Anthropometry, training history, cardiorespiratory and muscular performance capacity, and bone mineral density (BMD) were studied in female orienteers (n = 30), cross-country skiers (n = 28), cyclists (n = 29), weight lifters (n = 18) and in a reference group (n = 25). BMD was measured at lumbar spine, femoral neck, distal femur, patella, proximal tibia, calcaneus and distal radius by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. The weight lifters had significantly higher weight adjusted BMD (P < 0.001) than the referents at all sites (9-26%) except in femoral neck and calcaneus. Of the endurance athletes, the orienteers were the only group which had significantly higher BMD (P < 0.05) than referents, only at distal femur (5%) and proximal tibia (5%). BMD did not differ significantly at any skeletal site between subjects with different calcium intake. Weight training seems to provide more effective osteogenic stimulus than endurance training. The differences in BMD at different sites between the groups were consistent with specificity of the stimulus to the training of the studied sports.