This paper presents a general classification method for determining the functional role of any muscle, and a procedure for determining the sensitivity of that role to small changes in system parameters. The classification method is based on the premise that the system model, when acted upon solely by the muscle of interest, will depart from any initial rest configuration in such a way as to decrease the muscle’s length. This method is particularly useful for multiple-joint muscles, and is illustrated by examining a slider-crank mechanism and straight line muscle model to determine the functional role of the hamstrings during a constrained leg flexion motion.

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