A model of muscle energy expenditure was developed for predicting thermal, as well as mechanical energy liberation during simulated muscle contractions. The model was designed to yield energy (heat and work) rate predictions appropriate for human skeletal muscle contracting at normal body temperature. The basic form of the present model is similar to many previous models of muscle energy expenditure, but parameter values were based almost entirely on mammalian muscle data, with preference given to human data where possible. Nonlinear phenomena associated with submaximal activation were also incorporated. The muscle energy model was evaluated at varying levels of complexity, ranging from simulated contractions of isolated muscle, to simulations of whole body locomotion. In all cases, acceptable agreement was found between simulated and experimental energy liberation. The present model should be useful in future studies of the energetics of human movement using forward dynamic computer simulation.