Understanding the stress/strain relationship between exercise and bone is critical to understanding the potential benefit of exercise in preventing postmenopausal bone loss. This study examined the effect of a 2-year exercise intervention and calcium supplementation (600 mg) on bone mineral density (BMD) in 126 postmenopausal women (mean age, 60 ± 5 years). Assignment was by block randomization to one of three groups: strength (S), fitness (F), or nonexercise control (C). The two exercise groups completed three sets of the same nine exercises, three times a week. The S group increased the loading, while the F group had additional stationary bicycle riding with minimal increase in loading. Retention at 2 years was 71% (59% in the S group, 69% in the F group, and 83% in the C group), while the exercise compliance did not differ between the exercise groups (S group, 74 ± 13%; F group, 77 ± 14%). BMD was measured at the hip, lumbar spine, and forearm sites every 6 months using a Hologic 4500. Whole body BMD also was measured every 6 months on a Hologic 2000. There was no difference between the groups at the forearm, lumbar spine, or whole body sites. There was a significant effect of the strength program at the total (0.9 ± 2.6%; p < 0.05) and intertrochanter hip site (1.1 ± 3.0%; p < 0.01). There was a significant time and group interaction (p < 0.05) at the intertrochanter site by repeated measures. This study shows the effectiveness of a progressive strength program in increasing bone density at the clinically important hip site. We concluded that a strength program could be recommended as an adjunct lifestyle approach to osteoporosis treatment or used in combination with other therapies.