Elastic potential energy can be defined as the energy that is stored when an external force is applied to an elastic object in order to deform it. This form of potential energy is stored inside the elastic object as long as the force is being applied. Once the force is removed, this energy does some work on the object in order to bring it back to its original shape. Objects that are built to store large amounts of elastic potential energy generally have very high elastic limits. It is important to note that every elastic object has a certain limit to the amount of load it can handle which, when crossed, results in the permanent deformation of the elastic object (it can no longer return to its original shape and the elastic potential energy is lost).
Examples of elastic potential energy include the stretching of bowstrings during archery and a stretched out rubber band (which returns to its original shape when the stretching force is removed).