The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among bone mineral density (BMD), body composition, and isokinetic strength in young women. Subjects were 76 women (age: 20 +/- 2 yr, height: 164 +/- 6 cm, weight: 57 +/- 6 kg, body fat: 27 +/- 4%) with a normal body mass index (18-25 kg/m(2)). Total body, nondominant proximal femur, and nondominant distal forearm BMD were measured with dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Isokinetic concentric (CON) and eccentric (ECC) strength of the nondominant thigh and upper arm were measured at 60 deg/sec. Fat-free mass (FFM) correlated (P < 0.001) with BMD of the total body (r = 0.56) and femoral neck (r = 0.52), whereas fat mass (FM) did not relate to BMD at any site. Leg FFM, but not FM, correlated with BMD in all regions of interest at the proximal femur. Weak associations were observed between arm FFM and forearm BMD. Isokinetic strength did not relate to BMD at any site after correcting for regional FFM. In conclusion, strong, independent associations exist between BMD and FFM, but not FM or isokinetic strength, in young women.