Adiponectin regulates metabolism through blood glucose control and fatty acid oxidation, partly mediated by downstream effects of adiponectin signaling in skeletal muscle. More recently, skeletal muscle has been identified as a source of adiponectin expression, fueling interest in the role of adiponectin as both a circulating adipokine and a locally expressed paracrine/autocrine factor. In addition to being metabolically responsive, skeletal muscle functional capacity, calcium handling, growth and maintenance, regenerative capacity, and susceptibility to chronic inflammation are all strongly influenced by adiponectin stimulation. Furthermore, physical exercise has clear links to adiponectin expression and circulating concentrations in healthy and diseased populations. Greater physical activity is generally related to higher adiponectin expression while lower adiponectin levels are found in inactive obese, pre-diabetic, and diabetic populations. Exercise training typically restores plasma adiponectin and is associated with improved insulin sensitivity. Thus, the role of adiponectin signaling in skeletal muscle has expanded beyond that of a metabolic regulator to include several aspects of skeletal muscle function and maintenance critical to muscle health, many of which are responsive to, and mediated by, physical exercise.