In the first part of lifting movements, the trunk movement is surprisingly resistant to perturbations. This study examined which factors contribute to this perturbation resistance of the trunk during lifting. Three possible mechanisms were studied: force-length-velocity characteristics of muscles, the momentum of the trunk as well as the effect of passive extending of the elbows. A forward dynamics modelling and simulation approach was adopted with two different input signals: (1) stimulation of Hill-type muscles versus (2) net joint moments. Experimental data collected during an unperturbed lifting movement were used as a reference, which a simulated lifting movement had to resemble. Subsequently, the simulated lifting movement was perturbed by applying 10 kg extra mass at the wrist (both before and after lift-off and with/without a fixed elbow), without modifying the input signals. The momentum of the trunk appeared to be insufficient to explain the perturbation resistance of trunk movements as found experimentally. In addition to the momentum of the trunk, the force-length-velocity characteristics of the muscles are necessary to account for the observed perturbation resistance. Initial extension of the elbow due to the mass perturbation delayed the propagation of the load to the shoulder. However, this delay is reduced due to the impedance at the elbow provided by the characteristics of muscles spanning the elbow. So, the force-length-velocity characteristics of the muscles spanning the elbow joint increase the perturbation at the trunk. © Springer-Verlag 2005.