The effects of 30 min of exercise (74.1 +/- 3.0% (VO2), on the responses of progesterone (P), estradiol (E2), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH) were investigated in 10 women. With such exercise significant increments occurred in P (37.6 +/- 9.5%) and E2 (13.5 +/- 7.5%) (P less than 0.05), whereas no changes were observed in FSH and LH (p greater than 0.05). Exercise in the luteal phase and during menses provoked similar changes in P, but E2 concentrations remained unchanged when exercise occurred during menses (p greater than 0.05). With 8-11 weeks of training the menstrual cycles were quite irregular and retesting of subjects in the same phase of the cycle was not possible. Yet, when subjects were retested after training, no changes occurred in P, E2 or LH (p greater than 0.05) but a decrement did occur in FSH (p less than 0.10). Thus, heavy exercise in untrained subjects provokes significant increments in ovarian hormones, whereas no such increments are observed in trained subjects exercising at the same absolute workload.