The effects of a 16-wk strength-training program on bone mineral density (BMD) was assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in 21 men [age 61 +/- 1 (SE) yr]. Sixteen men (age 59 +/- 2 yr) served as control subjects. To investigate the possible hormonal relationships underlying the effects on BMD, serum concentrations of growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor I, and testosterone were determined before and after training. In addition, osteocalcin and skeletal alkaline phosphatase (markers of bone formation) and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (a marker of bone resorption) were measured before and after training to assess bone turnover. The training program resulted in a 2.8 +/- 0.6% increase in femoral neck BMD (1.004 +/- 0.037 vs. 1.031 +/- 0.037 g/cm2; P < 0.001). However, there were no significant changes in total body, anterioposterior spine, lateral spine, Ward's triangle, or greater trochanter BMD. Moreover, there were no significant changes in growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor I, testosterone, osteocalcin, or skeletal alkaline phosphatase. There were no changes in the control group. Thus, strength training can increase femoral neck BMD, and this effect does not appear to be accompanied by changes in anabolic hormones or markers of bone formation and resorption.