Postmenopausal osteoporosis is a common condition characterized by the increase and activation of osteoclasts. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 5 (ERK-5) on postmenopausal osteoporosis by regulating the biological behaviors of osteoblasts. Sprague–Dawley (SD) rats were ovariectomized to develop an osteoporosis model. A lentivirus packaging system was employed to generate lentiviruses capable of up- or down-regulating the expression of ERK-5 in ovariectomized rats. The femoral biomechanical properties, bone mineral density (BMD), contents of calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and bone turnover markers in rats, as well as viability, cycle and apoptosis of osteoblasts and ALP activity in osteoblasts were measured in the ovariectomized rats so as to explore the functional significance of ERK-5 in postmenopausal osteoporosis. The femoral mechanical strength of ovariectomized rats was enhanced by overexpression of ERK-5. Meanwhile femoral BMD, and bone metabolism were increased, and bone turnover normalized in the ovariectomized rats when ERK-5 was overexpressed. Lentivirus-mediated ERK-5 overexpression in osteoblasts was observed to inhibit osteoblast apoptosis, and promote viability, accompanied with increased ALP activity. Taken together, ERK-5 could decelerate osteoblast apoptosis and improve postmenopausal osteoporosis by increasing osteoblast viability. Thus, our study provides further understanding on a promising therapeutic target for postmenopausal osteoporosis.