Ethanol is recognized to affect adversely carbohydrate metabolism in skeletal muscle. This paper seeks to establish whether ethanol acutely impairs glycogen repletion during recovery from high intensity short duration exercise in the rat. High intensity exercise caused the massive mobilization of glycogen stores in muscles rich in type IIa and IIb fibres and marked increases in plasma and muscle lactate levels. During the 30-minute recovery period, there was substantial glycogen repletion in these muscles in both the ethanol-treated and control rats. Ethanol, however, was associated with reduced glycogen resynthesis in both the tibialis anterior (by 22%) and red gastrocnemius (by 31%) muscles but not in the white gastrocnemius muscle. This reduction in post-exercise glycogen deposition was accompanied by decreased lactate disposal and elevated plasma glucose levels. These effects of ethanol on glycogen repletion may involve interactions with hepatic gluconeogenesis, glucose uptake and utilization in muscle, muscle glycogen synthesis and lactate glyconeogenesis. The ethanol-mediated impairment in post-exercise glycogen repletion may have important implications for the pathogenesis of chronic alcoholic skeletal myopathy.