Unlike muscles of young mice, skeletal muscles of old mice fail to recover completely following contraction-induced damage. The mechanisms by which this occurs are not fully understood. The ability of muscles of old mice to adapt following exercise by the increased production of heat shock proteins (HSPs) is blunted. Studies using transgenic mice have shown that this inability to produce HSPs has a major effect on muscle regeneration. Overexpression of HSP70 facilitated complete recovery of maximum tetanic force generation in muscles of old transgenic mice following contraction induced-damage in comparison with a deficit in muscles of old wild-type (WT) mice. We hypothesized that pharmacological induction of HSP70 in muscles of old WT mice would result in enhanced recovery from contraction-induced damage. A single dose of 40 mg/kg of 17-(allylamino)-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17AAG) resulted in a significant increase in the HSP70 content of extensor digitorum longus muscles of adult C57BL6/J mice 3 days following treatment compared with vehicle-treated mice. Four weekly treatments of adult and old mice resulted in a two- to four-fold increase in muscle HSP70 content. Treatment of old mice with 17AAG at 3 days prior to and weekly for 4 weeks following a severely damaging contraction protocol resulted in enhanced recovery of force generation at 28 days postdamage compared with muscles of vehicle-treated mice. Data suggest that 17AAG overcomes the mechanism by which activation of the stress response fails in muscles of old mice and may have therapeutic benefit in the recovery following damage in muscles of older individuals.