A body plethysmograph adapted to contain the pedals of an electrically braked cycle ergometer was used to measure pulmonary mechanics during steady-state exercise in 12 normal male subjects aged 22-65 yr. During exercise there was a progressive increase in residual volume to 119% of the value at rest (P less than 0.01), but functional residual capacity and total lung capacity did not change. The maximum expiratory flow-volume (MEFV) curves did not change and flow rates during tidal breathing did not exceed the MEFV curve. Dynamic pulmonary compliance fell to 91.3% of the control value and static expiratory pulmonary compliance fell to 76.9% of the control value (P less than 0.05). Pulmonary resistance did not change during exercise. Transpulmonary pressure during tidal breathing was negative even at the highest power outputs. The fall in compliance may be due to an increase in pulmonary capillary blood volume. These results demonstrate the importance of measuring absolute thoracic gas volume and the elastic properties of the lung when comparing pulmonary mechanics at rest and during exercise.