Physical activity is most probably an important factor to increase bone mass. The exact mechanisms by which this takes place are not completely understood. During the last years methods have become available making it possible to study the metabolism of type I collagen in bone in more detail. In this study seven male athletes were studied before and after a short-term maximal work (a modified Wingate test at a retardation of 7.5% of body weight) during 30 seconds. Blood samples were drawn before the test and 5 and 60 minutes after. Serum concentrations of type I procollagen carboxyterminal propeptide (PICP) and carboxyterminal telopeptide of type I collagen (ICTP) were measured, as were serum calcium, parathyroid hormone and osteocalcin. Serum PICP and ICTP reflect synthesis and degradation of type I collagen, respectively and mainly bone collagen metabolism. A significant increase of ionized calcium and lactate was noted while PTH and total serum calcium did not change. No significant alterations of either ICTP, PICP or osteocalcin were registered. We conclude from this study that the short-term maximal work performed by means of the modified Wingate test failed to show any significant changes in bone metabolism (osteocalcin and metabolites of type I collagen). A short experimental period and lactacidosis might contribute to the unaltered bone metabolism. The results mainly indicate that there is no pool of bone biochemical markers in young athletic males that is washed out by short bursts of intense exercise.