1. This paper has been written in recognition of the seminal contributions to cardiac and skeletal muscle energetics made by Professor Colin Gibbs during his distinguished academic career. 2. The paper focuses on what is now known about the relationship between Ca2+-activated isometric force production and myofibrillar MgATPase in intact and skinned (surface membrane rendered permeable) skeletal and cardiac muscle preparations at short sarcomere lengths. 3. The relevance of this relationship to understanding the interactions between the actin and myosin filaments at the cross-bridge level in the region of double actin filament overlap and the cellular basis of 'activation heat' measurements in intact striated muscles is discussed.