What is ATP- 3 facts to simplify Adenosine Tri-Phosphate

What is ATP: 3 facts to simplify Adenosine Tri-Phosphate

As you are hunting around the internet for “what is ATP” then I’m going to guess you were innocently studying when you stumbled across the exceptionally long and daunting name “Adenosine Tri-Phosphate”.

If you are anything like most learners I speak to, you saw the long word, and instantly shut the book or turned off your E-learning

YUK… it’s a long name to remember,

it’s a horrible string of words to spell

… and the purpose of it is well… a little confusing.

It makes you wonder whether you even need to know about it as a Personal Trainer…?

So let’s simplify things and explain “what is ATP” with 3 simple explanations. It can be really good to combine knowledge from different areas, it gives you a unique understanding and a new perspective… So for this blog, I have enlisted some help from other anatomy and physiology blogs to give you 3 simple descriptions to understand what is ATP.

1. What is ATP – the definition

The Sports Training Adviser puts it real simple…

ATP is often referred to as the energy currency of life. The body’s cells use a special form of energy called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to power almost all their activities, such as muscle contraction, protein construction, transportation of substrates, communication with other cells, activating heat control mechanisms, and dismantling damaged and unused structures.

Every cell has a small store of highly charged ATP located in the cytoplasm. ATP is made up of adenosine and three inorganic phosphates (Pi) groups bonded together in sequence. Each of the phosphate bonds stores the energy the cell can use. The bond between the second and third phosphate groups contains the most accessible energy.

When an enzyme breaks off the third phosphate group from the second phosphate group the energy is released so the cell can use it. When this happens the ATP becomes an energy deficient adenosine diphosphate (ADP). That is, there are only two phosphate groups bonded in sequence rather than three.

In order to reattached the third phosphate group back onto the second phosphate group (in the process converting the energy deficient ADP back into high energy ATP) a fuel source containing energy is needed. This fuel source comes from the food we eat.

What is ATP

Read the rest here:  https://www.sports-training-adviser.com/what-is-atp.html 

2. What is ATP in relation to muscle contraction

In my opinion, there is no better way to understand how ATP creates a muscle contraction than using cutlery! u8i

This might sound random … but if the first description was over your head, this should make a lot more sense…

Understanding Actin, Myosin, and ATP… a la cutlery.

Trying to make sense of drawings in a manual can be frustrating. … sometimes you just need to go hands-on and try it for yourself even if it seems a little random.

When the knife is the Actin, the spoon is a myosin head, and the raisins are ATP.

First up ATP gets loaded onto the myosin heads (making it ready for muscle Contraction)
This changes the shape and locks it to the cross bridge of the Actin.
It moves, pulling the Actin back like rowing oars in the water.
The ATP gets broken down into Adenosine Diphosphate and a spare phosphate.
The myosin head pings back to the starting position. Ready to start again

If you like how we teach, check out more videos on our YouTube channel >> HERE

You can test your knowledge using our 101 mock questions, which includes questions on energy systems and muscle contractions… so there is definitely a few in there that will ask you what is ATP?

Download 101 mock questions here for free

3. What is ATP: How is ATP made?

So if you now understand what is ATP, and you understand how we use t for muscle contraction … we just need to know how we make it. This table from dummies.com makes it super easy to understand the difference between all three ways we create ATP.

ATP, which stands for adenosine triphosphate, is the sole source of energy for all human metabolism, yet very little of this fuel is actually stored in the body. Instead, the body has three different systems of ATP production: ATP-PC, anaerobic glycolysis, and aerobic phosphorylation.

Each system uses different starting fuels, each provides ATP at different rates, and each has its own downside (like fatigue). These differences mean that each method of energy production is best suited for particular kinds of activities.

The following table outlines the key characteristics of the body’s different ATP-producing methods.

ATP-PC Anaerobic Glycolysis Aerobic (Oxidative) Phosphorylation
Description Provides ATP at a very fast rate. Your body holds limited
stores of ATP-PC.
Provides ATP fast, but not as fast as ATP-PC. Provides ATP at a slower rate than the other systems, but is
great for endurance activities.
Starting Fuel Phosphocreatine (PC) stored in the sarcomere. PC combines
creatine and phosphate by using high-energy bonds.
Glucose stored in the muscle and liver in a concentrated form
called glycogen. Glucose can be taken from muscle glycogen
or transported from the blood via the liver.
Fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
How Energy Is Produced The chemical bonds that hold creatine and phosphate together
are broken, a process that releases energy that can remake new
Enzymes in the cells convert glucose into lactic acid,
producing ATP. Although ATP is needed to get glucose into the cell,
you ultimately produce double the amount of ATP.
Fats and carbohydrates are delivered to the mitochondria and
broken down to yield ATP. The waste product of a hydrogen ion
(H+) is bonded to oxygen to form water. The other waste
product is carbon dioxide (CO2), which can be breathed
Amount of Energy Produced Enough for about 10 seconds of very high-intensity exercise.
Total amount depends on stores of PC and enzymes to convert it to
Enough to power heavy exercise for extended periods (2 minutes
or more). The amount depends on the availability of glucose and
enzymes needed for energy production, and the levels of lactic
The amount depends on enzymes, the availability of oxygen to
the mitochondria, and the availability of carbohydrates and fats.
With training, high levels of intensity for very long periods of
time are possible (running a marathon at a 5 min/mile pace, for
Used Most for Activities Like 100-meter sprint, short sprint, high jump, swinging a bat. Intense activities lasting under 3 minutes, or during short
bouts of heavy work.
Long-duration, low-to-moderate–intensity activities, like
walking, jogging running, hiking, and swimming.
Cost or Tradeoff When you run out of PC, you slow down or weaken. Lactic acid builds up and causes the muscles to fatigue; it
also shuts down glycolysis.
Work intensity is lower; running pace can’t be as fast as
a sprint. Altitude or another condition that limits available
oxygen (mountain climbing above 5,000 feet, for example) reduces
How Training Maximizes these Fuel Sources Increases stores and enzymes to make ATP faster. Increases stores of glycogen and enzymes to make ATP faster and
to better neutralize lactic acid.
Increases size and number of mitochondria and the number of
enzymes to make ATP.

Read the full blog here: https://www.dummies.com/health/exercise/3-ways-the-body-produces-energy-to-fuel-metabolism/

Test yourself

Now you know everything about ATP with a little help from various experts … but can you remember it?

You can test your knowledge using our 101 mock questions, which includes questions on energy systems and muscle contractions… so there is definitely a few in there that will ask you what is ATP?

Download 101 mock questions here for free

Thank you for learning with us

See you on the next blog


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