Irisin is a novel myokine produced by skeletal muscle. However, its metabolic role is poorly understood. In the present study, irisin induced glucose uptake in differentiated skeletal muscle cells. It increased AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation and the inhibition of AMPK blocked glucose uptake. It also increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. N-acetyl cysteine, a ROS scavenger, blocked irisin-induced AMPK phosphorylation. Moreover, irisin activated p38 MAPK in an AMPK-dependent manner. The inhibition and knockdown of p38 MAPK blocked irisin-induced glucose uptake. A colorimetric absorbance assay showed that irisin stimulated the translocation of glucose transporter type 4 to the plasma membrane and that this effect was suppressed in cells pretreated with a p38 MAPK inhibitor or p38 MAPK small interfering RNA. In primary cultured myoblast cells, irisin increased the concentration of intracellular calcium. STO-609, a calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase inhibitor, blocked irisin-induced AMPK phosphorylation, implying that calcium is involved in irisin-mediated signaling. Our results suggest that irisin plays an important role in glucose metabolism via the ROS-mediated AMPK pathway in skeletal muscle cells.