The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an energy-sensing enzyme that is activated during exercise and muscle contraction as a result of acute decreases in ATP:AMP and phosphocreatine:creatine. Physical exercise increases muscle glucose uptake, enhances insulin sensitivity and leads to fatty acid oxidation in muscle. An important issue in muscle biology is to understand whether AMPK plays a role in mediating these metabolic processes. AMPK has also been implicated in regulating gene transcription and, therefore, may function in some of the cellular adaptations to training exercise. Recent studies have shown that the magnitude of AMPK activation and associated metabolic responses are affected by factors such as glycogen content, exercise training and fibre type. There have also been conflicting reports as to whether AMPK activity is necessary for contraction-stimulated glucose transport. Thus, during the next several years considerably more research will be necessary in order to fully understand the role of AMPK in regulating glucose transport in skeletal muscle.