Impaired limb muscle function is a common occurrence in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and it negatively influences exercise tolerance, quality of life and even survival. Assessment of limb muscle mass and function in COPD is highly encouraged; it should include the quadriceps muscle, but other lower and upper limb muscles may be evaluated to provide valuable information. Quantification of muscle mass as well as assessment of muscle strength and endurance are suggested. Bioelectrical impedance and dual-energy X-ray absorption can be realistically used in the clinical environment to monitor body composition. Although sophisticated computerized dynamometers provide the most accurate assessment, simple exercise and testing equipment are valid alternatives and they should help implementing limb muscle function assessment in clinical settings. Isometric measurements using strain-gauges or hand-held dynamometers should be favored for their simplicity, availability and quality of information provided. This perspective provides a rationale for the evaluation of limb muscle mass and function in COPD in routine clinical practice. Additionally, measurement techniques used to assess limb muscle mass, strength, endurance and fatigue in various clinical settings are discussed.