The effects of hormone deficiency at the menopause on muscle strength was examined in 10 healthy middle-aged women (1-3 years post-menopause) in a longitudinal trial over 39 weeks. Performance was compared with that of age-matched females (n=11) taking a course of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Muscle strength of the quadriceps was measured isometrically at 90 degrees of knee flexion and at angular velocities of 1.05, 2.09 and 3.13 rad/s using an isokinetic dynamometer. Hand grip strength was assessed by means of a portable dynamometer. Measurements were taken every 13 weeks for 39 weeks. Significant decreases in isometric strength (-10%) and dynamic leg strength at 1.05 rad/s (-9%) were found in the post-menopausal women over 39 weeks. There was no change in strength in the HRT group. There were also no changes in leg strength at higher angular velocities or in grip strength for either the post-menopausal group or those taking HRT. While HRT preserved muscle strength, there was no evidence of a strengthening effect on skeletal muscle within this short period of treatment. A rapid loss of leg strength occurs post-menopausally in hormone-depleted women. HRT may offer protection against muscle weakness, although the hormone responsible for regulating strength is not evident using this model.