Two groups of Amphibolurus nuchalis, an Australian agamid lizard, were maintained in captivity for 8 wk. The 'trained' group was given submaximal exercise at 1 km/h on a motorized treadmill, 30 min/day, 5 days/wk; the treadmill was inclined 10% for the last 5 wk. The 'sedentary' group was not exercised. Endurance capacity did not change significantly in either group, but sprint speed decreased in trained lizards. The sedentary group exhibited significant decreases in maximal O2 consumption, standard metabolic rate, and heart mass, but an increase in liver mass. Trained lizards exhibited significant decreases in heart and thigh muscle masses, but significant increases in liver mass, hematocrit, liver pyruvate kinase, and heart citrate synthase activities. It is concluded that the adaptive response to endurance training, typical of mammals, does not generally occur in lizards. Moreover, levels of chronic activity that would elicit adaptive responses in mammals may be excessive for lizards and may induce pathological effects in joints and skeletal muscle. The ecological and evolutionary significance of these occlusions is discussed.