Energy Pathways
There are three major energy pathways that increase ATP production, the
molecule that stores energy later used for muscle contractions. These are the ATP/CP energy pathway, the glycolytic pathway, and the oxidative pathway. Below are a brief description of each pathway and an example of an exercise to utilize each.
First, the ATP/CP energy pathway provides anaerobic sources of phosphate-bond energy. This pathway requires no oxygen for energy use. An example of an exercise routine to utilize this pathway is powerlifting, though all activities start with this pathway. Muscle cells store up a limited supply of ATP to be available for use, and in maximum efforts it is used up within 1.26 seconds. Because of its short life span, short term, intense exercises like powerlifting are enough to utilize this energy pathway.
Next is the glycolytic pathway, which is also anaerobic. Once the ATP/CP pathway is utilized, the body must break down carbohydrates to produce more ATP. This process uses glycogen and glucose to convert ADP back into ATP. An example of an exercise to begin this process is a 100 yard swim lasting about 1 to 2 minutes. The glycolytic pathway ends under maximum conditions at aroung 80 seconds.
And the third energy pathway is the oxidative pathway. This process is the only pathway that fat can be used for energy. It is an aerobic pathway, which means it uses oxygen to produce ATP, and can produce up to 38 ATP molecules. Exercises to initiate this pathway include activities that last over 2 minutes in duration, such as running.
Knowing the three energy pathways and the exercises needed to reach each one is an important tool to train others on how each pathway interacts with each other and the importance of each to produce maximum results.