Exercise has important effects on skeletal mineralization. Changes in bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) as measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry were investigated in a group of 17 male novice college oarsmen over a 7-month period and were compared with eight age-matched controls. The rowing training programme consisted of approximately 8 h rowing, 1 h weight training, and 1 h running per week. After 7 months training the mean BMD of the lumbar spine (L1-L4) had increased significantly by 2.9% (P < 0.001) and the mean BMC had increased by 4.2% (P < 0.001). There was no significant change in the control group. Neither group showed a significant change in BMD or BMC in the femoral neck, greater trochanter or Ward's triangle. This study provides further evidence that exercise plays an important role in bone mineral formation.