Aging is associated with loss of function across organ systems, contributing to systemic frailty. Loss of skeletal muscle mass and function, in particular, is a major source of frailty in older adults, severely impacting quality of life. Some loss of muscle mass and strength with aging is inevitable, and sarcopenia, the severe loss of muscle mass with aging, is common. Sarcopenia is determined in part by genetics but can be modified by lifestyle choices. The pathophysiologic underpinnings of sarcopenia are complex and multifactorial. In this review, the causes of sarcopenia are surveyed at the systems, cell, subcellular, and molecular levels with emphasis on the interplay between these various causes of this degenerative disease process.