The aim of the present review is to present techniques used for measuring blood flow in human subjects and advice as to when they may be applicable. Since blood flow is required to estimate substrate fluxes, energy turnover and metabolic rate of skeletal muscle, accurate measurements of blood flow are of extreme importance. Several techniques have therefore been developed to enable estimates to be made of the arterial inflow to, venous outflow from, or local blood flow within the muscle. Regional measurements have been performed using electromagnetic flow meters, plethysmography, indicator methods (e.g. thermodilution and indo-cyanine green dye infusion), ultrasound Doppler, and magnetic resonance velocity imaging. Local estimates have been made using 133Xe clearance, microdialysis, near i.r. spectroscopy, positron emission tomography and laser Doppler. In principle, the aim of the study, the type of interventions and the limitations of each technique determine which method may be most appropriate. Ultrasound Doppler and continuous indo-cyanine green dye infusion gives the most accurate limb blood flow measurements at rest. Moreover, the ultrasound Doppler is unique, as it does not demand a steady-state, and because its high temporal resolution allows detection of normal physiological variations as well as continuous measurements during transitional states such as at onset of and in recovery from exercise. During steady-state exercise thermodilution can be used in addition to indo-cyanine green dye infusion and ultrasound Doppler, where the latter is restricted to exercise modes with a fixed vessel position. Magnetic resonance velocity imaging may in addition be used to determine blood flow within deep single vessels. Positron emission tomography seems to be the most promising tool for local skeletal muscle blood-flow measurements in relation to metabolic activity, although the mode and intensity of exercise will be restricted by the apparatus design.