The presence of a positive average applied stress during cyclic uniaxial loading leads to a reduction in fatigue life of metallic parts. The metals are typically polycrystalline, with stresses varying from crystal to crystal due to differences in lattice orientation and slip system strength. Simulations enable us to better understand how polycrystals behave under cyclic loading and how the changing stress over many cycles influences fatigue life. Specifically, uniaxial cyclic simulations of pre-strained HY100 steel were conducted using an elastic viscoplastic continuum slip model employing a Taylor hypothesis. Stress-controlled loading conditions were employed to mimic fatigue tests on cold-bent bar specimens for three different load levels. The macroscopic axial strains and the crystal axial stresses were monitored during the cycles. The stress-strain response for the first cycle was used to determine the load input for the material point simulations. The peak values of crystal axial stress were found to evolve continuously with the number of loading cycles. It was found that the stress change in a crystal is influenced not only by its own orientation but also by the orientations of the other crystals in the aggregate. Furthermore, the distribution of crystal stresses after thousands of cycles at a lower stress amplitude closely resembled the distribution after tens of cycles at a larger stress amplitude. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.