Where is Muscle Glycogen Located and What is its Purpose?

Today, we will discuss how muscle glycogen is rapidly depleted with CAR.O.L workouts, and in turn, what that means for making more mitochondria and other critical physiological adaptations!


Where is muscle glycogen located?

Glycogen is a stored form of carbohydrate found in skeletal muscle. The average adult has a skeletal muscle glycogen content of approximately 500 grams. Short-term, high-intensity training stimulates improvements in resting concentrations of muscle glycogen. Glycogen is located within the cytosol of skeletal muscle cells near muscle fibers where it can easily be accessed as an energy source during intense exercise.


What is the purpose of muscle glycogen?

Skeletal muscle performance, be it sprinting down the field during a soccer match or completing a CAR.O.L intense ride workout, requires a constant supply of energy. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) provides the immediate source of energy for skeletal muscle contraction for these types of exercise scenarios, and is frequently referred to as the energy currency of the cell or the universal energy donor.

Given that ATP is essential for repeated muscle contraction, it might seem logical that large stores of ATP exist within skeletal muscle. This is not, however, the case. In fact, if ATP could not be rapidly regenerated, the resting stores of ATP would quickly be depleted during high-intensity exercise. Accordingly, during intense exercise the primary purpose of muscle glycogen is to serve as an immediate substrate source for rapid ATP regeneration.  

In our next article, we turn our attention to glycogen depletion and what happens in your muscle glycogen levels during CAR.O.L rides!