We examined the effects of a total body resistive training program (RT) on total and regional bone mineral density (BMD) in older women. Twenty-seven healthy postmenopausal women (mean age 62 +/- 1 years) participated in a strength training program three times/week for 16 weeks. Strength was assessed before and after training by either one or three repetition maximum (1RM and 3RM) tests. Both upper and lower body strength significantly increased by 36-65% and 32-98%, respectively, after training. There was a small but significant decrease in body weight and body mass index after training (P < 0. 05), with no change in the waist-to-hip ratio. BMD, assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, did not change over the duration of the training period in the anterioposterior spine (L2-L4), femoral neck, Ward's triangle, and greater trochanter. BMD of the total body, lateral spine (B2-B4), and the regions of the radius (1/3 radius and ultradistal radius) also did not fall in subsets of these women. Muscular strength of both the leg and chest press were significantly associated with L2-L4, femoral neck, Ward's triangle, and greater trochanter BMD (range r = 0.57-0.84, all P < 0.005). Markers of bone turnover, namely, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, osteocalcin, and urinary aminoterminal cross-linked telopeptide of type I collagen did not change significantly. In conclusion, a resistive training program maintains BMD and improves muscular strength in healthy, older women. This may be important in preventing the negative health outcomes associated with the age-related loss of bone density.