Ginsenoside Rg1, a protopanaxatriols saponin, is one of the major active constituents from Panax ginseng and possesses various biological activities. A recent study reported that insulin resistance in skeletal muscle is a major contributor to the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We examined the effects of ginsenoside Rg1 on glucose uptake and the associated molecular mechanisms of the glucose transport system in insulin-resistant muscle cells. The insulin resistance of the muscle cell was induced by treatment of differentiated C2C12 cells with chronic insulin. The results showed that chronic treatment of insulin resulted in reduced glucose uptake in the muscle cells. The treatment of ginsenoside Rg1 significantly enhanced glucose uptake in the differentiated muscle cells and the relative abundance of GLUT4 through the adenosine-monophosphate-activated protein kinase pathway. These results suggest that ginsenoside Rg1 improved the insulin resistance in C2C12 muscle cells, which might be useful for prevention of T2DM and metabolic syndromes. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.