By refining a previously published model, a simple equation for the estimation of the mechanical internal work during locomotion is presented. The only input variables are the progression speed, the stride frequency and the duty factor, i.e. the fraction of the stride duration at which a foot is in contact with the ground. The inclusion of this last variable, easily measurable, allows to obtain a single equation for both walking and running. The model predictions have been compared with the mechanical internal work experimentally obtained on humans in several conditions: speeds (range 0.8-3.3 m s(-1)), gaits (walking and running) and gradients (+/-15%). The close match between the two indicates that the model equation can be used whenever a direct measurement of the mechanical internal work is unavailable.