Adult skeletal muscle has remarkable regenerative potential, which is mainly attributable to a small population of undifferentiated skeletal muscle precursors called satellite cells. These cells reside underneath the basal lamina of skeletal myofibers and can be activated to proliferate, differentiate and fuse to form new muscle tissue. Satellite cells have long been considered promising mediators of therapeutic muscle regeneration. However, in practice, the regenerative function of such cells, which in many cases have been derived or expanded by ex vivo cultures, can be surprisingly low. A recent study from Montarras and colleagues has provided new insights into the requirements for efficient muscle engraftment from purified muscle satellite cells, suggesting possible strategies to enhance their therapeutic potential.