There is substantial interest in the role of testosterone (T) in male ageing. Studies suggest that low T may be a risk factor for frailty, the vulnerable health status that occurs at advanced ages. However, T deficiency is relatively rare in ageing men and, importantly, is linked to modifiable risk factors including body weight and concurrent illnesses. These observations shift the focus away from hormone replacement and towards potential preventative strategies to help maintain T levels in ageing men. Furthermore, the effects of T on physical function remain inconsistent, and studies examining the safety of T treatment in ageing males raise concerns. Further research may usefully focus on novel pro-anabolic pharmaceutical agents, which together with other interventions will allow for optimal management of frailty. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.