For many years, scientists have been pursuing research on skeletal muscle ageing both in humans and animals. Studies on animal models have extended our knowledge of this mechanism in humans. Most researchers agree that the major processes of muscle ageing occur in the mitochondria as the major energy production centres in muscle cells. It is believed that decisive changes occur at the enzymatic activity level as well as in protein synthesis and turnover ability. Deregulation of ion channels and oxidative stress also play significant roles. In particular, in recent years the free radical theory of ageing has undergone considerable modification; researchers are increasingly highlighting the partly positive effects of free radicals on processes occurring in cells. In addition, the influence of diet and physical activity on the rate of muscle cell ageing is widely debated as well as the possibility of delaying it through appropriate physical exercise and diet programmes. Numerous studies, especially those related to genetic processes, are still being conducted, and in the near future the findings could provide valuable information on muscle ageing. The results of ongoing research could answer the perennial question of whether and how we can influence the rate of ageing both in animals and humans.