A new phenomenological model of activated muscle is presented. The model is based on a combination of a contractile element, an elastic element that engages upon activation, a linear dashpot and a linear spring. Analytical solutions for a few selected experiments are provided. This model is able to reproduce the response of cat soleus muscle to ramp shortening and stretching and, unlike standard Hill-type models, computations are stable on the descending limb of the force-length relation and force enhancement (depression) following stretching (shortening) is predicted correctly. In its linear version, the model is consistent with a linear force-velocity law, which in this model is a consequence rather than a fundamental characteristic of the material. Results show that the mechanical response of activated muscle can be mimicked by a viscoelastic system. Conceptual differences between this model and standard Hill-type models are analyzed and the advantages of the present model are discussed.