Investigation of the kinetics of anaerobic metabolism by analysis of the performance of elite sprinters

J Biomech. 2000 Aug;33(8):997-1004. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9290(00)00035-x.


The principal motivation for the present work was the study of the kinetics of anaerobic metabolism. A new mathematical model of the bioenergetics of sprinting, incorporating a three-equation representation of anaerobic metabolism, is developed. Results computed using the model are compared with measured data from the mens' finals of the 100m event at the 1987 World Championships. The computed results closely predict the overall average performance of the competitors over the course of the entire race. Further calculations show the three-equation model of anaerobic metabolism to be a significant improvement over the previous one-equation model. Representative values of time constants that govern the rate of anaerobic energy release have been determined for elite male athletes. For phosphocreatine utilisation, values for lambda(2)=0. 20s(-1) and psi(2)=3.0s(-1) are consistent with data previously reported in the literature. New values of lambda(3)=0.033s(-1) and psi(3)=0.34s(-1) are proposed as offering an improved representation of the kinetics of oxygen-independent glycolysis. For the first time, tentative values for the time constants of ATP utilisation, lambda(1)=0.9s(-1) and psi(1)=20s(-1), are suggested. The maximum powers developed during sprinting by oxygen-independent glycolysis, PCr utilisation and endogenous ATP utilisation were calculated as 34. 1, 30.1 and 16.6Wkg(-1), respectively, with an overall maximum anaerobic power of 51.6Wkg(-1). Sample calculations show the mathematical model can be used in principle to derive data on the kinetics of anaerobic metabolism of individual athletes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Glycolysis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Movement
  • Phosphocreatine / metabolism
  • Phosphocreatine / physiology
  • Physical Fitness
  • Running / physiology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors


  • Phosphocreatine
  • Adenosine Triphosphate