Heat production and force were measured during tetani of single muscle fibres from anterior tibialis of frog. During stimulation fibres were either kept under isometric conditions, or were stretched or allowed to shorten (at constant velocity) after isometric force had reached its plateau value. The energy change was evaluated as the sum of heat and work (work = integral of force with respect to length change). Net energy absorption occurred during stretch at velocities greater than about 0.35 L0 s-1 (L0 is fibre length at resting sarcomere length 2.10 microm). Heat produced by 1 mm segments of the fibre was measured simultaneously and separately; energy absorption is not an artefact due to patchy heat production. The maximum energy absorption, 0.092 +/- 0.002 P0L0 (mean +/- S.E.M., n = 8; where P0 is isometric force at L0), occurred during the fastest stretches (1.64 L0 s-1) and amounted to more than half of the work done on the fibre. Energy absorption occurred in two phases. The amount in the first phase, 0.027 +/- 0.003 P0L0 (n = 32), was independent of velocity beyond 0.18 L0 s-1. The quantity absorbed in the second phase increased with velocity and did not reach a limiting value in the range of velocities used. After stretch, energy was produced in excess of the isometric rate, probably from dissipation of the stored energy. About 34 % (0.031 P0L0/0.092 P0L0) of the maximum absorbed energy could be stored elastically (in crossbridges, tendons, thick, thin and titin filaments) and by redistribution of crossbridge states. The remaining energy could have been stored in stretching transverse, elastic connections between myofibrils.